Ransomes Plough

Contributed by Museum of East Anglian Life

Ploughs with self-sharpening chilled cast-iron plough shares made by Ransomes of Ipswich (c) Museum of East Anglian Life

Ransomes ploughs could be pulled by horses, oxen or even elephants!The self-sharpening chilled cast-iron plough share, patented in 1803, was discovered accidentally by Robert Ransome when he spilled molten iron on the foundry floor. When the iron hit the cold floor it cooled quickly, resulting in a harder underside than top side. When used to make plough shares the softer top surface wore faster than the underneath, thus retaining a sharp cutting edge.
As the range of ploughs increased and awards were won for his new and revolutionary ideas, Robert Ransome went on to register a patent for the standardisation of plough parts (1808). These two major developments changed the way farmers and farm machinery worked across the world, reducing the need to obtain handmade replacement parts from the local blacksmith.
Ransomes became the largest plough and agricultural equipment manufacturer in Britain. From one employee in 1789, the company grew to employ over 3,000 people at it's height in the 1960s.

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1774 - Robert Ransome started business


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