Andrew Hall on Ransome

Photo essay: historic lawnmower restored

A landmark machine from the history of labour-saving devices is back at work thanks to the efforts of a British lawnmower enthusiast.

The world's first powered lawnmower has taken to the grass again after a four-year restoration project by collector Andrew Hall. The 2.4m-long, 1.3-tonne Ransome 3hp was made in 1902 and purchased for 3137 (equivalent to £15,000 today) by Cadbury's for use at its Bournville village in Warwickshire. It was moved in 1923 to the Peugeot Talbot company sports ground in Coventry, where it stood forgotten for decades.

Although its main frame, body, rollers, cutting cylinder blades and original engine were still intact, Hall had to build a new side frame and grass box assembly, as well as replacing the chains. Manoeuvring is far from straightforward, he explains. "There aren't any brakes on it because it was designed for use on flat ground. You turn the wheel one way or the other and somewhere in the middle there is a neutral position. To stop you turn it off."

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