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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alpacca Fortyfive View Post


    I believe that Caterpiller bought their track design from Hornsby, who produced IC (top) and steam "chain tractor" prototypes.

    I need to look up the name of the guy in England who modelled the steam version. I'm told the original was used for a short while to haul coal to the Yukon.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=In3N54bfuhE

    Keith
    The chap's name is Steve Baldock, contact can be made via a company called 'Steam Traction World' as he is one of the owners. http://www.steamtractionworld.com/
    Last edited by CCKW353A1; 01-15-2010 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Added web address.

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    The down-sized replica Hornsby steam crawler was featured in this thread:

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb/showthread.php/new-old-iron-dorset-111914.html?t=111914


    Its worth noting that Richard Hornsby & Sons (established 1815) was an early user of the internal combustion engine, they were manufacturers of the very successful Hornsby-Akroyd oil engine (since 1891). By the turn of the century they were totally committed to the oil engine, and so sold off their boiler works (unsure of date c.1905). Their first crawlers were therefore oil engined, and so when the "Yukon" machine was ordered (1909?), they got the boiler and steam engine made by Fosters (a familiar name to those with an interest in the invention of the Tank during WW1).

    The "Yukon" machine interests me, I think the surviving parts are now back in the UK for restoration, but I haven't been able to confirm this. I would not be at all surprised to see this machine re-appear in complete form one day, here's hoping.

    The British Army trialled several Hornsby oil-engined chain-tracked machines around 1907 (perhaps earlier), one of these machines (the "Little Caterpillar") survives at the Tank Museum, Bovington, UK.

    I have yet to find a good account of these Hornsby machines, including the Hornsby oil-engined tractors from the 1890's onwards. (Also very interesting machines, a few survive including a couple in Australia) Some of the crawler photos show single cylinder horizontal engines, but the army machines mention six-cylinder vertical engines.

    Can anyone can recommend a good account of the evolution of these Hornsby machines?


    I have a brief and not totally clear account of the army machines in Moving the Guns: The Mechanisation of the Royal Artillery 1854-1939 by Philip Ventham and David Fletcher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8D-132 View Post
    There was a Ruston undercarriage dug out of the Muskeg here in the last year or two and was being displayed a group or a Museum in BC that had been a steamer.
    Hornsby experimented with putting this undercarriage on cars, also built steam and several different engine designs with similar undercarriage.
    I believe that Holt bought out the rights to Hornsby!
    1913.
    8D-132,

    I wonder if you have any more info on this machine. Not sure what the Muskeg is!? Is this a different machine from the well-known Hornsby steamer under carriage which survived in BC?
    Thanks for any help.

    --------------

    BTW, in case anyone is confused... Ruston Proctor Ltd and Richard Hornsby & Sons were separate, long-established companies, who united in 1918 to become Ruston & Hornsby Ltd.

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    Peter S. From the sounds of it I think they are the one and same Ruston undercarriage.
    I have seen only one mention of it and a picture that it survived. So it is being restored then ???
    Muskeg - Acidic Bog. kind of a northern slang seems to be prevalent in the northern Territories and Alaska.

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    Default Hornsby Crawler

    See: http://hornsbycrawler.org/ for more information about the Hornsby Crawler. It was abandoned on a beach on Vancouver Island, near Point McNeil. The boiler was removed by the logging company that bought it, and used to heat a building. The chassis was rescued by some locals, who used it as a gate guard for a golf course. I have heard that the boiler (with attached engine block) was buried under a sports field near Point McNeil when it was no longer needed.

    I have researched this machine in the Yukon archives in Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon Territory, and as far as I can tell, this machine was never used in the Yukon. It appears to have spent it's entire life in the Yukon Territory sitting on the banks of the Yukon River in Dawson City. I did manage to find some unpublished misfiled photographs of the crawler while it was in the Yukon, but I do not have permission from the archive to publish them.

    I do not know the present status of the machine.

    I contend that the only reason Holt purchased the Roberts (Hornsby) patent was for legal reasons. He was in a vicious legal battle with the Bests at the time, and both sides were buying the rights to any relevant patents to assist in their legal battles. I can not see where any part of the Roberts patent was used by Holt in their crawlers. Not even close.

    Robert Grauman

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthBendModel34 View Post
    Holt? Best? Hornsby?

    BAH! HUMBUG! The first U.S. patent on a tracked vehicle was held by LOMBARD.
    See: http://www.google.com/patents?id=UcJ...age&q=&f=false for Miller's 1859 patent for "Locomotive Machine for Propelling Plows, &c"

    also: http://www.google.com/patents?id=U2N...age&q=&f=false for Batter's 1888 patent for a "Traction Engine"
    (I'm not sure how well that hexagonal drive sprocket would work.) His inner roller track certainly foreshadowed Lombard's track arrangement, though.

    also: http://www.google.com/patents?id=bV1...age&q=&f=false for Stratton's 1893 patent for a "Traction Engine"

    There are others. Not to mention this one: http://translate.google.ca/translate...n&hl=&ie=UTF-8 (Note: this is a Russian language site, translated by Google. Kind of rough, but you can get the idea.)


    Lombard fought a long litigation with Caterpillar. Caterpillar outlived him.
    Benjamin Holt born 1849 died 1920
    Alvin Lombard born 1856 died 1937
    I believe that Holt out lawyered Lombard.

    Notice that the machine looks sort of like a cross between a saddle-tank switching locomotive and a bulldozer, with some snowmobile bloodline thrown in. (The steerable skis on the front.) Actual contruction of the beast was subcontracted to the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
    References, please. I believe you, but I have not previously read that Baldwin built Lombards.

    P.S. This thread is emphatically not off topic. If the machines being discussed are not "Antique Machinery", then what is ???
    Thank you for that. I was not sure.

    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-16-2010 at 01:53 AM. Reason: Add Miller's 1859 patent.

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    Default Lombard Log Hauler

    Quote Originally Posted by 5thwheel View Post

    the first Lombards were screw driven that is they had long bullet shaped tubes on each side with auger blades on them.
    References, please. James and Ira Peavey of Bangor, Maine, built an auger type log hauler in the 1890's, I understand, but I did not know that Lombard was involved with a machine of this type.

    See page 2 of: http://files.asme.org/ASMEORG/Commun...marks/5587.pdf

    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-16-2010 at 01:47 AM. Reason: Re-word first sentence to clarify intent.

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    Hey RVannatta, if you're from the Vannatta family that has the forestry and logging website, I want to let you know that's a great site! Love the old logging dozers and other old photos.

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    Robert:

    My reference for stating that Baldwin built at least one of the Lombards is a personal recollection that the Lombard in the Patten Lumberman's Museum, which I have seen in person, has a Baldwin builder's plate on the boiler. This could mean that Baldwin built only the boiler.

    Since I saw this in 1986, and it's now 2010, you'd best contact the Patten Lumberman's Museum to confirm it before you go citing this as a primary source !

    My late mother was from Patten. As a girl, she caught rides on Lombards. I did not visit the museum until after she was gone - as I stood by the machine, I wondered if the was the same one she rode all those years ago.

    In addition to the steam Lombard, the Patten Lumberman's Museum has a late gasolene-powered Lombard which is very truck-like. Tracks on the back, skis on the front. The machine could be switched to wheels on the front. The engine is an old style, of course. My memory is vague on this, but the cylinders were either indivdual or in pairs on a separate crankcase.

    The Patten Lumberman's Museum also has a big early Caterpillar dozer fitted with a very impressive wedge-type snowplow. Also on hand is a steam engine with a very old style electrical generator with open spools of wire as its coils !

    Well worth a visit.

    John Ruth

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    Peter,
    The little bit I have read about Ackroyd's was in Ricardo's biography, talking about his cooperation with them to design a tank engine to replace the sleeve valve 100hp Daimler engine.

    I seem to remember you having a copy? my copy is in storage in the UK at present

    Apparently the Daimler's revolving sleeve valves required a large working clearence to avoid seizing, and this resulted in lots of oil finding its way into the exhaust at idle. This blew out as a large white cloud when the engine was revved, providing an ideal marker for the opposing sides artilliery surveyors to pick up.

    John and Robert,
    Excellent info!

    Keith

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    Default Ruston Book

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter S View Post

    I have yet to find a good account of these Hornsby machines, including the Hornsby oil-engined tractors from the 1890's onwards. (Also very interesting machines, a few survive including a couple in Australia) Some of the crawler photos show single cylinder horizontal engines, but the army machines mention six-cylinder vertical engines.

    Can anyone can recommend a good account of the evolution of these Hornsby machines?

    In your travels you may encounter a book titled "One Hundred Years of Good Company" by Bernard Newman. "Published on the occasion of the Ruston Centenary, 1857 - 1957", so I assume that it was sponsored to some degree by Rustons. I can not recommend this book, unless you can obtain it at very low cost. It is written more as a novel than as a history, although some historical details of the company are included. There are some photographs, including one of the Hornsby crawler, a portrait of Dr. Roberts, and of course, portraits of several generations of Rustons.

    Robert Grauman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Grauman View Post
    In your travels you may encounter a book titled "One Hundred Years of Good Company" by Bernard Newman. Robert Grauman
    Robert,

    Thanks for that! - This has been on my list of "books to read" for some time, and very kindly Asquith sent me a copy just recently!! It is company sponsored, an enjoyable read.....but still leaves plenty of room for a more detailed and particularly, technical account.

    The most excellent book Lincoln's Excavators - The Ruston Years 1875-1930 by Peter Robinson (featured elsewhere in this forum) has a photo of the "Yukon" machine and the Rochet-Schneider vehicle, and some brief explanation, but really only in passing regarding the pre-history of crawlwer tracks for excavators. This author points out that the idea of self-laying tracks goes back as far as Leonardo de Vinci - is there anything this man didn't think of?!

    BTW, Peter Robinson says that Bucyrus first used crawler tracks on their excavators in 1911-12.
    Last edited by Peter S; 01-18-2010 at 04:11 AM.

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    Robert Grauman, Thank you for the link to the Hornsby this is the same one I did see an article about some time ago, but was mentioned in that article of being dug from the muskeg??? not from a beach on Vancouver island! And I have to say if it had been a beach it would have looked a hell of lot worse than this! I have seen machines that come from off the coast range and they were not in this nice of shape.

  14. #34
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    Default Hornsby Crawler Muskeg Reference

    Quote Originally Posted by 8D-132 View Post
    Robert Grauman, Thank you for the link to the Hornsby this is the same one I did see an article about some time ago, but was mentioned in that article of being dug from the muskeg??? not from a beach on Vancouver island! And I have to say if it had been a beach it would have looked a hell of lot worse than this! I have seen machines that come from off the coast range and they were not in this nice of shape.
    Perhaps if I give a timeline for the Hornsby steam crawler that I can verify, it will help with the muskeg issue.

    19 August 1910 Dawson Daily News - NEW TRAFFIC PLAN ADOPTED IN YUKON

    "A departure in Yukon transportation has been undertaken by the Northern Light, Power & Coal Company. It will operate a traction engine during the coming winter over a land and water route between Dawson and the company's mines on Coal Creek."

    "The machine has arrived here in knock-down condition from London, England and is being conveyed to the bunkers in the north end, where it will be assembled."

    "The huge tractor will weigh all told when assembled 25 tons. [Other figures give a weight of 40 tons - rjg] General Manager Thruston says that it will be able to haul several heavily laden cars or sleighs and to make four and a half miles an hour on the average when hauling 80 tons of material on the level either on ice or on the ground. On grades it will be able, he says, to draw 35 tons at the rate of four and a half miles an hour. Mr. Thruston says: "The machine can be geared to go seven and a half miles an hour. Under ordinary conditions it will work on grades of 16 2-3 percent and under pressure can be made to ascend a grade of 35 per cent when not drawing a load. If extra heavy grades are encountered, the tractor can climb a hill alone and from the top wind up the line and draw the other loads up one at a time."

    "The motive power is steam, which is generated with wood or coal fires. One man to drive the machine and one to fire and attend the cars is all necessary to operate the train. The machine has 100 hp. It is known as the Hornsby Chain tractor."

    "We intend to haul coal from our properties at Coal Creek to Dawson with the tractor and trailers this winter, and to give whatever service we find necessary. We have a good route for the machine from the coal properties right through to Dawson, which, with a little work will be all desired. Much of the course will be along the route followed by the pole line, and possibly we shall follow the line all the way through to Dawson."
    ---------------------------------
    14 January 1915 - Agreement between The Northern Light, Power & Coal Co. Ltd., and the Canadian Klondyke Power Co. Ltd. The Canadian Klondyke Power Co, will take over the provision of electrical power to all of the Northern Light, Power & Coal customers. Northern Light & Power was essentially bankrupt. No mention was made of the assets of Northern Light & Power. The only representative of Northern Light & Power was a local lawyer. It was stated that "the directors of the said Northern Light Power & Coal Co. Ltd., are all at present residing in England"

    The Northern Light, Power & Coal Co., Ltd., were the original purchaser of the Hornsby crawler. The Canadian Klondyke Power Co., was a part of the conglomerate gold dredging company headed by legendary Klondyke figure, Joe Boyle. He built a hydro electric power plant a few miles from Dawson City to generate power for his dredges, and was able to provide abundant, cheap electrical power to Dawson City.
    -----------------------------
    Dawson Daily News 12 June 1918 - "H. P. Bradford, in charge of the removal of the plant of the old Northern Light concern at Coal Creek, is in town for the first time since winter. He reports all material which is considered worth shipping out of the country now transferred to the landing, and comprise about seven shiploads. Some material not worth shipping outside is being left at the landing and some at the mine. The last act is taking up the rails as the last cars move in, and the work is under way. The freight will be shipped by way of St. Michael to a Pacific coast port."

    "......The company's large tractor, which was in storage here, was placed aboard a barge on the Dawson front yesterday, and is ready to leave." [I have photographs of this operation from the archives in Whitehorse, where they had been misfiled - rjg]
    ------------------------------
    Dawson Daily News 27 August 1918 - "The following from the Vancouver Province tells of the arrival of some of the Northern Light equipment on the coast:
    SEATTLE, Aug. 8.--En route from the famous Klondike to the gold fields of South Africa, a shipment of 800 tons of machinery has arrived in Seattle and will soon be on its way to the Dark Continent."

    "The machinery is from Coal Creek, sixty miles below Dawson, where it was operated by the Northern Light & Power company in supplying power for coal mines and electricity for dredging companies in the Klondike district."

    "When the larger mining companies installed their own power plants, the Northern Light & Power company lost its business and soon was forced to close down. For some time, however, it furnished light for the City of Dawson. The plant was closed down five years before it was dismantled, and now a part of the machinery has been purchased by the Consolidated Gold Fields Company, Limited, for use in its great property in South Africa. Four hundred tons of the equipment was bought recently by Japanese interests and shipped to the Orient."

    "The plant was installed in the Klondike in 1909-1910 and originally cost approximately $3,000,000. When the Northern Light & Power company, a British concern, failed, and was placed in the hands of a receiver, the machinery was sold for the benefit of the creditors."
    ---------------------------------
    At some point, the Hornsby crawler ended up in the possesion of former Yukon gold miner, and it sat in New Westminster, British Columbia (on the mainland) for a period of time. I have heard dates around 1927 mentioned, and it stood there unsold for many years. It's next move was to Vancouver Island where it became the property of a logger who was going to use it to haul cordwood for the Port Alice pulp mill. He found that it burned more wood than it hauled. It was abandoned and the boiler ripped out and used to heat a workers bunkhouse. The bunkhouse burned down, and the boiler and other debris was buried in a sports field at Port McNeil (I mistakenly wrote Point McNeil in a previous posting).

    In the early 1980's, a team lead by Ray Hooley, a Lincoln, England, based industrial historian, with backing from the British Columbia Provincial Government Transportation Department and the British Museum began to negotiate with interested parties to restore the crawler, but the Canadian National Museum Service forbade it.

    From a sign on the rustic shelter where the track assembly was on display from 1987 to 2005.

    "It was abandoned near Apple Bay on Holberg Inlet. In 1976, the North Island Heritage Society designated the resting place a heritage site. In 1983, the tractor was moved to the barge ramp at Stephens Bay near Coal Harbour, as a first step to putting it on public display. And in 1987, the steam crawler was transported by volunteers to its present display site here at Seven Hills Golf Course, where it will remain a monument to Canadian heritage."

    4 August 2005 - The crawler was removed from it's shelter, and put on display at the Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) 2005 show at Wetaskiwin, Alberta. See:
    http://hornsbycrawler.org/index.php/Main/Gallery1

    At the end of the show, it was removed, and I do not know it's present location, but it was not returned to its shelter at the Seven Hills Golf Course.

    As I see it, the only point at which it can have been abandoned in a muskeg was near Apple Bay on Holberg Inlet. I have not personally visited this site, but Bill Graham, the man behind getting the crawler to the HCEA 2005 show flew there in a helicopter in August 2005. The visit was recorded, and you can see video footage of the area on the show DVD which I have in my possession. Unfortunately, it appears that this DVD is no longer available from HCEA. It does not appear to me that there is much in the way of muskeg in the area.

    In 2008, an acquaintance and his friend (and a dog named "Farley") walked to the site, in search of the wagons that were with the crawler when it was abandoned. He found the remains of a large wagon on the surface, near where the crawler had been abandoned. He did not mention muskeg. I have the GPS co-ordinates, but I will not release them in a public forum, for there are still artifacts, both on the surface and buried, at the site.

    I would be very interested in further details on your muskeg reference, please.

    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-19-2010 at 11:15 AM. Reason: Clarify HCEA reference and present location

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    Default The Ruston Years

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter S View Post

    The most excellent book Lincoln's Excavators - The Ruston Years 1875-1930 by Peter Robinson (featured elsewhere in this forum) has a photo of the "Yukon" machine and the Rochet-Schneider vehicle, and some brief explanation, but really only in passing regarding the pre-history of crawlwer tracks for excavators. This author points out that the idea of self-laying tracks goes back as far as Leonardo de Vinci - is there anything this man didn't think of?!

    BTW, Peter Robinson says that Bucyrus first used crawler tracks on their excavators in 1911-12.
    Thank you. I will put this book on my "want" list.

    Robert Grauman

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asquith View Post

    One problem was that the track system was more suited to fast-moving tanks than bulldozers!

    Marshall/Fowler were reasonably successful:-

    http://tractors.wikia.com/wiki/Track_Marshall

    Some Caterpillar machines were built in the UK. I think Euclid and International also made dozers in the UK, some with Rolls-Royce engines, IIRC.
    I believe there were a lot of problems with the Vickers...General overall weakness was the major problem along with other things like chronic overheating of the engine in countries hotter then the UK and they were supposed to be real bastards to work on...

    Cat made machines in Scotland and Inter also had a plant in the UK...The UK made Inter dozers had the prefix B before the model...eg. BTD20.

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    Robert,

    Don’t put the Ruston book on your want list - buy it!
    I have rarely regretted buying appealing books, but have more often regretted not buying them and seeing them offered at ridiculous prices when they’re out of print.

    Peter S showed some extracts here:-
    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb....html?t=113292

    I would recommend everyone to look at the Yukon Hornsby link provided by Robert:-
    http://hornsbycrawler.org/

    Some fascinating photos there, with small details like the diff lock, modifications, arrangements for lubricating the track pins (a major undertaking, and not something you’d relish on a deadly cold day!). Another interesting feature is the provision of cleats on every 4th track pad that could be rotated through 90 degrees to discourage side slip on adverse gradients.

    A truly fascinating machine, which must have consumed vast amounts of drawing office time. No amount of effort could avoid the inherent problem of wayward water level above the firebox, exacerbated by the elliptical arrangement of the tracks, which must have endowed the machine with rocking horse tendencies.

    There’s a 1908 video here showing various Ruston IC-engined tracked vehicles, including the Rochet-Schneider based one. If you don’t watch it all, have a look at the last few minutes showing a tractor rotating in the works yard:-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TGgLrS9Sfs


    Old Glory magazine had a good article by Peter Love entitled ‘Caterpillar - the Early Years’ (2008, Issues 220 & 221). In the context of the Holt 75 WW1 artillery tractors, the ones used by the British Army weren’t necessarily 100% Holt! The article says that 443 of them were assembled by Ruston & Proctor. Evidently it went beyond assembling a kit of parts, as the tractors were fitted with Barford & Perkins 60 HP engines. Barford & Perkins became Perkins.


    Moving to the Vickers crawlers, there was an article about them by Gary Boyd-Hope in ’Classic Plant & Machinery’ July 2006. This covers the chronic overheating problems mentioned by .RC. They didn’t only occur in hot countries! Access for air to the radiator was too restricted, and the radiators were too prone to the effects of dirt. Improvements were gradually made. The final version of the Vigor abandoned the bull-nosed protection on the front in favour of a conventional grille. The article also implies that the engine was something of a thoroughbred, built for power/weight and economy and not for the sort of servicing it was likely to get in the field.

    There were problems with failures in the final drive system, too. Apparently the various problems were sorted, but by that time the machines were too expensive, and there were plenty of new and used alternatives available.

    The suspension system was intended to allow fast (~10 mph) running - when hauling an empty scraper, say - but I don't think it was ideal for all tasks.

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    Default can't let go

    I can't let this thread go without mentioning that Cletrac built the first high drive sprocket arrangement in the 1920's on their "F" series tractor long before Cat. Cletrac also produced a rubber tracked HG model before WW2 again long before anyone else. And the Cletrac differental steering is the pattern for most modern crawlers drives. They like Hornsby and others were just ahead of their time.

    John

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    John,

    I can let that go without re-inserting something that earlier I’d quickly deleted from my post!

    The ‘Old Glory’ article had a photo of the 1913 Best ‘Humpback 30’ featuring high drive sprockets, with the comment that it preceded the Cletrac F. I deleted it when I looked back at page 1 and saw that the machine had already been featured in post #7! The Old Glory article also shows a preserved ‘Humpback 30’ at an unspecified museum.

    A search has identified the museum:-
    http://www.aghistory.org/index.html
    Last edited by Asquith; 01-19-2010 at 08:42 AM. Reason: Museum link added

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    I think that the bottom line is that Holt,while not truly inventing the crawler tractor as has been clearly proven! What he was famous for was a Successful crawler design that he was able to market and able to have the foresight to protect that design the world over.
    Asquith, During WW1 here in the states there were other companies licensed to built Holt 2 1/2 ton, 5ton, and 10 ton artillery tractors for the war effort. Reo,Maxwell,Federal,Interstate and Chandler. Maxwell also built 225 Renault tanks.

    What is the other machine built in your country that has a Holt like appearance? Fowler Gryotiller?

    That Ruston Book sounds very interesting!

    There was another Fowler machine of Historical significance that promoted Caterpillar to push for Diesel engines. Fowler built this tractor with a Benz Diesel this unit was fitted with the cable plow system it had out performed the Caterpillar in the mid to late 20's in a sales demonstration in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, The Gezira Plains. It is something that I have been looking for any reference or pictures of.

    Robert,
    I have met Bill Graham and he is very much a no BS kind of person and I am not surprised that he had the Hornsby moved for the show. Again thank you for the clarification of the Muskeg issue and further info on the Ruston undercarriage.
    Are there any other survivors of the Ruston machines that any one knows of?

    For any one who would like to know more about Holt and Best tractors I would suggest a book called "The Caterpillars Roots" By Jack Alexander.
    It is a very good book it tells the best history of the company and the companies that it dealt with. It is not a Corporate whitewashed history book.


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