The Fowler Gyrotiller was a fore runer of the power harrow or rotavator, buit by John Fowler & Co. of Leeds from the 1920's. Several models were produced, and most early machines were used by ploughing contractors for breaking up virgin land, as they would grub up small bushes and trees. They were hugely expensive and thirsty, and a number are believed to have been sold on Hire purchase like the steam engines. Others were operated by a Fowler subsidiary, on a contract hire basis, at a rate per acre.
The Gyrotiller was invented by a Norman Storey in Porto Rico, a Sugar cane plantation estate manger. Charles Henry Fowler agreed a exclusive licensing deal with Storey for use of the patented design, in 1925.
225 hp / 170 hp GyrotillerEdit
The First machine left the factory in October 1927 for the West Indies. early machines had 225hp Ricardo petrol engines, but they were replaced by MAN diesels of 170 hp or 150 hp that used a lot less fuel. The tractor looked similar to the early Holt tractors built by Ruston and Hornsby for the army during WW I under licence, with tracks and a front 'steering' wheel. An example survives and has been shown at Great Dorset Steam Fair - photo hereOnly one example survives, which is now back in full working order after being in storage fora number of years. The identy of the machine is rather confused with Fowler id plates for another machine and a registration number that is believed to be from a sister machine operated by its owners during its working life. -
The early machines were superseded by the later models mounted on crawler tractors.
Gyrotiller 80 hpEdit
- Main article: Fowler Gyrotiller 80 hp
Fitted with a 80 hp 6-cylinder Fowler-Sanders engine
Gyrotiller 40 hpEdit
- Main article: Fowler Gyrotiller 40 hp
Gyrotiller 30 hpEdit
- Main article: Fowler Gyrotiller 30 hp
Based on the Fowler 3/30 crawler tractor
Companies using Gyrotillers in the UK included;
- Locketts of Stowmarket
- Norman E. Box Cultivators Ltd founded by Heavy Haulage contractor Norman E. Box.
- Penfold & Rice of Arundel in Sussex
- Essex Tillage Contractors Ltd (Fowler subsidary)
- A.J. Ward & Son of Egham
- Gyrotillers Sales & service (Fowler subsidary)
At least 5 Gryrotillers survive in the UK
- The Robert Crawford collection has a 80 hp and a 30 hp model
- The Peter Gaskins collection has a 80 hp, a 40 hp and a 30 hp model
- The Hunday Collection of John Moffat (now broken up) had a set of 3 (170, 80 and 40) which have now passed to ? following a period of ownership by the late Tom Wheatcroft , owner of the Donington Park Grand Prix Collection
- The Science Museum at Wroughton has a 170 hp model in storage
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References / sourcesEdit
- Vintage Tractor Magazine, Issue 120, p38-42
- National Archives Fowlers summary record
- reproduction news report - at wwww.thefreelibary.com
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