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A Traction Engine is a wheeled steam engine used to move heavy loads, plough ground or to provide power at a chosen location. The name derives from the Latin tractus, meaning 'drawn', since the prime function of any traction engine is to draw a load behind it. They are sometimes called road locomotives to distinguish them from (railway) steam locomotives that is, steam engines that run on rails.

Large Fowler "Ploughing Engine" at Belvoir Castle show 2008

One of Beeby Bros No.4 set Fowler ploughing engine NR1213

Balance Plough in action at Holcot Steam Rally 2008

ploughing engine hauling 6 furrow Plough with Furrow press through stubble at the Holcot Steam Rally

Part of Beeby Bros No.4 set of Fowler ploughing engine NR1213

Ploughing engine Fowler no. 15231 showing the winding drum, at Bromyard Show 2008

Fowler engine no.15231 "Prince" at Bromyard show 2008

History

Traction engines tend to be large, robust and powerful, but heavy, slow, and poorly maneuverable. Nevertheless, they revolutionized agriculture and road haulage at a time when the only alternative prime mover was the draught horse (Shire horse).

They became popular in industrialised countries from around 1850, when the first self-propelled portable steam engines for agricultural use were developed. Production continued well into the early part of the 20th century, when competition from internal combustion engine -powered tractors saw them fall out of favour, although some continued in commercial use in the UK into the 1950s and later. All types of traction engines have now been superseded, in commercial use. However, several thousand examples have been preserved worldwide, many in working order, with more being restored every year by enthusiastic and dedicated collectors.

Traction engines were cumbersome and ill-suited to crossing soft or heavy ground so their agricultural use was usually either "in the belt" powering farm machinery by means of a continuous leather belt driven by the flywheel or in pairs, dragging an implement on a cable from one side of a field to another, this configuration being known as "A pair of Ploughing engines". However, where soil conditions permitted, direct hauling of implements "off the drawbar" was preferred in the U.S., this lead to the divergent development of the Steam Tractor.

Ploughing engine

A distinct form of traction engine, characterised by the provision of a large diameter winding drum driven by separate gearing from the steam engine. Onto the drum a long length of wire rope was wound, which was used to haul an implement, such as a plough, across a field.

The winding drum was either mounted horizontally (below the boiler), vertically (to one side), or even concentrically, so that it encircled the boiler. The majority were under-slung (horizontal), however, and necessitated the use of an extra-long boiler to allow enough space for the drum to fit between the front and back wheels. These designs were the largest and longest traction engines to be built.

Mostly the ploughing engines worked in pairs, one on each side of the field, with the rope from each machine fastened to the implement to be hauled. The two drivers communicated by signals using the engine whistles.

Implements

A variety of implements were constructed for use with ploughing engines. The most common were the balance plough and the cultivator - ploughing and cultivating being the most physically demanding jobs to do on an arable farm. Other implements could include a mole drainer, used to create an underground drainage channel or pipe, or a dredger bucket for dredging rivers or moats.

The engines were frequently provided with a 'spud tray' on the front axle, to store the 'spuds'(lugs) which would be fitted to the wheels when travelling across claggy ground, but could not be used on the road.

The man credited with the invention of the ploughing engine, in the mid-nineteenth century, was John Fowler, an English agricultural engineer and inventor.

Ploughing engines were rare in the U.S.; ploughs were usually hauled directly by an agricultural engine or steam tractor.

Manufactures

Some of the British builders included;

U.S. (agricultural) traction engine

Favourable soil conditions meant that U.S. traction engines usually pulled their ploughs behind them, thereby eliminating the complexities of providing a cable drum and extra gearing, hence simplifying maintenance. American traction engines were manufactured in a variety of sizes, with the 6 horsepower Russell being the smallest commercially made, and the large engines made by Russell, Case, and Reeves being the largest.

One of the largest steam traction engines manufactured in the U.S.was the 150 horsepower Case steam traction engine had driving wheels 8 feet in diameter, and was over 25 feet long.

American Manufacturers

Some of the American manufacturers were

many other smaller firms also built a few examples.

Other Countries

Countries such as Germany also built ploughing engines for use there colonies.

The company of Ottermeyer being one that built them till quite late for export markets such as Africa. The largest models were rated at over 300hp.

Preservation

Fowler ploughing engine (sn ?)

From the 1950s, the 'preservation movement' started to build up as enthusiasts realised that these lumbering beasts were in danger of dying out. Many of the remaining engines were snapped-up by enthusiasts, and restored to working order. Traction engine rallies began, initially as races between engine owners and their charges, later developing into the significant tourist attractions that takes place in many locations each year. It has been estimated that over two thousand traction engines have been preserved.

Preserved Machines

Aveling & Porter no. 8890 at Thursford Steam Museum

List of some of the know machines currently in preservation;

  • Aveling & Porter no. 6547 - at Preston Services repatriated from Africa ~ 1993
  • Aveling & Porter no. 8890 - Field Marshall Haig - at Thursford Steam Museum
  • Aveling & Porter no. 8891 - General Byng - at Thursford Steam Museum
  • Aveling & Porter no. 8942 - NO 164 - Essex (Tractor fitted with large winch drum for cable Haulage)
  • Burrell no. 776 - The Countess - at Museum of East Anglian Life
  • Burrell no. 777 - The Earl - at Museum of East Anglian Life
  • Clayton & Shuttleworth no. 40582 -
  • Fowler no. 1049 / Fowler no. 1050 - Heinz
  • Fowler no. 1190 / Fowler no. 1281 - The Wilder
  • Fowler no. 1368 - Margaret
  • Fowler no. 1641 - NR 1212 - In ROI (SPC) / UK (TER)
  • Fowler no. 1642 - NR 1213 - In ROI
  • Fowler no. 1908 - HR 3666 - Under restoration
  • Fowler no. 2013 - Noreen - (Sold 2016 at the Keeley Sale)
  • Fowler no. 2165 -
  • Fowler no. 2267 - AL 8344 -
  • Fowler no. 2479 - of 1874 - ex Beeby Brothers (see Fowler no. 1642)
  • Fowler no. 2528 - The Chief of 1875 - ex Beeby Brothers
  • Fowler no. 2529 - (collection of parts) - ex Beeby Bros.
  • Fowler no. 2620 - (see Fowler no. 1050) - misidentified in earlier TER lists
  • Fowler no. 2693 - (see Fowler no. 1641) - misidentified in earlier TER list
  • Fowler no. 2861 - AB 9451
  • Fowler no. 3195 - AB 9452
  • Fowler no. 4223 - Aethelflaed
  • Fowler no. 4680 - AC 9066
  • Fowler no. 4681 - AC 9067
  • Fowler no. 10459 - Awaiting restoration (SPC 2012)
  • Fowler no. 10460 - (no on crank in 10459)
  • Fowler no. 10464 - (See Fowler no. 10459) -Mis-recorded in early TER editions
  • Fowler no. 11082 - Jaraslava was assembled in Magdeburg
  • Fowler no. 11637 - HK 9843
  • Fowler no. 12366 - Old Guard - under restoration (SPC)
  • Fowler no. 12940 - Incomplete
  • Fowler no. 13303 -
  • Fowler no. 13310 - The Steam Sapper
  • Fowler no. 13481 - NO 796
  • Fowler no. 13482 - NO 797
  • Fowler no. 13776 - Heroine
  • Fowler no. 13777 - Hero
  • Fowler no. 13830 - The Equaliser
  • Fowler no. 13831 - Esmeralda
  • Fowler no. 13877 - Sir John - 282 HYR (ex NO 5) - originally registered NO 5
  • Fowler no. 13880 - NO 371
  • Fowler no. 13881 - NO 372
  • Fowler no. 13910 - My Delight - AB 9987 - Sold 2016 at Keeley Sale
  • Fowler no. 14197 - His Majesty exported to France in 1988
  • Fowler no. 14198 - exported to France in 1988
  • Fowler no. 14213 - Bob - HK 9840
  • Fowler no. 14214 - HK 9841 - was exported to Canada in 1950s
  • Fowler no. 14222 - HK 1963
  • Fowler no. 14247 - Sunrise
  • Fowler no. 14248 - Sunset
  • Fowler no. 14253 - Master John
  • Fowler no. 14256 - General French
  • Fowler no. 14257 - Linkey
  • Fowler no. 14258 - Sevington
  • Fowler no. 14266 - Converted to IC engine power
  • Fowler no. 14267 - Converted to IC engine power
  • Fowler no. 14268 - Converted to IC engine power
  • Fowler no. 14269 - Converted to IC engine power
  • Fowler no. 14367 - Zimber
  • Fowler no. 14368 -
  • Fowler no. 14375
  • Fowler no. 14376
  • Fowler no. 14378 - Wittersham Boy
  • Fowler no. 14379 - Salty
  • Fowler no. 14380 - Sally
  • Fowler no. 14381 - Excalibur (exported 1996)
  • Fowler no. 14382 - Excelsior (exported 1996)
  • Fowler no. 14383 - Prince
  • Fowler no. 14384 - Princess
  • Fowler no. 14694 - Greta
  • Fowler no. 14695 - Hilda
  • Fowler no. 14712 - Wilbur
  • Fowler no. 14726 - Peace
  • Fowler no. 14727 - Victory
  • Fowler no. 14728 - Giant Tiger
  • Fowler no. 14729 - Giant Panther
  • Fowler no. 15133 - Fitted with McLaren diesel
  • Fowler no. 15134 - Fitted with McLaren diesel
  • Fowler no. 15138 - Mistress exported to Canada (back in UK 2014)
  • Fowler no. 15139 - Master
  • Fowler no. 15142 - (carries plate for 15175)
  • Fowler no. 15143 -
  • Fowler no. 15145
  • Fowler no. 15146 - Fame
  • Fowler no. 15147 - Fortune
  • Fowler no. 15148
  • Fowler no. 15149
  • Fowler no. 15154 - Ward
  • Fowler no. 15155 - Dale
  • Fowler no. 15162
  • Fowler no. 15163
  • Fowler no. 15164 - Berkshire Lady
  • Fowler no. 15165
  • Fowler no. 15170 - Princess Caroline
  • Fowler no. 15171
  • Fowler no. 15172 - Satan - Ex Tom Paisley collection (exported to Sweden in 1980)[1]
  • Fowler no. 15173 - Ex Tom Paisley collection (exported to Sweden in 1980)
  • Fowler no. 15175 - (This sn plate is on Fowler no. 15142)[2]
  • Fowler no. 15182 - Achilles
  • Fowler no. 15183 - Ajax
  • Fowler no. 15194 - William Shakespeare
  • Fowler no. 15195 - Jane Hathaway
  • Fowler no. 15198 - Beeby no. 11 set
  • Fowler no. 15199 - Beeby no. 11 set
  • Fowler no. 15202 - Dirk exported to Holland 1975
  • Fowler no. 15203 - Tim exported to Holland 1975
  • Fowler no. 15206 - Hercules
  • Fowler no. 15207 -
  • Fowler no. 15208 - Sarah
  • Fowler no. 15209 - Doris
  • Fowler no. 15210 - Hengist
  • Fowler no. 15211 - Horsa
  • Fowler no. 15218 - Patience
  • Fowler no. 15219 - exported to Germany 1995
  • Fowler no. 15222 - Bristol Rover
  • Fowler no. 15223 - Paddy in ROI
  • Fowler no. 15226 - Bill/Tiny Tim
  • Fowler no. 15227 - Ben
  • Fowler no. 15230 - Princess exported to France in 1995
  • Fowler no. 15231 - Prince
  • Fowler no. 15236 - Cissie
  • Fowler no. 15237 - Bessie
  • Fowler no. 15240 - exported to Tanzania in 1977
  • Fowler no. 15256 - Renown
  • Fowler no. 15257 - Repulse
  • Fowler no. 15267
  • Fowler no. 15278 - Authur Ashmole
  • Fowler no. 15279 - Neville
  • Fowler no. 15332 - Johnny
  • Fowler no. 15333 - Ruth
  • Fowler no. 15334 - Lady Jane
  • Fowler no. 15335 - Lady Caroline
  • Fowler no. 15336 - Janet
  • Fowler no. 15337
  • Fowler no. 15340 - ex Strumpshaw Hall Museum 2014
  • Fowler no. 15341 - ex Strumpshaw Hall Museum 2014
  • Fowler no. 15344 - Tweedledum
  • Fowler no. 15345 - Tweedledee
  • Fowler no. 15347 - Churchill
  • Fowler no. 15348 - fitted with McLaren Diesel engine
  • Fowler no. 15349 - Samson - fitted with McLaren Diesel engine
  • Fowler no. 15354
  • Fowler no. 15355
  • Fowler no. 15356
  • Fowler no. 15357
  • Fowler no. 15362 - Lion
  • Fowler no. 15363 - Tiger
  • Fowler no. 15364 - Windsor - Caude Jessett Collection
  • Fowler no. 15365 - Sandringham - Claude Jessett Collection
  • Fowler no. 15405 - Sam Hird
  • Fowler no. 15409 -
  • Fowler no. 15412 - Progress
  • Fowler no. 15413 - Success
  • Fowler no. 15416
  • Fowler no. 15417 - Black Prince
  • Fowler no. 15420 - Sir John
  • Fowler no. 15421 - Sir Johns Lady
  • Fowler no. 15422
  • Fowler no. 15423
  • Fowler no. 15426 - Pathfinder
  • Fowler no. 15427 - Black Prince
  • Fowler no. 15428 - Unrestored at Leeds Industrial Museum
  • Fowler no. 15429 - Restored at Leeds Industrial Museum
  • Fowler no. 15430 - Victory
  • Fowler no. 15436 - Princess Mary
  • Fowler no. 15441 - Tiger
  • Fowler no. 15442 - Lion - Under restoration
  • Fowler no. 15451 - Victory
  • Fowler no. 15452 - Dreadnought
  • Fowler no. 15453 - Saucy Sue
  • Fowler no. 15454 - Bonzer Tom
  • Fowler no. 15509 - Warrior
  • Fowler no. 15510 - Warspite
  • Fowler no. 15516 - Ruth
  • Fowler no. 15517 - Hilary
  • Fowler no. 15529 -
  • Fowler no. 15663 - Wayfarer
  • Fowler no. 15664 - Wanderer
  • Fowler no. 15565
  • Fowler no. 15669 - From Africa
  • Fowler no. 15670 - From Africa
  • Fowler no. 15672 - From Africa
  • Fowler no. 15673- From Africa
  • Fowler no. 16053 - John - at Museum of Lincolnshire Life
  • Fowler no. 16054 - Michael - at Museum of Lincolnshire Life
  • Fowler no. 16063
  • Fowler no. 16064
  • Fowler no. 16646 - Jack of Hearts
  • Fowler no. 17756 - at Nottingham Industrial Museum
  • Fowler no. 17757 - at Nottingham Industrial Museum
  • Garrett no. 33180 - The Suffolk Punch - Direct ploughing engine - in Garrett Museum
  • Garrett UI ploughing engine - (listed in TER 2012)
  • Heuke UI ploughing engine - (listed in TER 2012)
  • Howard no. 110 - The Farmers Engine
  • Kemna no. 338 - Berlin - Berlin
  • Kemna UI Ploughing engine - Zeven
  • MAN - Ploughing engine (parts only)[3]
  • McLaren no. 1541 - Avis
  • McLaren no. 1552 - Hero
  • Ottermeyer Zeven - At Preston Services till 2009
  • Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies no. 24423 -
  • Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies no. 25781 - Direct Ploughing Engine at Preston Services
  • Ruston, Proctor UI Ploughing engine - (listed in TER 2012)
  • Ruston & Hornsby no. 125138 - Direct ploughing
  • Ruston & Hornsby no. 128183 - Direct ploughing - at Preston Services


Template:Ploughing engine list

See also

References

Web Links


Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Traction engine. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons by Attribution License and/or GNU Free Documentation License. Please check page history for when the original article was copied to Wikia


  1. TER 2012
  2. TER 2012
  3. TER 2013, p55
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