The Museum of East Anglian Life (MEAL) in Stowmarket chose a Ransomes self-sharpening chilled cast-iron ploughshare as their man-made object for the BBC's A History of the World project. It was made in Ipswich.
The ploughshare is the triangular bit which sits at the front of the curved blade and turns the top soil over as it is pulled across the fields.
The museum's Lisa Harris said: "Robert Ransome was in the foundry and dropped some molten iron on the cold floor. He discovered some of it had set a lot harder than other parts." The process was patented in 1803.
The Museum charts the history of the Ransome family and the many incarnations of the business from Ransomes & Co. to today's Ransomes Jacobsen.
"This was made for the Indian market," said Lisa Harris. "It's called the Hindustani plough and was designed to be pulled either by oxen or, with slight adaptations, by an elephant."
"All the parts from Ransomes are interchangeable so pieces can be swapped on and off with standardised sizes of bolt. Ploughs can be adjusted and fixed in different parts of the country," said Lisa Harris.
The Ransome family were Quakers and, like other Quaker employers such as Cadbury, they took particular care of their staff. "They were known for being very good employers," said Lisa Harris.
This memorial lists Ransomes' workers who died in the First World War. During both wars the company produced parts for military equipment and agricultural machinery for the home front.
In the 1970s Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies Ltd moved further into the lawn mower market. "They were clearly built to last as we get offered Ransomes mowers almost every week," said Lisa Harris.
In 1998, Ransomes was taken-over by the US company Textron and moved into specialist ride-on mowers for golf courses and local authorities. These rotors are made from sheet metal at the factory in Ipswich.
The company's Peter Driver is sitting on one of their latest machines, the Highway 3. A mower like this will cost in the region of £25,000 and is hand made with the engine, wheels and seats being supplied by other firms.
The production line in Ipswich also makes these electric vehicles. "Electric power in some shape or form is the way we're going to be going," said Peter Driver.
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