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The British Anzani Engine Company Ltd started out as a distributor for the French Anzani Co.
Anzani supplied engines for the Bristol tractors.
The need for additional war time food production required innovative products and the extremely successful British Anzani Iron Horse two-wheeled tractor was introduced in 1940.
Advertised as ‘the agricultural machine built with aero engine accuracy’ it was fitted with a 4 stroke 6hp Anzani/JAP engine giving a top speed of 4 mph. A centrifugal clutch, three forward gears and reverse and with adjustable track from 24" to 36", a range of steel wheels, extension rims, pneumatic tyres or crawler track options meant it really was a machine to tackle any terrain. You could also purchase a ride-on carriage for the driver turning it into a normal tractor capable of pulling farm carts with up to a ton load.
A range of accessories increased its functionality with attachments for mowing, ploughing, spraying, hoeing, crop lifting and harrowing. It also had a multifunctional belt driven power take-off system which provided farmers with additional tools that were continually developed and added to over the years. Uses included saws, concrete mixers, pumps and generators.
These popular machines proved robust and reliable in use and sold in thousands all around the world. They cost £140 in 1940 or alternatively could be bought on hire purchase or even rented from the factory for £3.10s.0d. a week!
For lighter work the Planet Jnr. motor hoe could be had for £39.10s.0d. Introduced in 1948 it was powered by a 1hp Anzani/JAP engine and had a range of implements similar to the Iron Horse. The advertising brochure claimed it ‘made work a pleasure’ and the little hoe went into use in market gardens and smallholdings around the globe.
Production of agricultural tractors stopped in 1956.
The Iron Horse is a popular machine with collectors of horticultural machinery and they can often be seen at shows and at some ploughing or working events with a horticultural section.
- Known machines in collections.
As they don't have registration numbers or a prominent serial number it is hard to identify individual machines and accredit ownership, as a lot of events do not have numbers and or/a clear listing in the catalogue for all machines.
- At Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show 2009 - Mick Green from West Yorkshire displayed one of his 10 machines. (see photo)
Anzani went into lawnmower production in the late 50’s with a range of equipment of mostly larger scale 14”, 16” and 24” mowers for professional purposes. Production went on until the late 1960’s from their new factory in Aylesford in Kent. The range included the Lawnrider (a 150cc 4 stroke sit-on mower in 18” and 24” widths), the Ridamow (another sit-on mower with a detachable seat for self propelled operation, 150cc 4 stroke 24” width), the Powermow (a self propelled 24” width mower) and for smaller areas the Easimow, (a 14” self propelled 4-stroke 48cc machine). All the petrol driven mowers included the Heli-Strand flexible drive power take-off system which provided a range of additional tools that could be driven directly from the mower. These included a chain saw, hedge cutter, log saw, pruning saw and rotary grass cutter. The range also saw the Company’s first electric mower the Whispamow, a 14” two-speed battery driven machine with built-in charger. They produced add-ons too for a descendant of the Iron Horse: the Honda F30 tractor. The Heli-Swift 30 was a 20” grasscutting attachment belt driven from the tractor costing £35 15s 0d. The Foldakart was a heavy duty wheelbarrow designed to compliment the mower range.