Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries (also Ransomes, Ransomes, Sims & Head) was a major British agricultural machinery maker producing a wide range of products including traction engines, ploughs, lawn mowers, combine harvesters and other tilling equipment. They also manufactured aeroplanes during the First World War. Their railway equipment business was continued by Ransomes & Rapier after 1869. The company was based in Ipswich.
The company was founded, as Ransomes, in 1789 by Robert Ransome, an iron-founder in Norwich before moving to Ipswich where he started casting ploughshares in a disused malting at St Margaret's Ditches in Ipswich, with capital of £200 and one employee.
As a result of a mishap in his foundry, a broken mould caused molten metal to come into contact with cold metal, making the metal surface extremely hard – chilled casting – which he advertised as 'self sharpening' ploughs, and received patents for his discovery.[dead link]
Prior to 1869 the company changed its name to Ransomes, Sims & Head.
In 1869 four engineers, J.A. Ransome, R.J. Ransome, R.C. Rapier and A.A. Bennett, left the company by agreement to establish 'Ransomes & Rapier', also based in Ipswich to continue the business of railway equipment and other heavy works.
In the First World War, they manufactured aeroplanes: 350 Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 fighters. While the Director was responsible for the design of the modern trench mortar.
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, and their independent existence ended early in 1998.
Courtesy of Wikipedia