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Shortly after acquiring the manufacturing rights to the petrol engines Sir Robert was at the Bath and West Agricultural Show.
Where he was heard complaining that “Charles was going to ruin the company with these infernal combustion engines”.
After George Lister died in 1870, his company was run by Robert’s brother-in-law William and his two youngest brothers.
They developed the cloth manufacturing equipment range, and developed an electric light and power company, which for demonstration purposes brought electric lighting to Dursley.
Mr Southwell explained his was taking the designs to Petters to discuss manufacturing.
Charles, never one to miss an opportunity, persuaded Mr Southwell that the engines would be better manufactured and developed by Listers.
Developing foreign competition meant that the manufacturing of milk churns and barrels ceased, and the over supply of second-hand ex-military engines and lighting sets reduced the company’s profit considerably.
Because the main focus of RA Lister was on agriculture, the electric division was sold in 1907 to form the Mawdsley Company. Listers had redesigned Pedersen’s cream separator, expanded its lines of sheep shearing machinery, was producing milk churns and wood barrels for butter, and from the off-cuts developed a successful line of wood-based garden furniture.
During World War I, the factory was focused solely on War Department production, producing petrol engines, lighting sets and munitions.
Many of the men left for the front, meaning that a large portion of the workforce was female. Charles Ashton Lister managed the company’s business in North America and was based in Canada.
During World War II, this became a lead shadow factory producing electric motors and dynamos for various military purposes, and included a top secret section which produced components for the Alan Turing designed Bombe computer which cracked the Nazi Germany Enigma machine coded messages. Until this point, Lister’s range of machinery had been designed to be powered by a drive belt, which itself relied on either water, steam or horse-drawn power to drive it. for their design of petrol-driven engines (derived from the design of a range of imported engines made by the U. based Stover Manufacturing and Engine Company), allowing Listers to offer portable and independently powered farm machinery.
In 1909 the company acquired manufacturing rights from the London-based firm of F. The acquisition of the petrol driven engines, referred to by Sir Robert Aston Lister as the infernal combustion engine, was a matter of pure chance.