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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransome Wooden box Curiosity ( Answer Found) See new picture.


The staff in our virtual merchandising department love to shop for bric-a-brac and turn it into some kind of window display or perhaps use such items on a photography shoot.

I saved this wooden box two years ago from the bin with no knowledge to its relevance to a brand of Lawnmower until 3 months ago.

The condition was never that good, a light clean and a coat of lacquer to preserve what little is left of the logo should keep it from losing its identity completely.

I am curious as to where it actually came from, it must have held tools or parts at one stage.

hillsider Fri, 11/10/2019

That makes two of us that would like to know what these boxes were originally fitted to, I have one that my father used as a tool box for as long as I can remember unfortunately the logo on the lid is not as good as the one that you have due to another box being stacked on top of it for years. 

I would need to check dimensions to be 100 percent certain but from the photo they look identical.

wristpin Fri, 11/10/2019

Similar looking boxes were fitted to the handle bars of Atco mowers and contained a couple of spanners and a spare plug or two but yours shows no sign of being attached to anything. May be a free standing promotional give away.

stonethemows Fri, 11/10/2019

I think this is probably the Ransomes equivalent of the more common Atco Motor Mower tool box. They were certainly on the Ransomes 30" machine in the 1930's and most likely other of the larger type mowers as well. I'm not sure if they were actually bolted to the handles or just located in an open frame between the handles.

Possibly also used on some of Ransomes agricultural equipment such as horse drawn ploughs.

hillsider Fri, 11/10/2019

I tend to think that the box that I have would probably have been removed from a mower, in his younger days dad worked for a large estate complete with manor house and large lawns so the possibility of such a machine being broken up at some time would have been likely.

An interesting idea re other Ransomes implements but that does not tie in with the green paint finish, I think it is only mowers that were finished in green paint - unless someone knows otherwise.



John.Sutherland Sun, 13/10/2019

Certainly no indication of having been attached to a lawnmower, I originally thought it was a factory machinist tool box but given that these were a general item to be had by Ransomes Lawnmower owners, they appear to be so few about.

 I keep this box at work to house washers bolts, nuts and small working mechanisms when taking a mower a part, there is nothing worse that putting a part down on the bench and like a set of keys it disappears out of sight for a period.

In my employment, I spend a percentage of my working time in the workshop and fortunate to use my free time on restoring side wheel lawnmowers which is more appealing to me during break times than staring at the bottom of a tea cup.

Next year I might cut my teeth on a vintage petrol mower, plenty out there to restore.


John.Sutherland Mon, 14/10/2019

Closed box: measuring the length  of the lid -13 inches,

width - 7 inches and the depth is 3 inches.


wristpin Mon, 14/10/2019

I suppose that it does have to be considered that someone just. could  have  decorated a plain box with a spare Ransomes transfer.

hillsider Tue, 15/10/2019

Today I managed to clean up the Ransomes box that I have and it's dimensions are much the same as the one that has been quoted here so I have taken some shots of it for comparison. As in the original box featured there are no signs of mine having been bolted to a machine, but definitely purpose made so the question has to be asked are there any more out there?


wristpin Tue, 15/10/2019

Certainly Hillsider's box with its intact scroll ended Ransomes transfer would suggest that it was an official item rather than someone sticking a transfer on "any old box.  His comment about the green colour being "mowers only" also seems to be correct as their other machinery from the Vibro Hoe, the MG series of crawlers, and right through to combines and sugar beet harvesters were all pale blue. 

A somewhat tenuous link to a possible source of the box is contained in Brian Bell's book, Ransomes Simms & Jefferies, Agricultural Engineers, where there is a brief mention of apprentices making items for their own use - including tool boxes. However nowhere in that book does any of the publicity material of the time include that scroll ended logotype.

Antbr123 Wed, 16/10/2019

Complete guess here but.......

Could they have been a travelling service engineers tool box or even a salesman document case for brochures? 

It might be worthwhile measuring the inside dimensions and comparing it to imperial paper sizes such as fullscap paper.  (I am assuming that the consensus is that the age of the boxes are pre-decimalisation)


hillsider Wed, 16/10/2019

These boxes are definitely pre decimalisation, the one I have has been around for 69 years to my knowledge Dad always kept his bicycle tools and parts in it prior to it passing down to me when he passed away, I am sure he once said that it was a tool box that came with a mower but no idea of age etc.

John.Sutherland Thu, 17/10/2019

Did some digging and found the all important answer through an illustrated picture which is now attached to the original post.  Ransomes professional machine c.1930's, The box is said to measure  33cm x 18cm and would have contained adjusting tools, 

These Ransomes tool boxes are few and far between, I discovered two for sale, one of which has silver instead of gold incorporated in the branding, some sellers would put their own company name on the box in place or as well as the Ransomes decal. 

hillsider Thu, 17/10/2019

Good bit of detective work that you have done there and I think you have resolved the mystery of the Ransomes boxes quite conclusively.

I suspect that the boxes merely sat snugly in the support frame allowing it to be removed.if required.


Clive1997 Thu, 17/10/2019

"The box is said to measure  33cm x 18cm and would have contained adjusting tools"

I have the 1930 catalogue where I assume you have taken the image of the 30in Motor Lawn Mower, whilst it shows the box, unable to find any text reference to it, also not sure they used 'Centimetres'  in 1930?????

The Ransome 16in & 20in Electric of the same era had a similar box, but again no actual reference in the catalogue.

In case I'm missing something (I do have to remove my spectacles for small print) could you please post a copy of the reference to the size & let me know where it is.

I will measure mine next time I see it, they do crop up now & again have had a few through over the years.