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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Automaton Minor

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A brief timeline of the 'Automaton Minor' Gear & Chain'


First introduced and described as a 'New light roller machine' much lighter and cheaper than the Patent Gear Automaton. Stated as suitable for amateurs and those with small gardens. The major differences from the Patent models, was a smooth drive roller and a reversion to the standard cutting cylinder, as opposed to the double-angle type seen on the patents. Also the cutting height adjustment reverted to the one that required a spanner!

Only available in gear drive, sizes 10,12 & 14in



Chain drive introduced, both models now available in 10,12,14 & 16in


As a point of interest, in a Ransomes catalogue for 1911  aimed at the sports turf customers several mowers were listed under the heading, specially designed for use in Golf Courses and are not ordinary mowers for garden purposes, they did just list the 14in & 16in only stating that these machines had gained a great reputation being very light, cut exceedingly close, practically shaving the grass, and leaving a beautiful surface on the greens.

So despite the launch comments in 1904 re amateur use, they were certainly highly regarded by the professionals. 


6 & 8in models now available in both Gear & Chain.


6in model ceased to be advertised


Whilst still appearing in catalogues, now described together with the Patent Chain as 'Old Favourites'

With new models arriving, the Anglia, Marquis, Countess & Certes, the Automatons were indeed showing their age, some records indicate that the Automatons finally ceased being sold in 1938.

Lee Smallwood Sun, 10/05/2020

Hello Clive, any easy way of dating a 10 chain Minor, I had one off you last year. Did they go through any changes over the period of production, different castings etc? 

Clive1997 Sun, 10/05/2020

Hi Lee One of the few changes was the solid large sprocket seen on some later machines rather than the open spokes, but as this may have been a weakness, an old machine could well have had a later sprocket added. I am assuming there may be a date stamped on the blades as with many Ransomes, I have seen. them from the late 1800's to 1930's.  bit of paint removal/sanding!