Ransomes and Rapier
From Graces Guide
Waterside Works, Ipswich, and 32 Victoria St, London
Engineers and makers of machinery for railways and all kinds of public works.
1869 Formed as branch of Ransomes, Sims and Head to concentrate on the railway side of the business and other heavy works. Four engineers, J. A. Ransome, R. J. Ransome, R. C. Rapier and A. A. Bennett, left the company by agreement to establish the new company on a site on the River Orwell. The original partners were Allen Ransome, his son Robert James Ransome and Richard Christopher Rapier. Chairs, points and rails were made. They also built steam and breakdown cranes; portable and stationary engines.
1875 James Allen Ransome died.
1876 Three small locomotives made and exported to China.
After 1880 acquired the patent rights to sluices invented by Francis Goold Morony Stoney in 1874, and thus became concerned with hydraulic engineering and water management projects.
These sluices were erected on the Manchester Ship Canal; Wilfrid Stokes improved their design, notably by protecting the rollers from scour when the sluice was open, and by making them completely watertight, and by preventing vibration of the rollers. These sluices were subsequently used for the Aswan Dam on the Nile and for the Sennar Dam on the Blue Nile.
1887 Stoney joined the company as a manager
1890 All-Round Titan Railway Crane. Illustrations and article in 'The Engineer'. 
1896 Became a public limited company. The company was registered on 17 April, to acquire the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. 
1897 Wilfrid Stokes appointed MD
1897 Two 30-ton travelling steam cranes for construction of Vera Cruz Harbour 
1904 Installed 5 sets of the largest hydraulic buffer stops at Kings Cross station, London, and another 5 sets at the Central Station, Glasgow.
1914 Engineers and Ironfounders. Manufacturers of hand, steam, petrol and electric cranes, traversers and turntables, capstans, tanks, water cranes and pumps, bridges, hydraulic buffer stops, castings, contractors' and railway plant, "Stoney" sluices, ice and refrigerating plants, concrete mixers etc. 
1937 Engineers and ironfounders. 
1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers.
1960 Advert for Walking Draglines for mining. 
1961 Engineers and ironfounders, specialising in contractors' plant, mobile cranes, excavators, walking draglines, railway plant and equipment, sluice gates and water control machinery. 2,000 employees. 
1965 Ceased making walking drag lines because of the rise of oil and reduction in use of coal
1972 Newton, Chambers and Co planned to close Ransome and Rapiers and move the business to Thorncliffe but the group was taken over by industrial holding company Central and Sheerwood who kept Ipswich open.
1976 Ransomes returned to making walking drag lines in view of the increased use of coal
1987 Ransomes and Rapier closed.
1988 Bucyrus-Erie acquired the dragline assets of Ransomes and Rapier Ltd.
Sources of Information
- Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia. Volume VIII. Engineering. Oxford University Press, 1955.
- The Engineer of 6th June 1890. p460 & p464
- The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
- 'The Engineer' 26th March 1897
- The Times, 5 July 1904
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
- The Times, 6 March 1958
- Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p647
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- The Times, 15 November 1963
- The Times, 3 February 1976
- The Times, 2 November 1977
- The Times, 3 February 1976
- British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
- Steam Engine Builders of Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire by Ronald H. Clark. Published 1950 by The Augustine Steward Press