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J&H McLaren

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J&H McLaren manufactured traction engines, stationary engines and later, diesel engines in Hunslet, Leeds, England. The company also built a Diesel engined (road) tractor in the 1940.

McLaren traction engine no.127

McLaren traction engine of 1882 s/n127 reg HO 5618

Steam Engines Edit

The company was founded in 1876 by John and Henry McLaren. They had both been apprenticed to Black, Hawthorn & Co of Gateshead, builders of railway locomotive and marine engines. The new Midland Engine Works was situated on Jack Lane in Hunslet, Leeds within sight of many of the great engineering companies of Leeds, e.g. Hudswell Clarke, Hunslet Engine Co., Manning Wardle, John Fowler & Co. and Kitson & Co.

The company rapidly developed a range of traction engines, road rollers, ploughing engines, agricultural implements and stationary engines. One of their forgotten achievements is the invention (see British Patent 763 of 1880) of the traction-centre engine, for driving steam-powered fairground roundabouts. This is often wrongly attributed to Savage of King's Lynn.

In the 1890s McLarens developed a range of vertical triple-expansion engines for the new industry of electricity generation. The zenith of this effort was a pair of 3000 i.h.p. engines for Leeds Corporation’s Whitehall Road Power Station.[1]

After the turn of the century the company introduced a tractor for direct haulage and a range of powerful direct ploughing engines. The largest of these, rated 125 i.h.p, was fitted with superheater, feedwater heater and fully lagged cylinders. This provided a very efficient engine, which won many awards both at home and abroad. Other minor products were, showman engines, crane engines, portable engines, railway locomotives and Darby Diggers.

McLarens had a good overseas market with over 50% of goods exported. They had local offices in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and South America with smaller representation in Hungary, Germany and Italy. The last of the traction engines was exported to South Africa in 1938 and is preserved in Johannesburg.

Steam Engine Model RangeEdit

  • Stationary engines (Portable Engines)
  • Traction engines
  • Ploughing engines

Preserved Steam EnginesEdit

  • Several Machines are preserved overseas, due to popularity in export markets.
  • The Last machine built was exported to South Africa, and is preserved in Johannesburg
  • A Pair of Fowler ploughing engines were converted to diesel power by J&H McLaren for use on Dredging works. - (see Fowler list for details)
Please add any more known machine details to the Table below

Known engines built by John & Henry McLaren Ltd in preservation. (TER 2008 lists 47)
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Engine No. Name Build Date Type Weight Power nhp Reg No. Owner Image Other info
McLaren no. 2 - 1877 Traction engine weight ? power ? - Owner ?, New Zealand To add remains of Boiler, Firebox and cylinder only
McLaren no. 60 Seana Mac 1879 TE  ? ton 6 nhp MI 2317 Tim and Rory Nagle in Kinsale, ROI To add Oldest known survivor.[2]
McLaren no. 112 Empress of India 1881 TE  ?  ? KL 2126 Science Museum to add In storage at Wroughton. [3]
McLaren no. 127 - 1882 TE -  ? nhp HO 5618 S. Arrowsmith, Barton Under Needwood, Staffordshire McLaren traction engine no.127 At Cromford Steam Rally 2008 (roads to most events)
McLaren no. 163 Invincible 1883 Traction engine weight ? 7 nhp MI 2833 Neville Bros, Wexford ROI Image needed LHB


Visited GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 428 - 1891 GP Traction engine weight ? 8 nhp BP 6143 M. Evans, Tring Herts To add Visited the GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 435 Himself 1892 GP Traction engine weight ? 6 nhp F 15/FI 5 J. Cavanagh, Oflay, ROI To add Visited GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 510 Phoenix 1893 Traction engine weight ? 6 nhp NM 54 R. Wilcox, Gloucestershire to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 547 The Mac 1896 GP Traction engine 6.5 ton 6 nhp BD 5448 J. Hodgeson, Gloucestershire Image needed LHB


Visited GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 551 Centura 1896 Agricultural Engine weight ? 8 nhp AH 5507 A. Hinman, Gloucestershire to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 616 Rambler 1898 Traction engine 8 ton 7 nhp HD 1493 M. How, Wales to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 682 - 1899 Traction engine weight ? 8 nhp BE 7494 D. Bradley, Yorkshire to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 701 Jim 1900 Traction engine weight ? 8 nhp ZV 163 W. Glynn and family, Co. Carlow, ROI to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 752 - 1908 Steam roller 5 ton 6 nhp WY 981 A. Smith and J. Wade, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire Image needed LHB


Only McLaren Roller in the UK
McLaren no. 757 Apollo 1904 Traction engine 10 ton 7 nhp AI 3029 C. Brown, Swindon, England to add ad the GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 767 - 1904 TE (rebuilt from incomplete engine)  ? ton  ? nhp - Engine is in South Africa. Image needed LHB


Rebuilt in South Africa.[4]
McLaren no. 787 Loughrig 1904 GP TE 10 ton 8 nhp WR 6494 I. Cragg, Stockton-on-Tees To add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 849 - 1904 Traction engine - 10 nhp - Owner ? Kent[5] Image needed LHB


Boiler and crank only repatriated from Argentina
McLaren no. 897 Colossus 1904 Traction engine  ? ton 10 nhp BS 8544 John Atkinson, Cornwall ? to add At Powderham Castle Rally 2011
McLaren no. 943 - 1906 Road Locomotive weight ? 8 nhp Reg no. ? Owner ? Northern England Image needed LHB


parts only
McLaren no. 957 "Name" year ? type weight ? power ? Reg no. ? Earle Warwick, Rangiora, NZ (?) Image needed LHB


Seen on Traction Talk
McLaren no. 1012 Micks Mac 1908 RL weight ? 7 nhp - Mick Gains-Burrill, Teesside to add At GDSF 2010 & Old Warden - Ex New Zealand
McLaren no. 1019 "Name" 1909 type weight ? 6 nhp Reg no. ? Owner ? Image needed LHB


Ex H.G. Feather, Rangiora, NZ
McLaren no. 1038 - 1909 GP TE  ? ton 8 nhp CT 4212 V. & C. Whitwell, of Leeds, West Yorkshire to add at Duncombe Park Steam Rally 2009
McLaren no. 1105 Margaret (Christine in TER) 1910 TE 8.5 ton 6 nhp AO 6266 Owner ? Image needed LHB


McLaren no. 1110 The Big Mac 1910 Road Locomotive  ? ton 8 nhp BF 5258 Pete & Dave Ingall, Lincolnshire J&H McLaren no. 1110 - RL - BF 5258 at Carrington 2010 - IMG 4655 Restored in UK, Ex. H.G. Feather, Rangoria, NZ(from 1959-98)
McLaren no. 1160 The Favourite 1912 Traction engine 11 ton 8 nhp HO 5570 M & J Hillary, Southampton McLaren no. 1160 - TE - The Favourite - HO 5570 at Ntley Marsh 11 - IMG 6706 At Netley Marsh Steam Show 2011
McLaren no. 1181 King Harry 1912 Road Locomotive 18 ton 8 nhp BF 4595 S & D Sanders, Cornwall McLaren TE Loco sn 1181 King Harry reg BF 4595 at GDSF 08 - IMG 0780 At GDSF 2008
McLaren no. 1236 "Name" 1911 Road Locomotive weight ? 8 nhp Reg no. ? Owner ? Image needed LHB


In TER 2012 location unknown
McLaren no. 1242 - 1911 DC TE weight ? 8 nhp Reg no. ? G & J Winter, New Zealand to add At GDSF 2010 & Welland 2011
McLaren no. 1244 The Emerald 1911 TE Road Loco  ? ton 8 nhp - Howth Castle National Museum of Transport ROI[6] Image needed LHB


(in OG list of engines in Museums)
McLaren no. 1266 "Name" 1911 TE DCC weight ? 5 nhp 28 THR(NZ no.) G.C. Calder and Sons, New Zealand To add Ex H.G. Feather, Rangiora, NZ (At GDSF)
McLaren no. 1292 Hanibal 1912 RL weight 8 nhp Reg no. ? W Woodward, Congleton To add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1295 Name ? 1911 RL weight 8 nhp BF 5927 R. Morris, Droitwich To add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1332 Gigantic 1911 Road Locomotive  ? 10 nhp DS 7128 A. Warwick, Sandy Bedfordshire McLaren no. 1332 - Gigantic - DS 7128 at Old Warden 09 - IMG 0861 Seen at Old Warden 2009
McLaren no. 1413 May Queen 1913 Tractor 5 ton 4 nhp AL 8769 Owner ?, Essex Image needed LHB


Misc info Listed in GDSF cat as under restoration
McLaren no. 1421 Captain Scott 1913 Road Loco 11 ton 8 nhp BE 7518 J. Blagg, Nottinghamshire McLaren no. 1421 - RL - Captain Scot - BE 7518 at Sheffield 2009 - IMG 5463 at Sheffield Steam and Vintage Rally 2009
McLaren no. 1425 Dirty Girl date built type weight ? power ? Reg no. ? Owner ? Image needed LHB


on steam scenes
McLaren no. 1428  ? 1916 TE  ? 8 nhp - Museum of Transport and Technology, Auckland, New Zealand Image needed LHB


McLaren no. 1433 (T101) Name ? 1917 Road Loco weight 10 nhp Reg no. ? Owner ?, Northern England Image needed LHB


TER list as at Preston Services, Kent.
McLaren no. 1434 (T106) Name ? 1917 RL weight 10 nhp Reg no. ? R & L Greenwood, Barton under Needwood, Staffs To add (parts) At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1447 Venie 1917 TE 8.5 ton 6 nhp AL 3164 H. Rowntree, Cavan ROI to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1471 "Name" date built type weight ? power ? Reg no. ? Owner ? South Africa Image needed LHB


McLaren no. 1497 Fred 1917 TE type DCC  ? ton 5 nhp IC 2089 Glynns of Carlow, ROI To add (GDSF) Repatriated from Patagonia to Ireland in 2004[7]
McLaren no. 1532 (T12) Name ? 1917 TE weight 5 nhp Reg no. ? K. Bragg, Oakhampton Devon to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1533 Vulcan 1917 TE weight 5 nhp Reg no. ? I, Langley, East Sussex to add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1534 Cracker 1917 TE DCC 9 ton 5 nhp BS 9066 John Wakeham, Cornwall ? To add At Padernham & Welland 2011
McLaren no. 1541 Avis 1918 Ploughing Engine 14 ton 12 nhp HO 5832 Owner ? McLaren no.1541 - plg - Avis - HO5832 at old warden 2013 - IMG 9502 At Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre 2013
McLaren no. 1552 Hero 1919 Ploughing Engine 22 Tons 16 nhp BD 5504 C & R Daniel, Bodmin. Mclaren No. 1552 'Hero' at ?
McLaren no. 1623 Goliath ~ 1920 SRL weight 10 nhp DH 2482 M. Dreelan, Aberdeen To add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1641 - 1918 TE weight 5 nhp - Owner, ROI Image needed LHB


Salvaged parts used to restore other engines
McLaren no. 1642 Chatham ex.Marion 1918 TE weight ? 5 nhp BE 8739 W Woodward, Cheshire to add At GDSF 2010 & Pickering 2011
McLaren no. 1647 - 1919 Road Locomotive weight ? 5 nhp MA 5131 A Sparks, Bristol To add At GDSF McLaren Special 2010 & Seen on Steam Scenes web site
McLaren no. 1652 Boadicea 1919 Road Locomotive 14 ton 10 nhp WF 1864 L & D Searle collection, West Sussex Mclaren no. 1652 - Boadicea - WF 1864 at Hillhead 2010 - IMG 1774 Seen at Hillhead 2010 show
McLaren no. 1663 Pamir 1919 tractor 5 ton 4 nhp U 2689 M. Gull, Chelmsford Essex Image needed LHB


At GDSF McLaren Special 2010
McLaren no. 1713 The Banshee 1922 Showman's road locomotive 18 ton 8 nhp NH 3998 D. Birch Ashford Kent Image needed LHB


Seen on Steam Scenes web site
McLaren no. 1718 "Name" 1925 GP Engine weight ? power ? Reg no. ? Owner ? Image needed LHB


Seen on Steam Scenes web site
McLaren no. 1719 "Name" 1925 GP engine weight ? power ? Reg no. ? Owner ? Image needed LHB


Seen on Steam Scenes web site
McLaren no. 1817 - 1926 G.P weight ? 8 nhp 4 HPMAC John Kyle, New Zealand Image needed LHB


At GDSF & Welland also seen on Steam Scenes in NZ
McLaren no. 1835 Pocket Rocket 1930 Tractor weight ?  ? nhp Reg no. ? Peter Butterick (in New Zealand) Image needed LHB


Featured on Steam Scenes
McLaren no. 1837 Bluebell 1936 Steam Tractor 5 ton 4 nhp AAM 801 R. Coulson, Cambridgeshire (family owned since 1959) To Add At Old Warden 2009.
Youngest known survivor.[8]
McLaren Living Van na date built Ploughing Contractors Living Van - na - 'Tommo' Thompson McLaren Living van at St Albans - IMG 1713 Misc info
Image needed LHB


McLaren no. 1234 "Name" date built type weight ? power ? Reg no. ? Owner ? Image needed LHB


Machine types Key: References
SW = Steam wagon, PLG = Ploughing Engine, RL = Road Locomotive, RR = Steam Roller, SM = Showman's engine, TE = Traction Engine, PE = Portable engine
  1. Pease, J. (2003). The History of J&H McLaren of Leeds. Landmark Publishing, Ashbourne, UK. ISBN 1-84306-105-8. 
  2. TER 2008, page 60
  3. Old Glory Magazine, Museums list
  4. Old Glory Magazine, No. 226 p21
  5. listed in the guide to GDSF McLaren Special 2010
  6. Old Glory Magazine, Museums List
  7. Old Glory Magazine, No.222
  8. TER 2008, page 60


Diesel Engines Edit

During the First World War, McLarens inevitably became involved in the war effort. The works were particularly noted for producing a collet chuck for holding shells during turning. For his efforts during the war, John McLaren was knighted, but unfortunately his reward was short lived, for he died in 1920.

After the First World War, McLarens built a cable-ploughing windlass, initially powered by a Dorman petrol engine but a diesel engine was sought. In 1926 the company entered into an agreement with the German Company Benz to manufacture diesel engines. These were the first automotive type diesel engines produced in volume in Britain, and as a result were in the forefront of the use of diesel engines for road, rail, and agricultural purposes. Examples include the first diesel powered railway locomotive, built by Hudswell Clarke in Leeds and powered by a McLaren built diesel. The first diesel powered commercial vehicles in Britain were made by Richard Garrett & Sons of Leiston in 1928, and Kerr Stuart of Stoke-on-Trent, again powered by McLaren built diesels.

In addition, McLarens built Britain's first diesel powered road roller in 1927 using their own engine.

A complete range of diesel engines was designed up to around 400 h.p. and these were very widely used for industrial applications, one particularly successful use was in standby power sets.

In 1943, the business was sold by the family to the Associated British Oil Engine Company and this was initially very successful. A major contract with the USSR for diesel-generator sets resulted in the number of employees increasing tenfold and new buildings acquired. In December 1945, McLaren tool over the remains of Kitson & Co. and with it their Airedale Works. Unfortunately these glory years did not last. In 1957, the take over of the Brush A.B.O.E. Group by Hawker Siddeley saw the Leeds production facility fade away and the main works closed in January 1959.


McLaren Motor Ploughing Windlass They built a stationary ploughing engine, consisting of a large petrol-paraffin engine of 40 hp mounted on a steel chassis, with 4 steel wheels for transport. A large winch drum was vertically mounted at the back, fitted with 400yds of cable. They were used in pairs sited at each side of the field, with a balance plough pulled between them across the field.

Diesel Engine ModelsEdit

Diesel heavy haulage tractorEdit

A one off diesel engined heavy haulage tractor was built in 1940 by McLaren's.[1] The vehicle was hybrid of steam & 'modern technology with an unconventional lay out. A 'truck' type cab on a chassis with mid mounted McLaren Diesel Engine of 95 bhp driving solid Steam type rear wheels, and fited with a ballast box.

References / sources Edit

  1. Pease, J. (2003). The History of J&H McLaren of Leeds. Landmark Publishing, Ashbourne, UK. ISBN 1-84306-105-8. 
  2. TER 2008, page 60
  3. Old Glory Magazine, Museums list
  4. Old Glory Magazine, No. 226 p21
  5. listed in the guide to GDSF McLaren Special 2010
  6. Old Glory Magazine, Museums List
  7. Old Glory Magazine, No.222
  8. TER 2008, page 60

External linksEdit



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