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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

Ransomes Ace Mk1

I purchased a Ransomes Ace Mk1 with Grass box, the Grass deflector has a weight attached which is rather odd when compared to other models by Ransomes, I can tell you it is not a DIY add on.

The plaque was repainted lime green and red which rubbed off into dust particles, I removed this paint this morning to reveal the true colour underneath, well what was left of it.

The coat of arms graphic on the grass bucket is practically gone as you can see on the picture enclosed, I can get a reproduction from the auction site but the colouring of the Lion and Unicorn is not right as too the design of these beasts which is a shame. 

It is a great find to add to my collection, I will not touch the lawn mower for the time being as I am between two other projects as and when the weather allows during this period of being furloughed again.

I have looked but can anyone give an accurate date of manufacture for this model please not the Mk2.

The only history I was given - the Ransomes Ace came with the house the former owner bought, the original owner was the greens keeper of a local cricket club, possibly the Norton club, Worcester, that is the only info I have.




Clive1997 Sun, 17/01/2021

Yes always good to get the box & thrower, that is a style of thrower that Ransomes produced, have seen it on other models & shown on parts list below, No. LMA 41??

According to some notes I have the Mk 1 Ace was introduced in 1935/6 in 10,12 & 14in & I think sold to around 1946, the Mk2 1953 - 58 & may well have only been in 12in size.

Messorestore Sun, 17/01/2021

What a lovely machine and very refreshing to see a proper 'Old' mower. 
When I first began collecting I was always in a mad rush to 'restore' a mower. To me that meant taking it apart and stripping each part and repainting without a blemish with shiny new rollers. 
Nowadays I tend not to do too much to a mower unless it is in a truly awful state. I've recently spoken to other collectors who seem to be making the same decision. Indeed the classic car market seems to be heading in the same direction with vehicle's 'unrestored' being more highly prized. Obviously I haven't seen your machine personally and close-up but it looks quite nice as is and very original. 


John.Sutherland Sun, 17/01/2021

Many thanks Clive for the info, can you tell me if no.37 is a spanner? on the parts list.



John.Sutherland Sun, 17/01/2021

Like you I generally only restore if there is more rust than paint, If I do anything to this mower, I will referb the grass box before it rots even more. 

I have already looked into getting a custom decal made to resemble the original which is not available, the plaque/ Badge will definitely get a make over, the grass deflector needs preserving as it is thin tin.

As for the the main body, I plan to clean it down and see what's what, there appears to be a lot of original paint coverage which will save me time, the cylinder knifes will more than likely be refreshed.

I will not be buying anymore mowers for a while. (He says)

Clive1997 Sun, 17/01/2021

HI John

Yes that is a spanner on the parts list, it is in fact the same spanner that came with several other Ransomes Mowers including Mk3, 4 & 5 Ajax's so there should be many around, I am assuming they are not marked in any way as I'm sure we would have come across many?

Perhaps someone who has a tool kit with their Ajax can tell us?

The part No. is LS 23510A/3 1/4 & 5/16in 

hdtrust Mon, 18/01/2021


Nice to get in from the freezing cold,down here in the Southwest.No rest for the evil,No Thurghlow here.

After last years heavy growing season,its now mass apple tree pruning,all the way to when they first break.

Your Ace Ransomes lawn mower,just checked Ransomes internal records.

The first year of production was 1936 to 1946,

Mk 2 production started in 1953,in 1957 the Mk 2 was uprated with rubber tyres,production ceased in 1959 and all parts became obsolete in 1966

Hope this helps

Messorestore Wed, 20/01/2021

Hi, further to my reply - to restore or not to restore- I thought I would show you an interesting survey carried out by the club a while ago. Seems people prefer unrestored to restored, with an almost equal amount 'sitting on the fence'

hdtrust Thu, 21/01/2021

Well there is a simple answer to the restoration survey!

Lawn Mowers don't grow on trees! They were made by man,that means they can be stripped and rebuilt, and painted.How many concurs vintage cars do you see,with parts hanging off and rust.

In many cases if they are not stripped the next thing you will find,is it will not cut right due to warn wearing parts.

Strip it and do the job correctly

Messorestore Thu, 21/01/2021

Dear Mr Hall, I wasn't suggesting that the Ransomes Ace wasn't restored if it was in a truly poor condition or certain parts were worn. I was only suggesting  to Mr Sutherland that he may want to reconsider whether he really wants to totally restore the machine with shiny new paint etc. I think the mower has a lovely original look which could be lost. Obviously it sounds as if the grass box and deflector need some work but the rest looks quite ok. Besides if you totally restore a mower like this you can't restore or manufacture  into it the original old look or patina. I've included a couple of my mowers as an example of a mower that clearly needs total restoration and one that would be absolute  sacrilege to do so. 
The 18 inch Ransomes Gear Automaton clearly needs some restoration, not just the paint but it has a cracked frame and other issues like a missing scraper plate. However the 8 inch Ransomes Chain Automaton Minor would be ruined if I restored it to mint condition. I think you will agree the original paint and old patina are sublime. It cuts and operates beautifully. Yes I have since put the scraper plate back on the right way round.

hdtrust Sat, 23/01/2021

I also have another little saying on this matter,'when in greenhouses don't throw stones!'

Yes there are cases where it would be a shame if the mower is in very good old working condition, as original means as new!

Your second Ransomes mower does have a nice patina except not original because someone in its life has re painted the gear wheel which carries the chain black,its original colour is red!

Messorestore Sat, 23/01/2021

Many thanks for your input and advice. I'll shot blast the Ransomes Automaton Minor and repaint.