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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Automaton info please!

Evening all,

given the recent nice weather I thought I'd play with a few mowers, I'm trying hard to get a JP Super Simplex going but plenty of work still to do on that one! 

I dug this Automaton out of the shed today, I know literally nothing about these mowers so would appreciate any information, and id love to be able to accurately date it if somebody could point me in the right direction?

Thank you, Will

Clive1997 Tue, 18/01/2022

Hi Will

I'm assuming that's a Patent Gear Automaton with a home made gear cover on the right side & scraper plate, 10in model ?

The Patent Gear was introduced in 1897 & continued into the 1930's, assume you have checked the information here.…

With the majority of Ransomes mowers of this era, a date was stamped on the underside of each blade in the cutting cylinder. Some images below showing what you need to look for, the numbers are only around 4mm high, often better to look for the oblique between the number, from experience this shows up clearer.

The images are from a New Automaton from 1893/1894.

Remember this only dates the cutting cylinder, or indeed sometimes a single blade if one has been replaced, so perhaps check more than one, although I think in the majority of cases the mower may well have its original cylinder.

Hope that helps.



Will Tue, 18/01/2022

Excellent Clive thanks so much!

It's definitely gear driven, although I can't think of a reason why someone would replace gear cover and scraper plate, I can't imagine these would have rusted away originally? Maybe to modernise it at some point? I'll get it out again tomorrow and search for numbers on the cylinder blades...

Thanks again!


ps I did see the info on the site yes, I was thrown by the what I now realise are non-standard bits...


MikeD Sun, 30/01/2022

yes this is a patent gear automaton introduced 1895 till 1930 .the gear cover was probably taken off either being broken or taken off due to dirt etc getting into the gears and never replaced..The scraper plate being cast probably broke as they have done due perhaps to rough handling.all this needs is new castings made not a major problem.

MikeD Sun, 30/01/2022

forgot to mention this machine is pre 1905 as after that the cast handles have ipswich england  on the sides,i have restored more patent gear machines than some people have had hot dinners but dates on blades cant be classed as reliable. i rest my bottom blade for now.

Will Sat, 12/03/2022

Thanks very much for the feedback on this, and apologies for late response. 

As discussed with Clive separately I can find no date on the cylinder blades unfortunately.


in any event, both the mowers in the photo are not really where my collecting focus lies, so if anyones interested in them please get in touch