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L Gardner and Sons Ltd was a well-known British builder of diesel engines for stationary, marine, road and rail applications.
About 1873 Lawrence Gardner set up as a sewing machine maker in Upper Duke Street, Stretford Road, Hulme, Manchester. By 1888 the firm was trading as L. Gardner and Sons. Lawrence Gardner died in 1890 but the business was continued by his sons.
Gas and diesel engines
From about 1895 the company was building gas engines and, in 1899 it moved into Barton Hall Engine Works, Patricroft, Manchester.
In 1903 it became a limited company, L Gardner and Sons Ltd. Norris and Henty Ltd, of London, were appointed as sales agents.
Diesel engine production began in around 1903. In 1912 a new sales subsidiary, Norris, Henty and Gardners Ltd, was formed.
During World War I (1914-1918) the company made munitions, parts for heavy guns and engines for tanks.
During the 1920s there was rapid development in the design of diesel engines. In 1929 a Gardner "4L2" marine engine was fitted into a Lancia bus. This conversion was successful and prompted Gardner to introduce the "LW" series of diesel engines, designed especially for road vehicles.
During World War II (1939-1945) Gardner's war work consisted mainly of building diesel engines of their own design.
After the war the "LW" diesel engine continued to be built in large numbers for lorries and buses and was later supplemented by the more modern "LX". The larger "6L3" and "8L3" engines were used in railway locomotives, such as British Rail Class 01 and British Rail Class 04.
Gardener Model range
- Gardner 4L2 series engines -
- Gardner LW series engines - automotive engines
- Gardner LX series engines -
- Gardner 6L3 series engines -
- Gardner 8L3 series engines -
- Gardner 13HF engine
Several gardener engines are in preservation and can be seen on the rally circuit.
- There is a large Gardner Marine engine out of a Motor Launch that is mounted in the body of a Gardner powered ERF lorry for display purposes. It was at the Sandbach Festival of Transport Show in 2008.
- The Engine Men have a Gardner horizontal stationary industrial engine in a mobile display unit.
The supply of re-manufactured Gardner engines and genuine Gardner parts
L. Gardner & Sons ceased production of new engines in the early 1990s. The introduction of emissions regulations for road-going Gardner diesels would have required the development of significantly modified or totally new engine designs, and in the marine market there was a shift away from big, low-speed, high-torque engines such as Gardners towards adapted high-speed automotive turbo-diesels. Two spin-off firms from the original company are still in existence:-
- Gardner Marine Diesels  overhauls, re-manufactures and installs a wide range of marine-spec Gardners and both they and Gardner Parts Limited supply genuine Gardner engine parts for all types of engine worldwide.
- Obsolete Gardner engine parts are currently being manufactured by Gardner Enthusiast Ltd . Gardner Enthusiast Ltd manufacture piston rings, engine valves and major engine castings. Gardner Enthusiast Ltd are currently casting marine manifolds for the 8LXB and many more parts are in production by this small dedicated team of Mechanical Engineers.
- Wikipedia article for basic detail
- Smith, Donald H., The Modern Diesel, pp 151-154, published by Iliffe & Sons, London, 13th edition 1959
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