R.A. Lister & Company was founded in Dursley, Gloucestershire, in 1867 by Sir Robert Ashton Lister (1845–1929), to produce agricultural machinery. The family was originally from Yorkshire but Ashton's father (George Lister) relocated to Dursley in 1817.

Lister Junior Engine

Lister Junior Stationary Engine at Belvoir Castle Show 2008


The company started producing petrol engines early in the 20th century, mainly to power sheep-shearing equipment. The most successful of these was the 'D' type engine, most of which were 1.5 horsepower/ 700 RPM units. Over 250,000 'D' engines were built between 1926 and 1964, and were used for a wide variety of light tasks such as pumping and small-scale electricity generation. The Lister 'D' is still one of the most widely-seen vintage stationary engines in the UK.

In 1929, the first of Lister's own design of "CS" (cold start) diesel engine was made in Dursley. The CS is a slow running (600 rpm), reliable engine, suitable for driving electric generators or irrigation pumps. The CS type engines (the range spanned single-, twin-, triple- and four-cylinder versions in a range of power outputs) gained a reputation for longevity and reliability, especially in Commonwealth countries, to which they were widely exported. Some CS engines ran practically continuously for decades in agricultural, industrial and electrical applications.

Production of these engines in England ended in 1987 but the popularity and reputation of the design meant that a number of Indian manufacturers have since continued production of "Listeroids" or clones copied from the CS design. These engines are used in India and also exported to other countries, including Australia and the USA. Recently there has been an upsurge in interest in these engines and their unique capabilities for long-term electrical generation or pumping, and the initially haphazard build quality of "Listeroids" had now largely reached the same level as the original Lister-built units. They are becoming increasingly popular for "off grid" or "remote" uses, partially because of their ability to use a large variety of alternate fuels and ease of maintenance and repair.

Lister Rail truck sn 8023 at Arigna ROI - IMG 2101

A Lister rail truck at the mining museum at Arigna in the Republic of Ireland

Lister also built light trucks fitted with their engines, for use around factories. From 1926 to 1968 they built light narrow gauge railway locomotives, weighing as little as 1½ tons, typically used by small brickworks and on peat bogs. The locos were often characterised by a total lack of bodywork; sometimes they had the luxury of an all over roof supported by four corner posts.

Take oversEdit

in 1937 Lister took over the Blackstone company who had been part of the AGE group who collapsed in the 1930's. The Blackstone Company continued as an engine and agricultural machinery builder after the take over. The firms products was then branded as Lister Blackstone.

Lister Blackstone & R.A. Lister & Company was acquired by the Hawker Siddeley Group on 1st June 1965 and merged with Mirrlees National of Stockport in 1969. The company name was then became Mirrlees Blackstone Ltd. Then in 1986 Lister was merged with Petter Diesels to form Lister-Petter Ltd.

Colour schemeEdit

Lister engines were traditionally painted a mid-range shade of "Brunswick Green", and some engines produced by Lister-Petter are still produced in this colour.

Model RangeEdit

Lister XO sn 56434 of 1926 20 hp at Lister Tyndale 09 - IMG 4631

A Lister XO 20 hp of 1926 at the Lister Tyndale Steam Rally 2009





Lister Goldstar tractor - 9430 DF - at Fairford 09 - IMG 5588

One of the 5 Prototype Lister Goldstar tractors

Works trucksEdit

Other MachineryEdit

Lister Junior sn 276328 Ace Hoist - for Liner Conc co. at Lister Tyndale 09 - IMG 4651

A Lister Junior Ace Hoist supplied to Liner Concrete Co. on show at Lister Tyndale Steam Rally 2009


A large number of Lister's main product engines have survived into preservation due to the Huge numbers built originally. A few are listed below, as a summary, but the main list for each type is the relevant model page.

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

External linksEdit

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