Some History on R.A. Lister of Dursley

The original company of R.A. Lister was set up to manufacture agricultural machinery and implements, and was based in Dursley during the 1800's. The family also had other local interests. The man who gave the company it's name (up to the formation of Lister-Petter Ltd) was Robert Ashton Lister, and the company was started on the 23rd August 1867, after he fell out with his father. The cause of the rift between them is not recorded, but is is suspected that Robert wanted to develop new machinery at a faster rate tham his father would allow.

Together with their traditional items of agricultural machinery, the company also started acting as an agent for others, such as the Suffolk based Ramsomes, and the Scottish Equitable Insurance Co. They also sold coal and coke locally !

Expansion followed, and export markets for their products were opened world-wide, especially in Australia, where their sheep-shearing equipment was well received. The Lister Electric Co., was taken over by Mr H.St Hill Mawdsley, and Listers held an interest in this company (Mawdsleys Ltd) for many years.

Lister acquired F.C.Southwell & Co., and Southwell's sons joined Lister to start production of petrol engines at Dursley. The Southwell engine was sourced from Stover in Illinois USA, but detailed improvements were soon put in place, and eventually the engines became 100% Lister.

From these early beginnings, the company produced the largest range of petrol and diesel engines in Europe and probably in the world, together with an associated range of generating sets, pumps, sheep shearing sets, grain driers etc etc. Robert Ashton Lister died at the end of 1929. The company still operates from the same site in Dursley, now under new owners.

If anyone has any Lister D original handbooks etc. please e-mail me as I would be interested in purchasing anything of this nature.

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