Qualcast is a brand of lawn mowers that is not so familiar to most Americans. In Britain, however, it has been a household name for the better part of a century and enjoyed significant market share. But while the Qualcast brand has long been a fixture in lawn and garden centers in the UK, the mowers themselves have a more checkered history.
That checkered history is due to the vagaries of big business where companies are often sold and folded into other companies, products merged with products from other manufacturers, and brand names licensed to anyone willing to pay the price. Still, through it all the Qualcast name has managed to find itself attached to plenty of high-quality mowers, and in our Qualcast lawn mowers reviews we’ll look at some of them.
Our Qualcast Lawn Mower Reviews
History of Qualcast Lawn Mowers
Qualcast was founded in 1801 and spent the better part of its first 100 years as a foundry. In 1920 the foundry purchased a couple of small time lawn mower companies and began marketing mowers under the Qualcast name, Qualcast being short for “Quality Castings”, an allusion to the company’s foundry business.
In the years after the Second World War, Qualcast experienced significant growth, eventually becoming that largest lawn mower manufacturer in the UK. In the early 1960s, the company moved aggressively into the household appliance and furniture space selling everything from carpet sweepers, to ranges and kitchen furniture. However, lawn mowers remained their signature product.
In 1991 Qualcast was bought by Blue Circle Industries, Britain’s largest cement conglomerate. Blue Circle also owned the Atco brand and its line of popular lawn mowers and decided to combine its lawn mower business under the new moniker “Atco-Qualcast”.
In 1995 the Atco-Qualcast brand was purchased by the German conglomerate Bosch, giving Bosch a significant share of the UK mower market. There were stories at the time stating that the purchase meant the end of the Atco-Qualcast brand, but they turned out to be wrong.
Instead, what happened was that in 2011 Bosch sold access to the intellectual property behind Atco-Qualcast mowers to Allett Mowers, who began replicating them and selling them under the Allett name. At the same time Bosch licensed the Atco name to the Italian firm Global Garden Products S.p.A. which bought the brand name outright in 2013.
But Bosch wasn’t finished wheeling and dealing. They then licensed the Qualcast name to Britain’s Home Retail Group that owns and operates Argos and Homebase stores. HRG then began selling lawnmowers with the Qualcast name on them whose provenance is open to debate.
So where does that leave you, the customer? Well, as you’ll see in our Qualcast lawn mower reviews, many of today’s “Qualcast” mowers are fine machines. So it’s up to the individual customer to decide whether or not the name merry go round matters to them.
Where are Qualcast Lawn Mowers Made?
Until Bosch began selling Atco-Qualcast blueprints and licensing both the Atco and Qualcast, it was likely your Qualcast mower was made in Stowmarket, East Anglia. However, with such a complex web of licensing and other deals now swirling around the Qualcast name it is possible the Qualcast mower you purchase today may be made in the Allett factory in Staffordshire, England. Or it may be made in a Global Garden Products factory in Italy. Or it may be made in a Bosch factory in Hungary.