Ransomes & Rapier was a subsidiary of Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies of Ipswich.
The company was founded, as Ransomes, in 1789 by Robert Ransome, an ironfounder in Norwich before moving to Ipswich. He received patents for improvements to ploughs. The firm became Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Engineers. They became a major British agricultural machinery maker, their most famous products were traction engines, ploughs and other tillage equipment.
In 1869 four engineers, J.A. Ransome, R.J. Ransome, R.C. Rapier and A.A. Bennett, left the company (by then Ransomes, Sims & Head) by agreement, to establish a new company, Ransomes & Rapier, on a site on the River Orwell, to continue the business of railway equipment and other heavy works.
In 1914 they started building two small Steam shovels as a result of a customer request. These were built for the Australian railway company for New South Wales that had ordered a pair of 35 ton breakdown steam cranes and then asked for it to be adapted to a shovel to fuel locomotives. The rope operated crowd system they built for this was patented and later sold to Bucyrus of America.
In the First World War, they manufactured aeroplanes: 350 "Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2" fighters.
After the war demand for excavators increased and a deal was agreed in 1924 to build excavators to designs by the Marion company of Ohio, USA. The first machines were in supplied Kit form from America. The type 21 & 32 machines being built (assembled) from 1926, at Lincoln. The agreement offered machines from one to eight Cu yd capacity. But a problem with the drawing from America being of a different format to the uk ones meant they had to be re-drawn for the UK workers to build the machines from.
1927 saw them build Type 7 1 cu Yd machines & Type 460 1½ Cu yd models. Some early models were still steam shovels, but Diesel, Diesel-electric, Petrol-Electric options or all electric drive models were available.
By 1936 the deal to build Marion machine had ended. And R&R had started on there own designs with Type 4120 appearing, followed by the 4140 of 3½ cu yd. By the late 1930 they had designed new models and ere building them with welded fabrications in place of cast design.
In 1958 the Ramsomes & Rapier division was sold to Newton, Chambers & Co. Ltd of Sheffield, who bought it for the walking dragline excavator & cranes business, which was combined with their NCK Crane & Excavator division. Production was consolidated at Ransomes & Rapier works in Ipswich, with the moving of the NCK production from Ecclesfield, nr Sheffield (The old factory still stands as part of a business park). This became NCK-Rapier
The history of company is the subject of an exhibition at the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, Suffolk and they are also represented in Ipswich Transport Museum.
(Model line up needs expanding)
- Type 21 - 1926 (Marion design)
- Type 32 -1926 (Marion design)
- Type 7 -
- Type 460
- Type 480
- Type 490 2½cu yd
- Type 420 ½cu yd superseded by the Type 421
- Type 430 ¾cu yd superseded by the Type 431
- Type 4120
- Type 4140 - 1936 superseded by 4142 (1930s)
- Rapier 440 with McLaren 4 - cylinder offered
See also Edit
- Marion Power Shovel co
- J&H McLaren & Co.
- NCK cranes & excavators
- NCK-Rapier - sucksesor to Eansomes + Rapier / NCK merger.
- Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies Agricultural Implement manufactures
- Wikipedia - initial info on Ramsomes, Sims & Jeffries
- NCK article in Classic Plant & Machinery Magazine
- Ransoimes & rapier articles in Classic Plant & Machinery Magazine Vol 5- issues 7,8,9 & 10
- The History of cranes.
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