Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
For the single cylinder tractor model these are based on, see Field Marshall.
Fowler VF
Fowler VF no. 4700094 with Bray Bulldozer gear at Kettering 08 - IMG 1998.jpg
Fowler VF with Bray bulldozer gear
Model history
Model introduced Unknown
Model discontinued 1952
Model status Discontinued
Superseded by Fowler VFA
Engine Specification
Fuel type Diesel
Power hp 33
Cooling system Water
Transmission Details
Transmission type Unknown
Drive crawler
Linkage Category Unknown
Other info
Factories Leeds, England
Plow rating Unknown
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The Fowler VF was built by Fowler & Co. of Leeds, England, from 19? till 1952 when the Fowler VFA replaced it. The VF had a 33 hp (25 kW) engine.John Fowler and Co, agricultural engineers of the Steam Plough Works, Leeds.

1850 John Fowler, Junior started work on application of steam-power to agricultural uses, in the first instance for drainage.

1860 Fowler entered into an agreement with Kitson and Hewitson of Hunslet, Leeds, for them to manufacture his steam ploughs. Fowler's Steam Plough Works were built on neighbouring land at Hunslet [1]

c1860 Robert William Eddison is a partner with John Fowler in the business at the Steam Plough Works on a site previously occupied by Wilson, Walker and Co in Letherley Lane, Hunslett.

1861 John Fowler, junior, of 28 Cornhill, London, exhibited at the Royal Agricultural Society of England meeting in Leeds[2]

1861 July. Leed's trial of steam ploughing. Fowlers steam cultivator of 12 hp ploughed and scarified four acres in four hours. It is made by Kitson and Hewitson [3] Fowler's apparatus which he manufactures in his own factory at Leeds in connection with Kitson and Hewitson [4]

1862 January. Mention of the Steam Plough Works [5]

1862 The works were expanded. Around 100 employed.

1862 May. Refers to a locomotive at the Airedale works of Kitson, Hewitson and Fowler [6]

1862 June. Refers to the steam plough business at Kitson, Hewitson and Fowler [7]

1862 August. Refers to the cultivator of Fowler powered by a 14 hp engine of Kitson and Hewitson. [8]

1862 November. Refers to Kitson and Hewitson's steam plough works [9]

1863 Established John Fowler and Co[10].

1863 August. Steam Ploughing trials at Linton-on-Ouse mentions Fowler's plough and a 14 hp engine by Kiton and Hewitson. [11]

1864 400 employees

1864 John Fowler was killed in a hunting accident aged 38 years. His brother Robert Fowler became a partner in the company.

1865 The Steam Plough Works enters the locomotive building trade [12]

1865 Patent by David Greig and Robert Burton of the Steam Plough Works for improvements in travelling cranes [13]

1867 Patent by D. Greig of the Steam Plough Works, Leeds for improvements in railways and railway engines [14]

1870 Patent by Max Eyth of the Steam Plough Works for improvements in steam engines [15]

1870 November. 800 men employed [16]

1871 Making agricultural machinery for Germany, locomotives for Brazil and winding engines for Cleveland [17]

1871 Employing 950 hands and Robert W. Eddison is in charge [18]

1871 December. Patent by David Greig, Robert Burton and Bernard Fowler of the Steam Plough Works re Steam Cultivating Machinery. [19]

1872 Beam engine. Exhibit at Anson Engine Museum. (See photo).

1872 Patent by David Greig and George Greig for improvements in ploughs etc. [20]

1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham with engines of 6, 8 and 14 hp in a new very dark green colour. [21]

1876 Members of the Iron and Steel Institute visited their works. [22]

1877 Exhibitor at the 1877 Royal Agricultural Show.[23].

1881 Employing 1,100 hands and Robert W. Eddison is in charge [24]

1881 December. The works are badly damaged by fire. 1,500 men affected. David Greig is a partner in the company. Premises are on a nine acre site and border those of Kitson and Co and close to Shepherd and Hill [25]

1882 Patent to David Greig and Max Eyth for improvements in governors. [26]

1886 The name John Fowler and Co (Leeds) Ltd was registered and listed as a manufacturer of steam traction engines. The company, John Fowler and Co (Leeds) Ltd was registered on 13 August, to acquire the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. [27]

1887 Started manufacturing lead-covered electric cables under the patents of Eddison and Tatham[28].

1888 Robert Fowler died

1888 Building locomotives for an American railway company [29]

1889 Engines of the House-to-House Electric Lighting installation in Kensington. [30] and other electricity works.

1889 Showed a compound horizontal engine at the RASE at Windsor. [31]

1889 Formed the Fowler-Waring Cables Co [32] [33] [34]

1891 Supplied horizontal twin-cylinder, Cornish and drop valve winding engine for Abercynon Colliery. Works number 6029.

1891 David Greig J.P. of the Steam Plough Works dies at Headingley Hill age 63. [35]

1894 Burton-on-Trent Electric light Works. Article and illustration in 'The Engineer'. [36]

1894 Eight-furrow turnover steam plough. Article in 'The Engineer'. [37]

1894 June. Royal Agricultural Society's Show. Turnwrest Plough for Steam Cultivation. [38]

1900 Robert W. Eddison a director of the company died. [39]

1900 Article and illustration on armoured train made. [40]

1900 June. Royal Agricultural Show at York. Showed 'Several fine engines'. [41]

1908 June 24th. Made a Private company [42]

1910 Produced agricultural tractors and machinery.

1911 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited steam cultivating tackle, road locomotives etc. [43]

1913 'The manufacture of Road Locomotives, Traction Engines, Tractors, Steam Ploughing Engines, and Road Rollers was commenced at the Steam Plough Works about the year 1850, and our modern engines are the outcome of accumulated experience gained since then. Our works cover an area of over fourteen acres and about 2,800 to 3,000 men and boys are now employed almost exclusively in the manufacture of various types of Steam and Oil Engine and Implements, an obvious proof of the constantly increasing demand for our engines.'[44]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Steam Motor Wagons, Tractors and Ploughs etc. see the 1917 Red Book including the Tiger range.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book

1920 Royal Agricultural Show at Darlington. 8-Furrow Turning Plough. [45]

1920 October. New steam ploughing engine rated at 70 hp and 6,000lb on the rope. [46]

1924 Built steam powered lorries until 1935 and built 117 in this period.

1924 William Alexander McLaren of the Steam Plough Works, Leeds dies. [47]

In 1927 the Gyrotiller was produced, having been designed to work on sugar cane plantations. Its rotary tines could penetrate the soil to a depth of 500 mm. It was successful not only at the sugar estates but also gained interest from contractors. The last Gyrotiller was produced in 1937.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history

1931 Produced the Marathon 6, their first diesel powered lorry for 6/7ton payloads.

1935 Ceased production of lorries and railway locomotives. It is estimated that they made between 150-300 of the latter.

1937 The last steam engine, a road roller, was produced. WWII Made Churchill tanks; invented the gyro tiller.

1944 Producing the 2DY diesel marine engine.

1945 May. The Ministry of Supply who are the owners of the company, sell it to Rotary Hoes [48]

1945 June 9th. Made a public company [49]

1947 Acquired by Marshall, Sons and Co including Fowler's mechanised factory at Sprotborough, Doncaster; the 2 companies had major interests in diesel tractors[50].

1947 June 24th. The petrol and diesel industrial engine part of the business was sold to Associated British Engineering

1948 November. Share prospectus [51]

1949 As part of the Marshalls group, Fowlers were making tractors at Leeds coordinated with the production at Gainsborough; continued to make diesel-engined rail locomotives up to 300hp[52]

1961 Manufacturers of diesel crawler tractors and diesel locomotives. 1,100 employees. [53]

1964 & 1966 Chairman is Arnold Carr [54]

1974 Company ceased trading.


◾ Agricultural Machinery

◾ Commercial Vehicles

◾ Portable Engines

◾ Semi-Portable Engines

◾ Railway Engines

◾ Reinmaster

◾ Road Locomotive

◾ Steam Driven Engines

◾ Tracked Vehicles

Model history

Main article: Fowler

History timeline

  • Introduced in 1948
  • Replaced by the Fowler VFA in 1952

Vehicle specification


3rd party equipment included Bulldozer gear by Bray from Middlesex.


A few example have been restored and others are still running in there original condition with just the mechanicals fixed.

Do you know of any more surviving examples to list ?
known examples include

List of Preserved Fowler crawler tractors
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Photo Caption / Description
Fowler VF no. 4705408 - LNV 325 at Old Warden 09 - IMG 1370.jpg A recently restored example LNV 325 at Old Warden Steam Rally
VF ploughing at WC 2 17.11.08.JPG Fowler VF working with a Ransomes Hexatrac plough
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See also

References / Sources

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