Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,368 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies

From Graces Guide
Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies Plate.
June 1888. Mining machinery.
1892. 10-hp Long-stroke Engine.
1892. Double-action Ipswich Haymaker.
1892 Self-acting Rake.




June 1898.
February 1899.
February 1899.
February 1899.
August 1899.
February 1901.
February 1901.
January 1906.
January 1906.


December 1908.




1922. Lorry Conversion Attachment.
September 1925. CM Series Daimler bus with bodywork by Ransomes.
1933. Hornsby-Leake Seed Drill.
March 1934.
May 1935.
1943. Aerodrome preparation and maintenance.
1940s. Clover Huller. Exhibit at Museum of East Anglian Life.
October 1945.
April 1947.
April 1948.
November 1950.
1950. 5-ton over-type steam wagon.
1950. A single cylinder showmans.
1950. A portable engine.
1950. Winding engine.
1950. Horizontal cross-coupled compound engine.
1950. 5 ton steam motor tractor.
1951. Maize Sheller.
February 1952.
May 1952.
August 1952.
No 10903. Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum.
No 10903. Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum. Detail.
Advertising sign.
Farm Machinery
Farm Machinery
Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies
Farm Machinery
Farm machinery on a farm near Dordrecht, Eastern Cape South Africa.
Farm machinery maker's plate.

Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies, engineers of Orwell Works, Ipswich were a major British agricultural machinery maker.

See sub-sections:

Genealogy of the Company

1884 Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies was registered as a private limited company on 12 May, to acquire the business partnership of Ransomes, Head and Jefferies, agricultural engineers. [1]. The management of the company would be continued by the partners of the old company: Robert Charles Ransome (Chairman), James Edward Ransome, John Jefferies, who became shareholders in the new company together with William Dillwyn Sims and members of the families [2].

1885 Gold medal for invention of a Straw burning engine, and Straw chipping, bruising and softening apparatus.

1888 Issued catalogue on portable, traction, semi-portable, fixed, horizontal and vertical engines and boilers, portable pumping engines, steam-powered presses, centrifugal pumps, winding engines and gear, locomotive, Cornish, Lancashire and vertical boilers, mills, circular saw benches and log frames. [3]

1889 Semi-portable engine at the RASE show at Windsor. [4]

1894 June. Royal Agricultural Society's Show. Chilled digging plough, balance plough and three-furrow plough. [5]

1894 High-Speed Vertical Engines for Electric Lighting. Illustration and article. [6]

1900 June. Royal Agricultural Show at York. Showed traction and portable engines, thrashing machines, horse rakes, ploughing cultivators and lawn mowers. [7]

1903 Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies developed a prototype tractor with a 20 HP engine and a three-ratio gearbox.

1905 The company employed 2,000 persons.

1911 The company went public; directors were Philip Edward Ripley, Allen Goodwyn, Harold Sellis Jefferies, Edward Coleby Ransome, Bertram Coleby Ransome, all engineers [8]

1911 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited 4 hp compound light tractor and two traction engines plus other items. [9]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Electric Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book. Maker of the 'Orwell' electric vehicle.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book

1914 Specialities: Portable and Traction Engines, Stationary Engines of all kinds, High-speed Vertical Engines for Electric Work, Boilers of all kinds, Thrashing Machines, Corn Mills, Tea Machinery etc. Employees 2500. [10]

WWI Makers of aeroplanes.

1919 After the death of Bertram Coleby Ransome in France in 1918, and the recent deaths of Mildred Sims and Charles Wilson Ransome, their executors and the remaining shareholders, Edward Coleby Ransome, Philip Edward Ripley, sold the ordinary shares of the company to Ruston and Hornsby[11].

1920 The company showed the new motor plough called The Boon at the Darlington Agricultural Show. It was a petrol-paraffin engine of 20 hp at 800 rpm. [12]

1920 October. Exhibited at the Commercial Motor Exhibition at Olympia with batteries from Batteries Ltd and a 3.5 ton electric tipping wagon and a 2-ton electric chassis. [13]

1927 Ruston and Hornsby held a controlling interest in Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies. See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1930 Ruston, Hornsby and Co continued to hold a controlling interest in Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies[14]

1932 Took over the manufacture of Howard ploughs after that company went into liquidation in 1932.[15]

1936 The MG2 tractor was introduced. It was a miniature crawler machine which was aimed at market gardeners and was produced for about thirty years.

1937 Listed as Engineers. [16]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

WWII Manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito

1940 Ruston and Hornsby sold c.40 percent of the holding in Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies[17]

1942 The engineering department manufactured its last steam engine

1945 October: Ruston and Hornsby sold almost all of its remaining interest in the company, to institutional investors[18]

1946 The company decided to issue new shares[19]

1955 Ceased to service steam engines.

1956 Sold the steam engine part of the business to Robey and Co.

1961 Engineers, manufacturing agricultural implements, harvesting machinery, lawn mowers, horticultural tractors, electric fork lift and platform trucks. 3,200 employees. [20]

1974 At the International Mechanical Handling exhibition held at Earls Court, Ransomes new battery powered industrial tractor, T12A.[21]

1987 Ransome, Sims and Jefferies acquired the assets of Henry Livesey Ltd and Nu-Dale Engineering Ltd from the joint receivers; the likely name for the entity would be Livesey Nu-Dale which would continue to supply forgings to the parent and other companies.[22]

1989 The whole of the agricultural implement business was sold to Electrolux and merged with their subsidiary Overum. This left Ransomes solely as a manufacturer of lawn mowers, with the Westwood and Mountfield mower brands.

The company accepted a take-over offer from Textron Inc, USA - their independent existence ended early in 1998.

The history of company is the subject of an exhibition at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, Suffolk.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  2. The Times, 15 May 1884
  3. The Engineer of 27th April 1888 p338
  4. The Engineer of 21st June 1889 p525
  5. The Engineer of 29th June 1894 p562
  6. The Engineer of 27th July 1894 p78
  7. The Engineer of 22nd June 1900 p650
  8. The Times June 7, 1911
  9. The Engineer of 8th December 1911 p594
  10. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  11. The Times, Oct 14, 1919
  12. The Engineer of 9th July 1920
  13. The Engineer of 22nd October 1920 p400
  14. The Times, Jun 19, 1930
  15. MERL [1]
  16. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  17. The Times , Oct 16, 1945
  18. The Times May 18, 1946
  19. The Times, May 17, 1946
  20. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  21. The Engineer 1974/05/09
  22. The Times July 16, 1987
  • [2] Wikipedia
  • Traction Engine Album by Malcolm Ranieri. Pub 2005
  • The Complete Encyclopedia of Tractors by Mirco de Cet published in 2006 by Rebo International ISBN 978-90-366-1893-9
  • Aeroplanes of the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) by J. M. Bruce. Published 1982 ISBN 0-370-30084-x
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press
  • Mosquito by C. Martin Sharp and Michael J. F. Bowyer. Published by Crecy Books in 1995. ISBN 0-947554-41-6