|Fate||Tractor division divested to Tenneco|
|Successor||David Brown Engineering Ltd|
|Founder(s)||David Brown (snr)|
|Area served||World wide exporter|
David Brown Limited is a British engineering company, principally engaged in the manufacture of gears and gearboxes. Their major gear manufacturing plant is in Swan Lane, Lockwood, Huddersfield, adjacent to Lockwood railway station. Previously from the 1930 till the 1970s they were a major tractor builder. Selling the tractor production line to Tenneco (J.I.Case) during the 1970s recession.
- 1 Company General History
- 2 Restructuring
- 3 Model range
- 4 Preserved Machines
- 5 Collectors Groups
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Company General History[edit | edit source]
Founded in 1860 as a pattern manufacturing company, by 1873 David Brown had focused on gear systems, and by 1898 was specialising in machine cut gears. The company then moved in 1902 to Park Works at Huddersfield, were the firm is still based. David Brown died in 1903 and Percy and Frank his sons took over and began manufacture of complete gear units with bearings and shafts worm drive gears.
Gearing manufactured by David Browns and powered by electric motors manufactured by Brook Crompton (Electric) Motors, whose factory was in near by Brockholes, West Yorkshire are used to rotate the top of the BT Tower in London.
By the end of the First World War the workforce had increased from 200 to 1000 as they started building propulsion units for warships, and drive mechanisms for armaments. In 1913 they established a joint venture in America with Timken for worm drive units. By 1921 the company was the largest worm gear manufacturer in the world.
The company in 1930 took over P.R. Jackson Ltd, another local firm of gear manufacturers and steel founders. David Brown II became MD in 1931 following his farther Percys death, with Frank becoming chairman. The Firm formed another overseas joint venture with Richardson Gears (Pty) Ltd of Footscray, Victoria, Australia in 1934. The company obtained a patent for a tank transmission using controlled differential steering system, known as the Merritt-Brown system in 1935.
Tractor Building[edit | edit source]
They first ventured into tractor production in a joint project with Harry Ferguson in 1936 building the Ferguson-Brown tractor. David Brown became one of the biggest British tractor manufactures for a period post war, with a major manufacturing plant at Meltham Mills, Meltham West Yorkshire England. The company broke new ground where others were only to follow later, being a pioneering company ultimately lead to their downfall. The Ferguson brown had a load of innovative features including allot of the components being of cast alloy construction, which was light but could be prone to damage. The Ferguson-Brown used a Coventry Climax engine for the first 350 tractors. Browns developed their own engine which was fitted to subsequent production. Total production was 1350 + 1 built from parts in 1940 after production finished.
Then when Ferguson joined up with Henry Ford to allow his "Ferguson System" three-point linkage to be used on the Fordson N tractors the agreement was terminated prematurely by Ferguson's actions. Prior to the end of the manufacturing agreement with Ferguson, David Brown had foresaw a future in tractor production and designed his own tractor the 'VAK1' in secret. It was launched at the 1939 Royal Show.
During the war David Brown built many tractors for the Royal air Force (RAF) that were used as aircraft tugs (VIG) and for pulling the bomb trolleys for aircraft re arming. These tractors are distinctive with Truck like tyres wrap round body work, and HD bumpers front and rear, some being fitted with winches.
In 1942 they started building a Tracklayer version the DB4 after an earlier attempt the VTK1 had failed to work as an aircraft tug. The DB4 was built for the Army engineers and solved some of the problems found with the VTK, and got round an embargo on imported machines for military use.
By the 1970s tractors stated to be offered with cabs as an accessory and by the late 70s had to be supplied with Safety cabs to provide rollover protection, or be fitted with ROPS safety frames. In 1972, the tractor division was sold to Tenneco and merged in with their J.I.Case division. The 90 series tractors introduced in 1979 were part David Brown-derived designs, but the larger models were from the Case range from America.
David Brown distributed Satoh tractors in England and many other countries, while Satoh distributed David Brown in Japan. Satoh built some models based on David Brown designs that closely resemble David Browns, but are built in Japan and are unique models. Examples include the Satoh S-400, Satoh S-650G and Satoh Bison S-650G, among others.
By the 1980s cabs had to be sound-reducing as well (see Q Cabs. The last David Brown branded tractors were manufactured in 1983, with all tractors changing to the Case brand after that. The last tractor off the line in March 1988 was a Case 1594 (s/n 154BJB11528785).
Car manufacture[edit | edit source]
In 1947, the company acquired Aston Martin and in 1948, Lagonda. The investment by David Brown led to the DB series of Aston Martins. The most famous being the DB5 type loaned to the producers of the 'James Bond' series of films, this resulted in a huge amount of publicity & resultant sales rise.
Both car companies were sold in 1972 to Company Developments Limited, when Aston Martin was in financial trouble, for a nominal £100. And David Brown was hit by banking fall out from the recession and Rolls Royce (aero engines) getting into trouble.
Engine Manufacture[edit | edit source]
David Brown tractors after the initial Ferguson-Brown's using bought in engines developed and built their own engines.
Gearboxes[edit | edit source]
The Parent companies main expertise was (& still is) Gearbox manufacture.
The Current David Brown Company, now a subsidiary of Textron Inc. Still manufacture gearboxes with a capacity of up to several 1000 hp for use in industrial drives and Ships.
David brown built gearboxes for Tanks during the 2nd World War, and also for other machinery. Some makes of truck had David Brown gearboxes as well as construction machinery built by ?
- Customers included
- details required
Hydraulics[edit | edit source]
Implements and Machinery[edit | edit source]
The David Brown Tractor division merged / took over Harrison, McGregor & Guest Ltd manufacturers of the Albion Machinery brand from Lancashire in 1955 and added the Red rose of Lancashire and the White rose of Yorkshire to the new company logo / badge as part of the updating after the merger. The machinery and implements being marketed as "David Brown Albion" for several years.
- Products included
- Forage cutters
- Manure spreaders
Restructuring[edit | edit source]
In 1970, the family disposed of its stake to its management who floated the group as a public company in 1973. David Brown was acquired by the Tenneco Corporation. and integrated in to their J.I.Case tractor operating division in October 1978. In 1984 Tenneco acquired the tractor business of the International Harvester Company. The Case UK operations (David Brown tractors was merged with the International Harvester operations in the UK. By 1988 the Meltham factory shut with production moving to the IH factory at Doncaster. Branding was changed to Case-International, and product lines rationalized (See Case IH article)
David Brown Industrial Gears was acquired by Textron Inc. in October 1998. The company, now trading as David Brown Engineering Ltd, is headquartered in Huddersfield, and is now a leading supplier of heavy transmission systems for industrial, defence and marine applications. These include transmissions for the British Challenger 2 Tanks and American M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Basically carrying on their original gear and transmission business, as a subsidiary of Textron Inc.
David Brown Engineering was sold by Textron and acquired by a UK based engineering holding company.
Model range[edit | edit source]
- Ferguson-Brown - 1936-39
- DB VAK1 - 1939-45
- DB Aircraft tug (VIG)
- DB Cropmaster 3PL
- DB Taskmaster - 1948-65
- DB 50TD Trackmaster - 1950-63
- DB 30TD Trackmaster - 1953- ?
- DB 25 - 1953-58
- DB 25C,
- DB 25D
- DB 30C - 1953-57
- DB 30D
- DB 50D VAD - 1953-59 6-cylinder (1260 built)
- DB 900 series 1955-57 (13,779 built)
- DB 2D (VAD 12) - Row crop /toolbar 1956-64 (2,006 built)
- DB 950 series - 1958-61 (18,125 built)
- DB 750 - 1965
- DB 770 Selectamatic - 1965-70 36 hp 3-cylinder
- DB 775 - (up dated 770 for export)
- DB 780 - 1967-71 46 hp 4-cylinder (8,986 built)
- DB 850 series - 1960-65
- DB 850 Implematic - 1960 3-cylinder
- DB 880 series - 1961-71 (19,207 built)
- DB 885 - 1971-77 (up dated 770)
- DB 885 vineyard
- DB 900 - 1956-58 (13,779 built)
- DB 950 - 1958
- DB 950 Implematic - 1959-65 (18,125 built)
- DB 985 - 1971-77
- DB 885 vineyard - 1971-77
- DB 990 series - 1961-71 (?
- DB 990 Implematic - 1961-65
- DB 990 Selectamatic - 1965-71 55 hp (14,7765 built)
- DB 995 - 1971-77
- DB 996 - 1971-77
- DB 1190 - 1979-83 48 hp (2WD Only)
- DB 1194 - 1983 48 hp
- DB 1200 - 1967 67 hp (72 hp 1968)
- DB 1210 - 1971-77 (some 4x4 models built)
- DB 1212 - 1971-77
- DB 1290 - 1979-83 58 hp
- DB 1294 - 1983 61 hp
- DB 1390 - 1979-83 67 hp
- DB 1394 - 1983 72 hp (turbo)
- DB 1400 - 19 ?
- DB 1410 - 1977-83 Hydra-shift
- DB 1412 - 1974-83 91 hp
- DB 1490 - 1979-83 83 hp
- DB 1494 - 1983 83 hp
- DB 1594 - 1983 95 hp 6-cylinder
- DB 1690 - 1979-83 103 hp 6-cylinder
- DB 1694 - 1983 108 hp (turbo)
- DB 2090 - 1979 120 hp (2WD only)
- DB 2290 - 1979 139 hp (2WD only)
- DB 2390 - 1979 171 hp (2WD only)
- DB 4690 - 1979 233 hp (4WD Only)
- DB 4890 - 198? 273 hp (Scania engine)
- DB 3800 - Gasoline (US)
- DB 4600 - Gasoline (US)
- Implematic - name applied to several models to denote the hydraulic control system.
- Selectomatic - name applied to several models, replaced the Implematic version
Crawler Tractors[edit | edit source]
- DB Trackmaster
- DB4 Crawler - 1942-49 (110 built)
- DB 30 series tracklayers
- DB 40TD
- DB 40TD shovel - Track shovel (by Meiller) possibly 10 only built ?
- DB 50 Trackmaster - 1952-53 50 hp 6-cylinder
- DB 50TD - 1953-65
- DB Tracked loader
- DB 5 prototype
- DB 990T
Industrial models[edit | edit source]
The most common industrial versions were the Aircraft Tug versions built during WWII
- DB VTK1 - 1941-42 Tracked Tug for air ministry, most converted to tractors as it failed to work
- DB VIG1 - 1941-49 Air ministry aircraft tugs
- DB Tracked loader -
Specials[edit | edit source]
- DB 770 Orchard
- DB 885 Vine yard
- DB 995 4-wd - built in a rare equal sized wheel 4-WD version. These are also known as "Mudder" or vegetable tractors and were built for the US market.
- DB 1390 Orchard
Case Versions[edit | edit source]
- Case 970 Agri-King 101 hp
Preserved Machines[edit | edit source]
- David Browns are a popular model for collectors, with a good selection of them on display at a lot of the shows. There are quite a few of the Aircraft tug versions about that look more like a truck with tarmac tyres, and often twin rear wheels.
- the 1st Ferguson-Brown is in the Massey-Ferguson Heritage Centre in Coventry.
- The David Brown Tractor Club is actively promoting the Marque at tractor shows, putting on a club stand at Major and local shows. They had a large presence at the Malvern National Tractor Show in 2009 and at the Newark VTH show in 2008. As well as presenting David Browns in the David Brown Museum at Meltham, with several unique examples on display.
Collectors Groups[edit | edit source]
- David Brown Tractor Club - Web site of the DBTC
- David Brown 2D Register, E-mail:email@example.com
- There is also the David Brown Museum at Meltham next to the old David Brown factory, which houses a selection of tractors, the club shop and various memorabilia related to the David Brown marque.
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of Tractor Manufacturers
- List of Construction Plant Manufacturers
- List of Collections
- Ferguson-Brown - Early joint venture
- Oliver - Sold some DB models rebadged.
- Case Corporation formerly J.I.Case - Successor to DB
- International Harvester - Merged with Case to form Case IH
- Case IH- Formed by merger of Case & IH, now part of CNH.
- CNH - Parent co of Case IH Division.
- Shows and Meets
- Show Reports
References[edit | edit source]
- David Brown Tractors 1936 to 1964, Alan Earnshaw, Nostalgia Road, ISBN 1-903016-02-9
- David Brown Tractors 1965-1988, by Anthony L Heath, ISBN 1-903016-03-7
- David Brown Tractors.Com - The David Brown Rose Badge
- David Brown Website - History
- David Brown tractor .Com - Gallery image
Further reading[edit | edit source]
- David Brown Tractors 1936-1964 by Alan Earnshaw, ISBN 1-903016-02-9
- David Brown Tractors 1965-1988 by Anthony J. Heath, ISBN 1-903016-03-7
[edit | edit source]
- Power Transmission Products - David Brown
- David Brown history
- The David Brown Tractor Club, Spinks Mill, Meltham
- David Brown Tractors.Com web site - Excellent Photo gallery + History of company.
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