"I am trying to track down a contact for a friend who doesn't have access to a computer regarding some information on a Barford Atom 15 he is trying to restore. His main concern at the moment is trying to find the dimensions of the drive pulley on the engine. He believes it should be a three vee pulley with the large vee around 4 inches, and the two smaller ones the same diameter. Any help would be appreciated. I myself have a Wolseley Merrytiller and a Landmaster Mk3 undergoing restoration."
As we have several of these machines, we were able to extricate one from the shed, measure the required parts and send back details so he could get a replacement manufactured. At the time, we also sent a Zip file with various pictures of our collection of Barford Atoms. In September 2004, we received another email from Ian with news of another acquisition.
"We have corresponded before regarding the Barfords and you sent me some information for a friend. Fortunately I still have the zip file you sent me and I now have another request from the same friend. Last weekend at a local rally he picked up a Barford with a full history since new and including a lot of attachments and the original purchase docket, showing it was bought in New Zealand in 1951 (I think), then apparently shipped over when the owners moved to Australia. Problem is, there is no identification for a model number, even on the sales docket. I will send the image of the machine taken at the rally before he bought it and it looks like one that you have in your collection with the finger mower on it. Would it be possible to identify it and advise the model number please? Regards and best wishes from Australia."
We were able to advise Ian's friend that the machine he had acquired was an early Barford Atom of the initial design that never had a model number as such, being known simply as The Barford Atom. The machine itself looks in fair condition being equipped with lawn mower, ridger, and hoes. Back came more information.
"Charlie was really pleased with your information. He is now 68 and bought his first Barford 15 when he was about the same age as the model number back in November 1952. This was his introduction to a hard working life and the 15 was used as a money earner as well as on the family property. He built a big trailer for the machine and used it for collecting firewood and manure. Only today I saw some early b/w photos of the machine when new. He also has the original sales docket for it as well. So this is why he has a passion for collecting these machines."
"His latest acquisition The 1951 model Barford, was supplied new in New Zealand as previously mentioned and as per the sales docket that I saw today, included just about every attachment available at the time. It also included the finger mower, but this and other items went missing between NZ and Australia. He would now like to track down a finger mower attachment, but doesn't necessarily require the cutter bar as he already has one from his previous machine. All he really needs is the complete drive mechanism/attachment."
The search is on for the missing parts to allow him to fit his finger-bar cutter to either machine. Once that is done, all he'll need to find is a Barford Atom 30 to complete the set. Watch this space!