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  1. #41
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    Not a crawler tractor, but this 1879 curiosity might be of historical interest.

    Easily moved by manpower, apparently. Not so easily steered, presumably.
    Last edited by Asquith; 01-19-2010 at 04:49 PM.

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    8D-132, or may I call you 8?

    Clayton & Shuttleworth of Lincoln, neighbours of Ruston, made a crawler in 1917 that was somewhat Holt-like. I’ll find a picture.

    Regarding the Fowlers that you mentioned, in the late 1970s I used to drive past a yard that was packed with Fowler BB ploughing engines, and some of them had been converted by fitting McLaren-Benz engines on top of the boiler. Very ungainly-looking.

    A photo:-
    http://www.bseps.org.uk/scf2k6/n-scf..._mw01-370.html

    The yard’s owner told me that they still used some of the steam ploughing engines. IIRC they were mainly used at that time for dredging.

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    Here’s the 1916 Clayton & Shuttleworth tractor. Specified by the Govt in June 1916, first example delivered 4½ months later.
    6-cylinder OHV valve petrol engine by National Gas Engine Co (Manchester).

    Source: ‘The Engineer’ 6 April 1917.

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    Default Hornsby Crawler Wagon

    It has occurred to me that some here may not be aware of the size of the wagons that the Hornsby crawler was to pull.

    There were 8 (I stand to be corrected on this number) of these wagons supplied with the Hornsby. The remains of at least 1 exist somewhere on Vancouver Island near Port McNeil.

    Robert Grauman
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails archives0001.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8D-132 View Post
    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.
    Indeed, that is so. He has a very fine collection of vintage construction equipment, restored to immaculate condition. One can only hope that he is or will be involved in the restoration of the Hornsby crawler.

    Are there any other survivors of the Ruston machines that any one knows of?
    There is one in the Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset. See:
    http://www.tankmuseum.org/ixbin/inde...MENU_=Vehicles
    It has a 6 cylinder petrol engine in it. I hope to visit it in May. I wish that one of the models with the single cylinder oil engine would have been saved.

    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.
    Thank you for the recommendation. Ignoring Asquith's sage advice, I will put it on my wants list. I have already exceeded my book budget for this month by purchasing the books recommended by Peter S. I know I will regret ignoring Asquith at some point.

    Robert Grauman
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails bovington08s.jpg  

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    8D

    Lots of interesting stuff, not enough time....I have a little info on the Sudan trials; however I think it was J. & H. McLaren and not their close neighbours John Fowler & Co. who won the trials in March 1927. McLaren's used both Dorman (petrol) and Benz (diesel, but made by themselves under license) engines.

    Briefly the results of a 10 acre trial were:

    Holt (Paraffin), time taken 5 hours, fuel cost per acre 55.2 pence
    McLaren (paraffin) 3 1/2 hours, 33.6 p per acre
    McLaren (diesel) 3 hours, 6.4 pence per acre.

    (From The History of J&H McLaren of Leeds by John Pease. He doesn't mention any Fowler results).

    This was a huge scheme - 1000 acres ploughed per day. McLaren's supplied many sets of its Motor Windlass (ploughing tackle) to the Sudan. Some were initially petrol engined, but all were converted to diesel. McLaren's manufactured 254 such machines (127 sets) between 1920-47, most went to Sudan, but Java, Holland, Spain and many other countries also. The last 10 were made in 1947 for punt mounting and sent to the West Indies!

    In Old Glory magazine March 2001 there was a letter from a man who visited the Gezira Cotton Board in the Sudan in 1955, he includes photos of a line of five McLaren motor windlasses parked out of use. The work was then being done with Massey Harris 745 tractors with Perkins L4 diesel engines. The electric start batteries did not survive well, the writer records these engines were started by three men and a boy (standard crew) pulling on a rope and 18" pulley in place of a crank handle!

    BTW, a pair of the Sudan McLaren motor windlass were returned to England some time ago (1970's?) and one is restored at the Leeds Industrial Museum (another photo shows one at Armley Mills Museum, Leeds). A remarkable amount of old machinery has found its way back to the UK, in the 1970's many sets of ploughing engines and traction engines were repatriated from Africa, and it continues today.

    McLaren was very successful in NZ with their steam traction engines; there are over 40 survivors here. There were a couple of very large (12nhp, c.1912) McLarens used for direct ploughing here and I suppose they could laugh at tractors at that date, but not for long after.

    Fowler did make I-C engined vehicles of many types, including ploughing sets. From what I have read they tended to use MAN diesel engines, not Benz.

    A great book for Fowler history is The Story of The Steam Plough Works by Michael R Lane. Long out of print, but packed with info on this great company. They must have sent thousands (no exaggeration) of cable ploughing engines throughout the world, not to mention their traction engines, road rollers, locomotives etc. It is not surprising that they ran up against Caterpillar as this new-comer moved into their export markets.

    BTW, Fowler built one or two steam-powered crawler tractors too - e.g. in 1920 a neat looking compound machine fitted with "Roadless" tracks, called the "Snaketrac". (Roadless is a whole story in itself, founded by one of the men, Philip Johnson, vitally involved with the WW1 British tank, and found for many years in the form of half and full track conversions for Ford and other tractors).

    In 1929 Fowler built a (steam) ploughing engine with four crawler tracks, intended as a pair for Java to pull a massive trenching plough in sugar plantations, but apparently not exported. A bad time to be selling machinery.

    You are correct about the Gyrotiller being similar in appearance to the Holt. The first of these machines was actually built in the USA in 1923 by the Megor Car and Wagon Company, New Jersey for its inventor Norman Storey, for use in Puerto Rico and Cuba. Fowlers had many ploughing sets working in Cuba at this time, and they got the exclusive manufacturing license.

    Fowler made their first Gyrotiller in 1927, and in a range of sizes (the smaller versions have tracks only). Some were quite large with Ricardo 225hp petrol engines (as used in later WW1 tanks), but generally with MAN diesel, or Fowlers own diesel in the 1930's. Fowler had their own range of crawler tractors by the 1930's, with the first Fowler-built diesel engined model in 1933. A few of the big Gyrotillers made it to NZ, but it seems none have survived here, but they certainly do in the UK, I have seen one working.

    (A 52 page history: The Fowler Gyrotiller Diesel Rotary Plough Story by Norman Southgate).

    ps. As Caterpillar discovered, developing a reliable diesel engine was not easy, and I read that both the MAN and Fowler diesel engines gave trouble.

    Edit: I just had a look in Caterpillar by Randy Leffingwell (a nice book), maybe that's where 8D read about the Sudan trial between Caterpillar and the English ploughing engines, recounted by an old Holt employee. The story is probably basically true, but the details are a bit mixed up, for example he says "G.J. Fowler from St. Ives" (should be John Fowler & Co, Leeds I think) and his description of the cable ploughing system is muddled. So he may have mixed up McLaren and Fowler in this story. No doubt Caterpillar, Fowler, McLaren and others were rivals in many trials, not just cultivation but earthmoving, dredging etc.

    A great subject, lets hear more please Subjects like this can have so many different and interesting parts, e.g. how a ploughing trial in North Africa might have spurred on Caterpillar to develop their own diesel engine.
    Last edited by Peter S; 01-20-2010 at 04:50 AM. Reason: additions, corrections...

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    Quote Originally Posted by john holcomb View Post
    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
    John,

    I am curious about differential steering, can you expand on it, e.g. are you excluding Cat?

    I was under the impression that Cat and I think Allis amongst others used fixed drive with clutch and brake for each track, but not sure about their larger sizes, and I know nothing about the latest Cats.

    I recall having to remove an Allis HD5 steering clutch unit by myself on the side of a hill, it was surprisingly easy. I seem to recall the bush canopy was handy for hanging a fence wire strainer to lift the steering unit out of its pit. Not like our John Deere on which you had to break the track (master pin in the wrong place?) and dismantle the side in question. But these were little bulldozers, I don't know about big stuff.

    I did read a test recently of a diesel-electric D7, and I was interested to see it didn't have high drive tracks either.

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    Peter, Yes I found that bit of info on the Sudan trials in Randy Leffingwells book the origins as mentioned there is a excerpt from the Hal Higgins notes which are filed away at the UC of Davis library to which I would like to spend some time investigating further.
    In these notes there is information on the engineers who developed Caterpillars first diesel. This being the D9900 which is what the pictures are of what I am posting.
    With the exception of Cletrac which used planetary steering most of the older manufactures used a steering clutch and brake to steer with. Best at first was using a differential steering he abandoned it for the conventional clutch and brake. It would most interesting to see a parts book or drawing of the Hornsby steering.
    This major bit of info is what we have been looking for! Is The History of J&H McLaren of Leeds still in print? My Book list has increased tremendously since this post started, Thank you!

    Asquith, Great pictures and info on the Clayton & Shuttleworth tractor I have only ever seen mention of the 35 HP conventional looking Clayton crawler built in late teens or early 20's. So that is a McLaren Benz engine on the refitted steamer Yes that is a ungainly looking outfit must have been fun sitting up there crossing bridges and such????
    You can call me whatever you want. The 8D-132 is a serial number to my avator a Caterpillar Gas Seventy that I own. I use this on all the discussion boards I frequent.
    That man powered crawler would take some good healthy men to make that all come to time.

    Robert, That picture of the trailer does put some perspective on the size and power of the Hornsby. Safe trip across the pond, If you time it right you may be able to see one of the Open days or tractors shows while you are there. I have a friend in Essex who does this later in the Summer. He also has two of the Vickers tractors and a large collection of IHC crawlers and Caterpillars Thanks for the pictures and info on the other Hornsby.

    The Caterpillar high track is a mixed subject! And for me I can only relate to fact that I run a track press off and on for the last 20 years and one does not turn pins and bushing or do track repairs on these machines without major headaches and we avoid doing them. if they have dry links their life expectancy is part of a day and they will burn through and fail breaking the track, This problem of a dry link on conventional track machine is not such a serious problem.
    There are people who swear by the high track and those who hate them. From what I have seen they are hard on undercarriage components so it did not surprise me that the new electric machine had a more conventional track. I am sure that I will come under the gun for my view so be it!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_4340.jpg   100_4341.jpg  
    Last edited by 8D-132; 01-20-2010 at 05:59 PM.

  9. #49
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    Default Hornsby Crawler Steering

    Quote Originally Posted by 8D-132 View Post
    It would most interesting to see a parts book or drawing of the Hornsby steering.
    This major bit of info is what we have been looking for!
    I don't have a parts book, but I have some photographs. The Hornsby steam crawler used a rudimentary differential/braking system for steering. There were large brake drums on each drive sprocket, with a brake band wrapped around each. A cross shaft with bell cranks at each end tightened the brake band on one side while relaxing it on the other. There was an adjustment link to take up the slack on the right hand side (from the front) brake band. [Corrected on edit]: The bar marked "Steering Link" on the first two photographs is a link to a third bell crank on the steering brake cross shaft. The steering link is operated by the steering box on the footplate.



    This is a view of the Hornsby steam crawler looking rearward.




    This is a view of the right side of the machine.




    This is a very poor drawing showing some of the steering linkage.




    This is a view of the left side of the machine showing the other bellcrank.




    This is a cross section of the rear axle of the crawler. "J" and "K" are the brake drums in question. "G" is a winch drum of the type sometimes found on English traction engines.

    My Book list has increased tremendously since this post started, Thank you!
    Mine, too!!

    Robert, That picture of the trailer does put some perspective on the size and power of the Hornsby.
    Yes, and one must remember that it was to pull 5 to 8 of these wagons, fully loaded. I don't think so.

    Safe trip across the pond, If you time it right you may be able to see one of the Open days or tractors shows while you are there. I have a friend in Essex who does this later in the Summer. He also has two of the Vickers tractors and a large collection of IHC crawlers and Caterpillars Thanks for the pictures and info on the other Hornsby.
    Thank you for your wishes. I won't be spending much time in England, but will be travelling further east and south.

    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-21-2010 at 03:48 AM. Reason: Correct steering linkage description. Add drawing.

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    To add to Robert's photos and drawing of the Hornsby crawler, here are a couple of pages that go with the drawing. The text explains the parts on the drawing.







    Taken from a very nice book, The Story of The Wellington Foundry, Lincoln: A History of William Foster & Co Ltd. by Michael R Lane. This is the company that built the boiler and engine for the Hornsby crawler (remember Hornsby had stopped making boilers and steam engines in 1904).

    Any book by this author is excellent, Mr Lane has written company histories of Fowler's, Burrell's, Marshall's, Foster's and W H Allen.



    Here is a photo of one of the Hornsby crawlers tested by the British Army. I am not sure which one this is, the author says Hornsby built 6 crawlers and sold 4 of them (probably includes the steam driven model). This is from The British Tanks 1915-19 by David Fletcher, this book is not intended as a technical account of tanks, but has some background history of armoured vehicles, tracks etc as well as the story of tank development during the war. Mr Fletcher is the librarian at the Tank Museum at Bovington where one of these machines survives (as linked in Roberts earlier post).


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    Here's a track conversion I bet few here have seen.










    A video of it in operation - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6u4ptksD1s
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails track02.jpg   track03.jpg   track04.jpg  

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    Default Hornsby Crawler

    Thanks to Peter S. for providing the text for the drawing in my posting. This drawing appears in a couple of books, but the pages from the book by Lane that Peter S. posted provides the details. A similar drawing also appears in one of Dr. Roberts patent documents, and if you can read patentese, it also provides an explanation of the operation. See:

    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP

    Perhaps this is the place to list the patents I have found for the Hornsby crawler. The following all listed Dr. Roberts as the inventor, often with a co-inventor.

    {As a reference point, Alvin Lombard received his landmark US patent 674737 for a "Logging Engine" on 21 May 1901
    http://www.google.com/patents/about?...674737&num=100 }

    The first relevant patent for the Hornsby crawler I have found is this one from 1904:

    Patent GB 1904 16345
    "Improvements in or connected with Road Locomotives and Vehicles"
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    I believe this to be the original patent for the crawler system invented by Dr. Roberts. The steering brakes are shown in this patent, but it is difficult to follow the operation, in my opinion.

    Patent GB 1905 23736
    "Improvements in or connected with Road Locomotives and Vehicles"
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    A method of steering by controlling the differential.

    Patent GB 1906 3448
    "Improvements in Portable or Self-laid Tracks for Road Locomotives and other Road Vehicles"
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Improvements to the track chain.

    Patent GB 1907 19574
    "Improvements in or connected with the Steering of Road Locomotives and Vehicles."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Air brakes for steering.

    {As a reference, Benjamin Holt received his landmark US patent 874008 for a "Traction Engine" on 17 December 1907
    http://www.google.com/patents/about?...s=1910&num=100 }

    Patent GB 1908 4862
    "Improvements in Portable or Self-laid Tracks for Road Locomotives and other like Vehicles."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Improvements to the track chain.

    Patent GB 1908 4863
    "Improvements in or connected with Road Locomotives and like Vehicles."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Improvements to the track idlers.

    Patent GB 1908 10305
    "Improvements in Brakes for use on Road Locomotives and other Vehicles."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Parking brake for crawler.

    Patent GB 1908 10306
    "Improvements in or connected with Road Locomotives."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Three point suspension of main frame.

    Patent GB 1908 16117
    "Improvements in and connected with Self-laid Tracks for Road Locomotives and other like Vehicles."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Improvements to the track chain.

    The next patent in sequence was the first one listed above.
    Patent GB 1909 16436
    "Improvements in and connected with the Driving Axles of Chain Track Tractors and Locomotives."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    Drive axle details.

    Patent GB 1909 17385
    "Improvements in Brakes for use on Road Locomotives and other Vehicles."
    http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationD...C&locale=en_EP
    More improvements to the parking brake described in Patent GB 1908 10305

    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-21-2010 at 09:58 AM. Reason: Add Lombard and Holt patents

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter S View Post
    ....... the Tank Museum at Bovington where one of these machines survives (as linked in Roberts earlier post).

    I found a detail on the crawler in the posting by Peter S. interesting. The lamps mounted low on the radiator appear to be some type of oil lamp.



    The crawler in Bovington also seems to have some type of partial canvas cab for the driver as well, and, if I'm not mistaken, a bell.



    The steam crawler bound for the Yukon was fitted with a cab and a pair of acetylene lamps mounted above the smokebox. The lamps appear to have already started to take a beating.



    The lamps and the cab did not survive long. The man standing on the crawler appears to hanging on to one of the cab braces. This photograph was taken in 1918.




    The cab brace was still there in about 1927




    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-21-2010 at 09:46 PM. Reason: Add detail from Peter S. and add photos.

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    Mud,

    I seem to recall an article about a NZ farming university (Massey) using a trencher on a later Fordson (E27N I think) with similar wheels. I thought the trencher was Buckeye, but it is all long ago. So I tried a search on "Fordson trencher" and there was your machine, with someone reckoning it was a conversion done by Howard and the wheels are "Rotopad". Howard was a well-known brand (e.g. rotary hoes) in this part of the world, from memory Australian with UK connections.

    BTW, when I look for info on early crawler tracks, there is usually mention of the amazing pad-type wheels that were also tried in several forms, e.g. the Diplock Pedrail, of which I have photos of two four wheel drive steam-powered versions built around 1899, or the Bottrill wheels that survive in Australia on "Big Lizzie" ...but thats off-topic in this thread about crawler tracks

    ---------

    The "Yukon" machine with its trail of wagons also reminds me of the many and varied road trains that were built and used in the early 20th century, once again a very interesting topic.

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    Without wishing to veer off topic, an interesting the Daimler-Renard was an interesting road train, as the trailer wheels were all shaft driven from the tractor. A couple of trailers have survived in Australia.

    Back on topic, some close-ups of Steve Baldock’s model Hornsby:-






    Note the steam-driven boiler feed pump.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter S View Post
    John,

    I am curious about differential steering, can you expand on it, e.g. are you excluding Cat?

    I was under the impression that Cat and I think Allis amongst others used fixed drive with clutch and brake for each track, but not sure about their larger sizes, and I know nothing about the latest Cats.

    I recall having to remove an Allis HD5 steering clutch unit by myself on the side of a hill, it was surprisingly easy. I seem to recall the bush canopy was handy for hanging a fence wire strainer to lift the steering unit out of its pit. Not like our John Deere on which you had to break the track (master pin in the wrong place?) and dismantle the side in question. But these were little bulldozers, I don't know about big stuff.

    I did read a test recently of a diesel-electric D7, and I was interested to see it didn't have high drive tracks either.
    Most crawlers use the same steering clutch setup. I believe there are newer systems out now. Also most of the crawlers I've seen come apart the way you mentioned. You pull the pinion shaft through an access cover through a hole in the drive sprocket, and pull the clutch assembly up from below the seat. Attached is a picture of me dropping in a clutch I rebuilt for my IHC500. You can see the steering lever to the right with the link disconnected. As you pull the lever, it actuates the clutch first, then an arm hits the brake actuator.[
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails clutch.jpg  

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    Default Howard etc

    Howard had their own line of proper crawlers, the "Platypus".

    I've seen pictures of Howards with both conventional tracks and "Bog" tracked versions with a lengthened track frame, which stuck out back and front of the tractor and had extra wide pads on.

    I'm not entirely sure whether Howard built the whole tractor, or whether they operated like County and Roadless, converting existing tractors.

    Apparently some ended up in the Irish peat industry.

    I must search out photos of some modern halftrack convesions with plastic grousers, that I saw on a peat working.

    i'm also remembering triangular framed tracks for fitting to two and four wheel drive tractors, and to little quads. Was it County or Roadless who made some for fitting to landrovers?

    Thinking about the use of a differential.
    In the 1980s, Citroen 2CV engine and transmission units seemed to be a very popular choice for small tracked and skid steer vehicles, as they were fitted with inboard disc brakes.

    I have vague memories of the Aktiv Snowtrak using twin Daf rubber band style variators for steering, with control via a conventional steering wheel. The smaller "Aktiv Trak" used reversible hydraulic variators (I'm not sure who's), They must have been particularly light weight models, as the little Carter "F" series variators that I've got are heavy little brutes for about 1KW rated capacity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forestgnome View Post
    Most crawlers use the same steering clutch setup. I believe there are newer systems out now. Also most of the crawlers I've seen come apart the way you mentioned. You pull the pinion shaft through an access cover through a hole in the drive sprocket, and pull the clutch assembly up from below the seat. Attached is a picture of me dropping in a clutch I rebuilt for my IHC500. You can see the steering lever to the right with the link disconnected. As you pull the lever, it actuates the clutch first, then an arm hits the brake actuator.[
    Forestgnome,

    Thanks for that, IH must have tried a few different methods as some of their machines used planetary steering, and I seem to remember some of the IH crawlers had the brakes out on the rear end of the machine? You could see two round drums on the back face of the crawler, not really sure what they were but it looked great for access!

    Alpacca,

    Platypus! That reminds me of another crawler with a water-related name - the Cuthbertson Water Buffalo, one of which survives in a museum in the north of NZ. It is largish machine, designed and built in Scotland, complete with a massive plough intended for drainage work. Albion or Leyland diesel engine, it could work in fairly deep water, they were manufacturued in the 1950s-60's.

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    Default

    I just googled Cuthbertson, and found that they were responsible for the triangular track framed conversion on Land Rovers. Ungainly looking things!

  20. #60
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    Default Hornsby Crawler

    Quote Originally Posted by Asquith View Post
    Robert,

    Don’t put the Ruston book on your want list - buy it!
    I did buy it. There will be repercussions when the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mrs. G.) gets the Visa bill. I shall blame you (and Peter S.) for leading me astray.

    Speaking of the Hornsby machine, Asquith said:
    A truly fascinating machine, which must have consumed vast amounts of drawing office time.
    The good news is that apparently many Ruston-Hornsby drawings survive.
    The bad news is that they are held by an enthusiastic historian with limited means of distributing them. See:
    http://www.oldengine.org/members/ruston/contact.htm

    I am told that gaining access to the drawings is problematic, really through no fault of the historian. There has to be some means of digitizing these collections and making them accessible to the "masses" (or at least the 50 or so people who are interested in these matters).

    I would like to do some research on the Holt steam crawler. 8D-132 has mentioned in other threads that Don Hunter, the California builder of the reproduction of this machine, made several trips to the Caterpillar archives in Peoria, Illinois, to make his drawings. Can anyone give me some guidance on how to proceed to follow in his footsteps?

    Robert Grauman
    Last edited by Robert Grauman; 01-22-2010 at 01:58 AM.


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