"Little Gem" ~ 8" ~ by Ransome's Sims & Head of Ipswich

As we know in 1875 Follows & Bate’s were producing their famous “Climax” and “Croquet” side wheel models, “Prices from 25 shillings upwards!”

Thomas Green’s were producing their  “Royal” / “Royal Guinea” single geared side wheel, priced at £1 - 15s for an 8” model.

Plus, the 1870’s saw the North American side wheel invasion, influencing and improving British mower design thereafter.

So Ransome's must have wanted to join in the side-wheel revolution, but were mindful of their rival’s patents, so devised the "reversible" concept, with emphasis on moving the sole-plate and turning the handlebars around as key features.

(The Ransome's  "Reversible" is turned upside down, whereas the "Little Gem" has the sole plate & handlebars moved.)

James Edward Ransome of Ransome’s Sims and Head, along with his Engineer Foreman; George Ling filed for “Lawn Mowers” Patent No. 3261 on the 17th of September 1875 and the patent was sealed on the 26th of November 1875.

This patent introduced “The Little Gem” & the “Reversible” models. (The Little Gem being reversible in its own right!) “The Little Gem’s” first mention in The Gardeners’ Chronicle was on March 11th 1876.

QUOTE: “For small gardens. These perfect “Little Gems” have a grass-collecting box, and the height of cut can be varied. They have adjustable ledger blade and the height of the handlebars can be adjusted to suit any person. The cutters can be reversed when blunt by driving the machine in the opposite direction.”

Prices, 6 in., 25s. ; 8 in., 35s

I have only had the Mower “recently” but following vital information and original resources painstakingly gleaned out of the archives from the brilliant and scholarly Clive Gravett, of whom I cannot thank enough! Therefore; I am now able to start work on the grass box and handle reconstruction.

Much of the original lead paint in Green with Red lining and lettering on the wheels is very evident. The handle still retains its original split pin and “height adjuster” chain.

The 1877 edition of “The Gardeners’ Chronicle mentions “Reversible” Mowers, but not  specifically to the  “Little Gem” in itself.  In other contemporary   literature it was  advertised  till circa. 1880.

The fact the cutting cylinder is extremely small, the mower is of such lightweight construction and the only way of adjusting the height is by altering the handle and grass box position (via chain suspended from the handle) making it very unstable, this could  indicate the Little Gem” not being terribly successful.




Designed 1875- Introduced Spring 1876 - Produced / advertised till Circa. 1880