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Visit to Ransomes 10th April 2013

Brian Bell gave a talk on the history of Ransome Sims & Jeffries, a company that has been a large part of the Engineering landscape in Ipswich for over 200 years. Originally founded in Norwich in 1789 Robert Ransome moved his foundry company to Ipswich to take advantage of the dock. Robert Ransome’s company was responsible for the invention of the self-sharpening plough following an accident at the foundry that caused molten metal to contact cold metal and creating a chilled casting. This was then patented by Robert Ransome. Brian took us through the early history and the members and additions to the family through which the company name evolved. By 1884 the company now called Ransome Sims and Jeffries was well established making agricultural and railway equipment. In 1869 the railway side of the business was taken over by Ransomes & Rapiers. Some of the products and history that Brian talked through follows:

• 1840s manual thrashing machine (4 man operation).

• 1841 first portable steam engine

• 1856 first traction engine

• 1872 road steamers for India

• 1873 straw burning steam engine

• 1876 new lawnmower works opened in Water works Street, Ipswich.

• 1902 introduction of motor mowers

• 1903 the companies first petrol tractor

• 1918 begin manufacture of electric trucks

• 1924 begin manufacture of trolley buses

Brian covered many points of interest such as horse thrashing machines, steam thrashing machines, street lighting engines, haymakers, potato planters, seed drills, sail reapers replacing scythes and much more. Brian also covered the periods of WW1 manufacturing bi planes and WW2 manufacturing mine sweeping tanks.

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combine steam_engines traction_engine trolley bus