Victa

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Victa
Founded1952
Headquarters
Moorebank, New South Wales
Websitewww.victa.com

Victa is an Australian manufacturer of outdoor garden equipment, including petrol and electric lawn mowers, edgers, trimmers, and chainsaws. They manufacture these in petrol & lithium-ion powered variants. However, Victa remains most well known for the Victa Lawn Mower.[1]

The Victa brand is currently owned by the American engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton; while being American owned, manufacturing is retained in Australia in Moorebank, New South Wales.

In Australia & New Zealand, Victa Products are sold through Bunnings Warehouse, specialist dealers and Mitre 10. Victa is also sold in limited quantities through specialist dealers internationally.

Manufacturing in the United States & Australia[edit]

While most design and manufacturing capability has remained in Australia, such as assembly, research and development, and parts for manufacture. All engine products are sourced from Briggs & Stratton's Facilities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most of the push mower engines are now made in China in one of Briggs & Stratton's factories. The self-propelled mowers seem to have USA made engines. Chinese-made engines have their engine numbers electro-etched into the crankcase, usually behind the carburettor. USA engines still have the engine numbers stamped into the tinware.

Victa lawn mower[edit]

A Victa lawn mower
An early Victa lawn mower

The 'Victa' lawn mower was invented in 1952, in the backyard of Mervyn Victor Richardson (1894-1972) in Concord, Australia.[2]

In 1951, Mervyn's son Garry mowed lawns to earn money in university holidays. Garry borrowed Mervyn's Victa 14" cylinder-based power mower which was heavy to transport and to operate. Mervyn wanted to design a new mower for his son's business. Mervyn had seen Lawrence Hall's 'Mowhall' rotary lawn mower demonstrated in 1948; the heavy Mowhall was not a very successful invention because it required two people to use it, one to push and one to pull.

Although Richardson had developed rotating reel mowers for his son's business, in August 1952 he decided to make a rotary lawn mower similar to the Mowhall, using a Villiers two-stroke engine mounted on its side but utilising a lighter base plate, allowing use by a single operator, he wanted it to be cheaper, lighter and more powerful. It was called the "Peach-Tin Prototype", so named because it was made out of scrap metal with a peach tin used as a fuel tank.

By 1953, demand for the mowers was so strong that Richardson gave up his job and became full-time manager of Victa Mowers Pty Ltd. In 1958, the company had moved to a new factory at Milperra, New South Wales, and its 3,000 employees were building 143,000 mowers a year for export to 28 countries.[3]

Since 1952, Victa has sold over 8 million lawn mowers in 30 countries. In 1970 Victa was acquired by Sunbeam Corporation Ltd. [4] In 1996, the company was sold to GUD Holdings Limited [5], who sold the Victa Lawn Care business to American-based Briggs & Stratton for A$23 million in 2008.[6]

The archive of Philip Larkin's work at University of Hull includes the blue Victa lawn mower involved in the incident that inspired his famous poem 'The Mower'.[7][8]

The Victa Peach Tin prototype and other important Victa lawn mowers were donated to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About Us". www.victa.com. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  2. ^ "Victa About Us". Briggs & Stratton Australia Pty Ltd.
  3. ^ Wood, Richard V. (2002). "Richardson, Mervyn Victor (1894 - 1972)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
  4. ^ "Sunbeam makes cash bid for Victa". Finance/Econmoics (column). The Canberra Times. 26 February 1970. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  5. ^ "SUNBEAM VICTA HOLDINGS LIMITED (SVH)".
  6. ^ Alice Coster (June 5, 2008). "Victa Lawncare mown down". Herald Sun. www.news.com.au. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  7. ^ https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1393852/Larkins-lawnmower-cuts-it-as-a-relic.html
  8. ^ McDonald, Guy (2004). Cadogan Guide: England, p. 836. New Holland Publishers, ISBN 978-1-86011-116-7
  9. ^ http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/australia_innovates/?behaviour=view_article&Section_id=1040&article_id=10057

Further reading

External links[edit]