MP067: Ransomes' New Automaton

24" Ransomes New Automaton designed to be pulled by a pony or small horse.

The New Automaton (1885-1896) had some important changes from the long established Automaton. There was no longer a need to pretend that it did not have a full set of compound gears, so both pairs were now outside the frame, on opposite sides, and with ingenious guards enclosing the rims only. The free-wheel mechanism in the driving roller was new, with three enclosed, gravity pawls acting on a ratchet wheel on the shaft, in place of the alarmingly simple leading/trailing link of the original Automatons.

Cylinder bearings, previously held in pivoted arms with upper and lower adjusting bolts (as on the Budding), were now similar to the Green’s split brass in a vertical slide, but with an important difference. The lower adjusting bolt was replaced by a stout coil spring, against which the bearing could be set ‘just so’ by the single bolt on top. This (like the ratchet drive) was set to become a standard Ransomes’ feature for the future.

The handle bars were adjustable, and carried the name ‘Ransomes New Automaton,’ as did the scraper bar, with doubled as a nameplate. (Green’s took another 20 years to catch up with that idea.) Lettering was picked out in yellow paint.

10" Ransomes New Automaton showing the open gears and cover.

Information and words by Christopher Proudfoot.