Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Ransomes and Rapier

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1876. Locomotives for the First Chinese Railway.
1878. Inspection Locomotive.
1885. Rapier's Pendulum Titan.
1893. Stoney's Tipping Crane.
1908. electric 4w, 4 ton crane in daily use at Points and Crossings Workshop, Dematagoda, Sri Lanka Railways.
1908. electric 4w, 4 ton crane in daily use at Points and Crossings Workshop, Dematagoda, Sri Lanka Railways.
1908. electric 4w, 4 ton crane in daily use at Points and Crossings Workshop, Dematagoda, Sri Lanka Railways.
1909. 30 ton breakdown crane.
February 1911. Cranes.
February 1913. Exhaust Steam Ammonia Absorption Refrigerating Machine.
1918. Winch. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
1918. Winch. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
1918. Winch. Exhibit at the Chatham Dockyard.
Nov 1919.
November 1923.
1928. One cubic yard steam navvy.
1929. 7.T Tilting Drum Concrete Mixer.
December 1929.
1931. half cubic yard excavator.
1931. A New Mobile Crane.
1931. Large Breakdown Crane.
1931. Large Breakdown Cranes.
1932. Large Electrically Operated Excavator.
1932. Launching Catapults for Aeroplanes.
1933. Tilting Drum Concrete Mixer.
1933. 1 Ton Truck Type Mobile Crane.
1934. R. T. 50.
1935. Railway turntable. Exhibit at the Didcot Railway Centre.
1935. Railway turntable. Exhibit at the Didcot Railway Centre.
December 1929.
1944. 10 Ton Mobile Crane.
1944. Centurn Crane.
September 1947.
Rapier petrol-electric mobile crane at the National Waterways Museum, Gloucester
Rapier's Interlocking Frame. Exhibit at the Stephenson Railway Museum.
1955. Lloyd Barrage.[1]
1956. Walking dragline, with a capacity of 20 cu. yd. at 260 ft. radius and weighing some 1,650 tons.
6-ton Mobile Crane. Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum.
6-ton Mobile Crane. (Detail). Exhibit at Amberley Working Museum.
1950. Inspection loco.
1950. Large portal crane.
1961. Truck mixer.
1961. Rapier 1520 mobile crane.

Waterside Works, Ipswich, and 32 Victoria St, London

Engineers and makers of machinery for railways and all kinds of public works.

1869 Formed as branch of Ransomes, Sims and Head to concentrate on the railway side of the business and other heavy works. Four engineers, J. A. Ransome, R. J. Ransome, R. C. Rapier and A. A. Bennett, left the company by agreement to establish the new company on a site on the River Orwell. The original partners were Allen Ransome, his son Robert James Ransome and Richard Christopher Rapier‏‎. Chairs, points and rails were made. They also built steam and breakdown cranes; portable and stationary engines.

1875 James Allen Ransome died.

1876 Three small locomotives made and exported to China.

After 1880 acquired the patent rights to sluices invented by Francis Goold Morony Stoney in 1874, and thus became concerned with hydraulic engineering and water management projects.

These sluices were erected on the Manchester Ship Canal; Wilfrid Stokes improved their design, notably by protecting the rollers from scour when the sluice was open, and by making them completely watertight, and by preventing vibration of the rollers. These sluices were subsequently used for the Aswan Dam on the Nile and for the Sennar Dam on the Blue Nile.

1887 Stoney joined the company as a manager

1890 All-Round Titan Railway Crane. Illustrations and article in 'The Engineer'. [2]

1896 Became a public limited company. The company was registered on 17 April, to acquire the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. [3]

1897 Wilfrid Stokes appointed MD

1897 Two 30-ton travelling steam cranes for construction of Vera Cruz Harbour [4]

1904 Installed 5 sets of the largest hydraulic buffer stops at Kings Cross station, London, and another 5 sets at the Central Station, Glasgow[5].

1914 Engineers and Ironfounders. Manufacturers of hand, steam, petrol and electric cranes, traversers and turntables, capstans, tanks, water cranes and pumps, bridges, hydraulic buffer stops, castings, contractors' and railway plant, "Stoney" sluices, ice and refrigerating plants, concrete mixers etc. [6]

1937 Engineers and ironfounders. [7]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers.

1948 See Ransomes and Rapier: Railway Plant Brochure.

1958 Newton, Chambers and Co acquired Ransomes and Rapier; purchased by exchange of shares[8].

1958 The NCK excavator division was formed under the NCK-Rapier brand.[9]

1960 Advert for Walking Draglines for mining. [10]

1961 Engineers and ironfounders, specialising in contractors' plant, mobile cranes, excavators, walking draglines, railway plant and equipment, sluice gates and water control machinery. 2,000 employees. [11]

1963 Newton, Chambers and Co sold 40% of Ransomes and Rapier to Koerhing of Milwaukee in a share deal[12].

1965 Ceased making walking drag lines because of the rise of oil and reduction in use of coal[13]

1972 Newton, Chambers and Co planned to close Ransome and Rapiers and move the business to Thorncliffe but the group was taken over by industrial holding company Central and Sheerwood who kept Ipswich open[14].

1976 Ransomes returned to making walking drag lines in view of the increased use of coal[15]

1987 Ransomes and Rapier closed.[16]

1988 Bucyrus-Erie acquired the dragline assets of Ransomes and Rapier Ltd.


Descriptions and illustrations of many Ransomes and Rapier railway breakdown cranes may be found in 'Railway Breakdown Cranes' by Peter Tatlow.

In addition to Peter Tatlow's book Volume 1 there is also - Volume 2 Published January 1st 2013 by Noodle Books ISBN 1906419973 (ISBN13: 9781906419974) - (Shortly to be published Volume 3 which will be on Railway Steam Cranes as apposed to Breakdown Cranes.)[17]

Also:- Railway Steam Cranes - Brownlie John S. ISBN 10: 0950296503 / ISBN 13: 9780950296500 Published privately by John S. Brownlie, Glasgow, 1973

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia. Volume VIII. Engineering. Oxford University Press, 1955.
  2. The Engineer of 6th June 1890. p460 & p464
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  4. 'The Engineer' 26th March 1897
  5. The Times, 5 July 1904
  6. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  7. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  8. The Times, 6 March 1958
  9. Wikipedia
  10. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p647
  11. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  12. The Times, 15 November 1963
  13. The Times, 3 February 1976
  14. The Times, 2 November 1977
  15. The Times, 3 February 1976
  16. Wikipedia
  17. Feb 2018
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • Steam Engine Builders of Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire by Ronald H. Clark. Published 1950 by The Augustine Steward Press