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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransomes Sidewheel Mower

One of our members not registered on the forum sent me some images of a Ransomes mower he has just found. The mower appears to be in original and unused condition although the wooden handle is from a Suffolk machine.

Can anyone identify the Ransomes model?

Clive1997 Thu, 20/05/2021

Is it a Leo, has the hole for the spring on the bow irons, although they look to be on back to front?

Clive1997 Thu, 20/05/2021

Looking again are you sure its a Suffolk handle, later Leo's did have a similar handle I think?

John.Sutherland Thu, 20/05/2021

I have removed the original message as I got mixed up with my mowers when offering a reply and have since corrected my mistake with a second message with pictures 

John.Sutherland Thu, 20/05/2021

Here is my Leo to compare with, ( the picture with the word springs was intended for a friend who bought one and did not know what the holes were for and not for the benefit of this post).

Ransomes Lion Popped into my head originally but then remembered I don't own one and it was the Leo I wanted to reply with, I get a little scatter brained sometimes.




Clive1997 Thu, 20/05/2021

Don't worry John I know the feeling, far too many similar side-wheels & when un-badged leads to confusion, there was Mk1 & 2 Leo, yours I assume is a Mk1 they started in 1930 & Mk2  from 1937/38 when catalogue entries had the moderner looking handle with bolt & metal retainer holding the top of the 'T' to shaft.

Perhaps anyone with a Leo can comment as to whether they did put Mk1 or Mk 2 on the shaft as I don't think that put it on the badge?

jtg1 Fri, 21/05/2021

I believe there are 3 versions of the Leo

The Leo, The mk 1 and the mk 2,  and the mark designations are on the badges. All available in 10 to 16 inch widths in the usual 2 inch increments. Never seen a 16 inch one,  and would love to aquire one,  if anyone has one spare,  let me know

John.Sutherland Fri, 21/05/2021

Hi Clive,

I did some digging last night and unless someone says otherwise, I cannot find any evidence that MkII was ever included on the name badge however there is evidence to support that the wooden shaft was printed.

I found this picture from a past auction (not ebay) which shows the usual Ransomes Ball bearings print, sadly I cannot see if it also includes the model MkI/Mk2.



Clive1997 Fri, 21/05/2021

The plot thickens, the Mk's are on some badges, I have now seen images of the following badges....

No mark number with size on left & simply 'IN' on right.

Size on left but with " above to indicate inches & Mk 1 on right

As above with Mk2 on right.

So appears to be 3 variations of badge, and a couple of handle variations.

Its the same old story as we often find at the AGM at Milton Keynes, its not until you get several mowers of one model together that you find all the variations.



Wiltshireworm Sat, 22/05/2021

Interesting stuff. The Leo had a single wooden roller with stubby steel-rod ends not twin rollers like this one. The handle was more ornate in the turning of the T section on a Leo. The Part Number for the whole wooden handle was LMS 1837 (original). 

The Lioness had a similar handle to your picture Keith, Part number LG 29 for the complete wooden item.

The Ace handle was also similar to the picture but available as several items. The whole wooden handle assembly was  LMS 538 & could very well be the one fitted on this mower.

Handles were not all the same, but I am sure that selling dealers mixed them up in the stockroom as all models would have been around & for sale at about the same time & also been interchangeable within reason.

This mower looks like it has been made up from an old base unit, by a dealer or restorer, adding extra parts from the parts racks as needed to make a useable mower, hence the missing name-plate. It also looks to be in very good condition for it's age, that is another worry.

It is over 80 years old so it could have been sitting in a damp shed for years before it was rebuilt. life is like that & strange things happen to old mowers in sheds.

I believe that you could discuss this for months & still not get it right & even if it had a nameplate. Would it have been the original one??

Just my thoughts  Peter Hampton

Clive1997 Sun, 23/05/2021

It amazing how what we regard as perhaps a common mower can be so interesting when digging deeper and sharing information between us, so there appears to be three models, The Leo, Leo Mk1 & Leo Mk2.

According to the parts list perhaps the easiest way to identify each one (particularly if the badge is missing) would be by checking the side frame number which is LMS 2065 R.H. (2067 L.H.) on the original Leo

LMS 2066 R.H. (2068 L.H.)  on the Mk1 & Mk2

& to distinguish the difference between 1 & 2 the Mk 2 had a 7 knife cutting cylinder rather than 6 knives as on the previous two models.

From catalogue images it would appear the bolted handle may well have been introduced on the Mk2, although not shown on the parts list I have.