In 1861 Ransomes re-entered the lawn mower market with
their now improved machine. Although still resembling the
Budding it was shown at the International Exhibition of 1862
along with Shanks, Ferrabee and Green. In fact Green had an
enormous stand at the exhibition and managed to win most of
the medals on offer. The International Exhibition created interest
from new companies who started to produce their own style of
mowers. Morton's Patent, by Grimmond Laird of Arbroath,
Scotland, appeared in 1863 but was short-lived as there was no
real improvement to that already on offer. From 1864 most
manufacturers had left behind the predominant style of the Budding machine.
The land rollers had reduced in diameter, the material for the castings had altered because by now most companies were using cast iron. Cast iron was found to be a vast improvement because, when molten, it could be poured into a cast, enabling the most intricate shapes to be produced. In 1864 Barnard, Bishop & Barnard invented a new style of drive whereby instead of a chain or gear drive, three rubber tyred wheels, of different diameters were used. As the mower was pushed along, the wheels turned by friction. This idea, however, was not successful and by 1866 a return to gear-drive had been made.
Ransomes in 1867 introduced a totally new design of mower, the Automaton which became an instant success with over 1,000 machines being sold in the first season. This design was to put Ransomes level with the other two main producers, Shanks and Green.
Follows and Bates entered the market in 1869 with a mower called the Climax. This machine was a major innovation - the land roller was removed and replaced by two land wheels placed on the outside of the side-frames. A gear inside the land wheel drove the cutting cylinder. This meant that the machine had fewer parts and therefore was much lighter. It also meant a reduction in costs. By 1871 Follows and Bates had sold over 4,000 of these machines. But regular maintenance was required to keep the knives sharp. Thomas Green's idea was to have a reversible cutting cylinder which could be alternated to produce even wear. Ransomes devised a clever system whereby one of the wooden handle grips would unscrew and placed in a special hole in one of the side gears. The handle could then be used to turn the gear backwards making the cutting cylinder rotate in reverse. By placing flowers of emery on the edge of the knives the cylinder could be ground in. Alternatively, special sharpening tools were devised in which the cutting cylinder was removed from the mower and placed on a machine bed and ground. Ransomes also developed an early machine for just this purpose.