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Lister

Perhaps the most-well known stationary engine brand, the firm of R.A. Lister was originally founded by Ashton Lister in 1867, and basically made anything required, but by 1900, the manufacture of cream separators, dairy & general agricultural equipment had established the firm.

As regards engines, Listers initially held an agency for the Yeovil firm of Petters, selling the horizontal Handyman range, but soon decided to introduce their own range. Listers' first engine was in fact an American designed Stover sold under the Southwell name, a company who Lister took over in 1908, but their own first design was launched in 1909. Lister seemed to concentrate on vertical engines, largely ignoring horizontals designs that were prevalent at the time.

One feature of all Lister designed engines was a robust construction and ease of access to all vital parts. Features such as twin flywheels on the A & B models enabled fitting of pulleys on either or both sides to drive 2 separate machines. The A was introduced in the early 20s and the B followed in 1924, production of the latter finally ceasing in 1962.

Of course the longest running model was the ubiquitous D type which was introduced in 1926 at engine number 80 000 and ran until 1964, which must have been one of the longest and largest production runs of any single type of engine. Available with either hopper, tank or radiator cooling, in petrol, paraffin or TVO forms, and in a variety of horsepower outputs dependent on engine speed, this was the most versatile agricultural engine ever produced in the UK. With its higher-speed industrial brother, the Model F, most applications could be catered for.

1n 1929, the start of what was to become an immensely popular range of small diesel engines was introduced. These had significant cold-starting improvements over other manufacturers engines. These engines came to be known as the CS diesels and were branded in a output/cylinder format e.g. 5/1 for 5bhp/single cylinder.

In the immediate post-war years, as sales of Petters air-cooled A series engines grew, sales of equivalent 11/2-21/2hp Lister engines dropped off, so an agreement was made to import and latterly manufacture under licence, the American Wisconsin range of lightweight air-cooled engines. These resemble Villiers, BSA or Jap engines of the same period and we almost threw one away thinking it was a little Villiers until a friend realised what we had been given. Now it is awaiting restoration.

Listers eventually became part of the Hawker Siddley Group, which included Mirrlees (who took over Blackstones) National, Gardner & Petter. Indeed Lister became known as Lister Petter, still occupying the premises at Dursley in Gloucestershire. In recent years, there have been several imminent collapses and at the time of writing, I'm unable to confirm status of the company.

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