R.H. Neal & Co Limited were an early crane manufacturer as well as other original machinery based in Grantham, Lincolnshire and were taken over by Coles Cranes in 1959. The firm purchased larger premises in Dysart Road at Grantham in 1937 for the manufacture of cranes. They still kept production all the same but only made selected medium sized mobilecrane and small yardcrane models of their own later for Coles Cranes bought them until around 1970.

Company historyEdit

Neal site crane at VET

A typical Neal General Purpose hoist (awaiting restoration) in the Vintage Excavator Trust collection

RH NEAL & COMPANY LIMITED its original fullname were designers and manufacturers of early machinery that originally started in a small factory based at Ealing in London starting around 1926. Their machines were basic models aimed for the agriculture, construction industries as well as the British railways. The original NEAL models were little more than early patented petrol-engined trenchers and sitedumpers mostly based on 1930s tractors parts and railway wagons were also produced. Later Neal developed an early new model that resembled a four wheeled platform with a drivers cab, had a pair of winches attached to a long steel jib that was an instant success for many firms that worked in pipes and sewers cleaning/maintenance services across the UK that found it light and very useful to operate and was towable by a small tractor or truck. This new model was one of their biggest-selling machines of the early days during the 1930s-1940s. 

Then came their first entirely developed yardcranes for lightwork and then came their heavier original mobilecranes still using petrol driven car engines of which they all became a very common site in factories, stockyards, warehouses and construction sites. From the 1950s their famous new model to most people was probably the wellknown Pelican Loader used in coal yards only this time could be bought with a choice of both an improved Ford petrol car engine or a more common Fordson Diesel tractor running gear. By this time all the agricultural side of the business was abandoned in favour of the new Neal Pelican Loader that was selling quickly like hotcakes in bakery and the entire production was carried alongside the new Neal mobilecrane and yardcrane models. The firm was very active for the next 20 years with a small original yardcrane model range before more modern hydraulic excavators became a more common equipment arrived after the 1970s.

Historically speaking, R.H Neal & Co Ltd entered started a technical engineering agreement with the North American UNIT company better known for their excavators of all sizes and types, to develop their improved hydraulics and mechanicals, so that NEAL would licence produce the current original UNIT model range for the massive Europen market and then UNIT would acquire an export base for the UK. In a very smilar way that Yorkshire based NCH firm planned, that later became known as NCK. So after 1960, American UNIT machinery was later produced in England by the RH Neal & Co Limited at Grantham then were sold in Europe as the NEAL-UNIT available in crawlercranes, draglines, excavators, mobilecranes, piledrivers and yardcranes.

After the giant Coles Cranes Limited acquired the RH Neal & Co Ltd only standard mobilecranes and crawlercranes were developed and manufactured under a NEAL reduced model range.The Neal name was used up till 1970 when all the Steels Cranes operations were re-named under the Coles Cranes brand.[1]

Model rangeEdit

Note:Dates are publication dates for Brochures on the machines.[2]


Very few Neal machines are seen on the preservation circuit in the UK. A number of machines still exist in yards of old machinery, but as these get sold for redevelopment a lot are fast disappearing, as cranes are not a common item to collect.

  • If you know of any examples please add them to the Wiki create a list for this Marque.
  • Neal GM General Purpose crane ? cwt capacity - at the VET (photo above)
  • Neal Pelican loader - (an example was mentioned in a magazine, but the editor cannot remember the Issue ?).

See alsoEdit

Collecting and Preservation

References / sourcesEdit

External linksEdit

  • Coles history page on NTL world By Tony Moon (excellent site with a growing (detailed) history of Coles) - Like Tractor Wiki Tony is interested in any more info on the firms featured to expand the History of the firms and details of ALL models manufactured.

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