9-RB with clam-shell bucket

9 RB fited with clamshell bucket, at VET at Threlkeld 2005

The Ruston-Bucyrus company of Lincoln was created by Ruston & Hornsby of Lincoln, England and Bucyrus-Erie of Ohio, America.


Ruston-Bucyrus No4 face shovel of 1931 at GDSF 08

Ruston-Bucyrus No4 front shovel of 1931 at Great Dorset Steam Fair 2008.jpg

Formed in 1930 by Ruston & Hornsby of Lincoln, England and Bucyrus-Erie of Ohio, America. The Ruston company already had a long history of producing Steam excavators from the earliest machines. Both companies having then moved on to produce the new engine driven machines replacing steam driven ones.

The Beginnings of Steam ExcavatorsEdit

Earliest history to go here e.g. Otis steam excavator patent.

The Ruston Proctor YearsEdit

The Ruston Hornsby YearsEdit

Ruston-Bucyrus Ltd eraEdit

RB110 Excavtor side VET 2007

A Ruston-Bucyrus 110 RB at the VET Museum

Ruston-Bucyrus Ltd was established in 1930 and jointly owned by Ruston and Hornsby based in Lincoln, England and Bucyrus-Erie based in Bucyrus, Ohio, the latter of which had operational control[1] and into which the excavator manufacturing operation of Ruston and Hornsby was transferred. (Rustons then concentrated on engines and other machinery such as rail locomotives). Ruston-Bucyrus fitting Ruston engines to many of there machines.

The Bucyrus-Erie Years

Gradually Universal Excavators designed by Bucyrus-Erie replaced Ruston and Hornsby designed models[1] Ruston-Bucyrus built larger machines for the British market to Bucyrus-Erie designs. The Bucyrus-Monigan 5W was a top seller for export by Ruston-Bucyrus, thus they started building it. This was a walking dragline, with either Diesel or electric powered options.

Split from BucyrusEdit

The UK Firm was split in 1985 into Bucyrus Europe Ltd and RB Lincoln Ltd.

The R-B International eraEdit

In 1985 Ruston Bucyrus was bought by its management, severing all links with Bucyrus-Erie resulting in the formation of R-B Lincoln, which became R-B International, a subsidiary of Lincoln Industries (part of The Heather Corporation Ltd).[1] Production of existing Ruston-Bucyrus designed cable excavator/crane models from the 22RB to the 71RB continued at the Lincoln factory with 'Improved Crane Dragline' versions also offered.

  • From 1985 onwards all new machines carried the 'RB' name instead of 'Ruston-Bucyrus'.
  • In 1987 a new mechanical/hydraulic powered 51-60 model developed from the 38-RB was offered for use as a crane or dragline excavator.[1]
  • In 1990 RB bought from its rival Priestman, the design and manufacturing rights to Priestman's Variable Counterbalance hydraulic/cable long reach excavator range and its extensive range of Grabs.
  • In 1992 RB introduced its CH series of fully hyrdraulic crane/dragline models with further models added in 1999.
  • In 1996 R-B changed ownership in a buy-in management buy out,[3] but in 2000 R-B International entered voluntary administration as a tough trading environment including a strong Pound and stiff competition from overseas competitors meant it could no longer continue as a going concern without a significant injection of capital.[4][5]

RB Cranes eraEdit

Having entered administration on the July 3, 2000[5] and following unsuccessful attempts by Daniel E. Davisto, former president of Favelle Favco to buy the company.[6] R-B International was sold on December 22, 2000 to Langley Holdings plc as a going-concern and a new company 'RB Cranes Ltd' was created. A day earlier on December 21, 2000, Langley Holdings plc had acquired the material-handling division of Rolls-Royce PLC which became the Clarke Chapman Group comprising Cowans Sheldon, RB Cranes, Stothert & Pitt, Wellman Booth as its principal subsidiary companies.

  • In January 2001 Clarke Chapman ceased production at RB's Lincoln works with production transferred to facilities in Retford and Gainsborough.

Following a rationalisation of the RB product line, as of 2008 RB continue to offer the CH40, CH50, CH70, CH80, CH100, CH135 and CH135LJ Hydraulic Crawler Cranes as well as specialist variants for Dockside usage[7][8] RB also offer the CH E (Series CH50E & CH70E) for dragline and clamshell grab applications [9] and the CH HD (Heavy Duty) (Series CH50D & CH70D) for adaption for piling and foundation engineering applications e.g. as a piling rig.[9]

RB continued to offer four models of Variable Counter-balance hydraulic long reach excavators, the VC20-15, VC20-17,VC20-20 and VC20-22 [10] and also continued to offer the RB Priestman range of grabs for excavation and material rehandling applications.[11]

More changeEdit

On October 14, 2009 the business RB Cranes was sold by Langley Holdings plc to Delden CSE Limited, the business has been moved to Delden CSE's pemises in Selston, Nottinghamshire.[12][citation (source) needed]

Other Ruston-Bucyrus ProductsEdit

In 1934 they started building Rock (blast) hole drilling rigs for use in quarries, opencast sites and Civil engineering applications. Thes could drill from 4" up to 12" Dia. holes and down to 700 ft.

In 1937 they started making Bulldozer gear to fit to International Crawler tractors, as was supplied in American by Bucyrus-Erie.

In 1938 they introduced a range of towed scrapers to complement the Bulldozers. These were again based on B-E designs.

Model Range ListingEdit


RB ModelsEdit

Blast hole DrillsEdit

RB Bulldozers and scrapersEdit

  • RB S-46 5 cu yd
  • RB S-68 6 cu yd
  • RB S-91 8 Cu yd
  • RB S-152 10 cu yd

RB Hydraulic MachinesEdit

RB excavator at AB WD 2013 - IMG 7680

RB Hydraulic excavator

Ex Priestman/Sanderson long reach models aquired in 1990

Preserved MachinesEdit

There are quite a number of machines preserved in the UK, several in museums. Others in private collections, some of which have been restored to working order.

Ruston Proctor Steam Navvy No 306Edit

This machine was originally used at a chalk pit at Arlesey, in Bedfordshire, England. After the pit was closed, the steam navvy was simply abandoned and 'lost' as the pit became flooded with water. By the mid-1970s, the area had become a local beauty spot, known as The Blue Lagoon (from chemicals from the quarry colouring the water), and after long periods of no rainfall, the top of the rusty navvy could be seen protruding from the water. Ruston & Hornsby expert Ray Hooley got to hear of its existence, and organised the difficult task of rescuing it from the water-filled pit. Ray arranged for its complete restoration to working order by apprentices at the Ruston-Bucyrus works. Subsequently it passed into the care of "The Museum of Lincoln Life", although it is not known whether it remains in operational condition.
From wikipedia entry on steam excavators:

Other Preserved MachinesEdit

VET CollectionEdit

The Vintage Excavator Trust (VET) has a collection of RB machines in various states of restoration at there site in Threkeld in Cumbria.

  • 110-RB Face shovel from a Lancashire quarry.
  • 38-RB Face shovel
  • 38-RB Dragline /Crane
  • 22-RB
  • 10-RB

As well as a NCK-Rapier 605 face shovel

A selection of machines belonging to other people are also stored on site;

  • Ruston-Bucyrus 21-B from 1935
  • 10-RB fitted with grab
  • 10-RB Shimmer
  • 20-RB
SEDavis 30RB

some of the SE Davis collection, 38RB, 30RB, ? , 10RB

S.E. Davis & Son Ltd. of Astwood Bank, Redditch. has a large collection of plant, which include several RB's as well as Caterpillar, Allen, Vickers, International, Cletrac, Bristol, JCB and may other makes, as well as Steam Engines, & Tractors.

  • 38-RB Unrestored
  • 30-RB of 1966 fitted with Face Shovel gear (Full repaint) was Displayed at SED 2007
  • ?-RB Face shovel
  • 10-RB of 1945 with Lincoln Cab
  • Several Dragline as well as other makes,inc. Priestman, and NCK Rapier

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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