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Ruston & Hornsby was an industrial equipment manufacturer in Lincoln, England. They were most well known as a manufacturer of narrow and standard gauge diesel locomotives and steam shovels. They also built cars, steam locomotives and a range of internal combustion engines.
Ruston & Hornsby was a major producer of small and medium diesel engines for land and marine applications. It began to build diesel locomotives in 1931 (and continued up until 1967). It was a pioneer and major developer in the industrial application of small (up to 10000kW) heavy duty gas turbines from the 1950s onwards. Ruston still build gas turbines today, in Lincoln.
On September 11, 1918, the company of Ruston, Proctor and Company amalgamated with Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham to become Ruston and Hornsby Ltd. Hornsbys were world leaders in vaporizing oil engines, building them since 1891, a full eight years before Rudoph Diesel's engine was commercially produced.
The company were involved in production of a diverse range of products and by the 1930 following the depressed years of the 1920s after WW One they were involved in major restructuring of several companies.
Ransomes, Sims & JefferiesEdit
- Main article: Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies
A controlling share was purchased in the Ipswich firm of Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies, agricultural engineers. Rustons then transferred to them the manufacture of steam engines, threshers, and the other of smaller agricultural implement lines they produced. This move helped to revitalise Ransomes company and freed up production space for Rustons growing diesel engine business in the Lincoln factory.
- Main article: Aveling Barford
Ruston and Hornsby were involved in the deal to rescue Aveling & Porter and Barford & Perkins when the AGE colapse occured during the 1920s depression. Rustons refinanced the firms of Barford & Perkins of Peterborough, and Aveling & Porter of Rochester to create Aveling Barford Ltd. The deal moved the new firm to Grantham commencing production in part of the old Hornsby factory. To help them, Rustons transferred their road roller manufacture to the new company, with the new firm using Ruston engines in their Oil engined rollers. A-B subsequently became world leaders in their field for a period. A-B was later taken over by Leyland and merged with the Marshall Fowler operation to form Aveling Marshall.
The range of diesel rail locomotives was developed further during the war with special flame proof versions for use in ammunition depots and mines.
During WW II the companies heavy engineering capacity was in demand for both engine production from small low horsepower units for pumps and generators etc through to industrial power units for standby generators for factories and for navel craft. with the heavey excavator factories turning out Tanks and heavy machinery parts.
Ruston Gas turbinesEdit
Part of the original Ruston company went on to manufacture gas turbines and became as subsidiary of several firms over the years. The business was still based in Lincoln for many years. The Company entered the gas Turbine marked after the war when they gambled on the new technology developed for fighter jets. They recruited some of the development team and created units for use in package generating sets for the Oil & Gas industry.
The English Electric Co. in November 1966 took over Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. Then two years later, English Electric were taken over by the GEC Group (UK not GE of the USA). This resulted in the break-up of the Lincoln company, with sections merged ith oter GEC subsidaries. The large diesels joined up with the English Electric Vulcan Works at Newton-le-Willows, to become Ruston Diesels Ltd. The Newton-le-Willows "Vulcan Works" had a history that went back to 1830, as the factory where Robert Stephenson produced large numbers of steam locomotives.
The small diesels moved to Stafford to become part of Dorman Diesels Ltd. The Paxman engines subsidiary continued to build engines and boilers in Colchester, as Paxman Diesels Ltd. At Lincoln, excavator building continued at the Ruston Bucyrus factory with Bucyrus-Erie subsequently taking control.
The former Ruston turbine division expanded under the name Ruston Gas Turbines Ltd., and they were strengthened by the move of the Napier Turboblower subsidary of GEC which was moved from Liverpool to Lincoln.
(details of other products required)
- baling presses,
- grinding mills
- threshing machines,
- Tractors - Rustons had before the first world war designed a tractor that began to sell well in the South American market. But when exports stoppped during WWI years, the USA captured these markets. In 1920 Rustons designed a British version of the American Wallace tractor. But they could not compete with the established tractor builders mass production lines low cost imports. Approximately 300 Ruston tractors were sold.
The Agricultural lines were Merged with Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies product lines during the 1930 reorganisation of the company.
In 1920 Ruston-Hornsby introduced the 16hp A-1 Tourer. with about 1300 Ruston-Hornsby cars produced between 1920 to 1925, when the cheaper Fords & other proved too much competition and production stopped (like lots of other firms who tried car production after WW I and were then hit by the depression)
- Main article: Ruston & Hornsby Engines
Ruston and Horsby built both Oil engines (from Hornsby-Ackroyd designs) and gas engines (from Rustons product line)
- Single cylinder engines
- Horizontal engines from 1 hp - 50 hp +
- Vertical engines from 1 hp - ? hp
- Multi-cylinder engines
- Vertical from 8 hp - 500 hp +
- See also: List of Ruston and Hornsby engine models
- Main article: Ruston Bucyrus
A Range of excavator models from 16 to 120 tons were produced. The early machines were steam operated but latter models used diesel engines and were sold under the Ruston Brand. Later to become Ruston-Bucyrus following agreements to build Bucyrus-Erie designed machines under licence, and the subsequent merger with Bucyrus of the division to form Ruston-Bucyrus Ltd, with the Agreement that RB would use Ruston Engines.
- Steam shovels
- Ruston Steam Navvy - an example survives in Australia. Seen working at the Lake Goldsmith Steam Preservation Society show
- Model : Ruston Hornsby Class N0 20 Steam Navvy Crane – No.4
- Construction No. : 923
- Original Owner : Australian Portland Cement Co. Fryansford Vic. Aus.
- Weight : 90 Tons
- This machine was in regular work until 1980.
- It eventually ended up 200ft underwater in the Moorambool River. The Quarry was pumped out and the crane was recovered. Following a total restoration the machine is regularly displayed as a working display, operated by a 3 man crew.
- Rustons designed a gas producer that would burn any combustible material.
- Early Caterpillar machines (built by Hornsby)
- Ruston-Holt tracked tractor built under licence from Holt with a Ruston-Hornsby Engine for the Government ( a lot sold to Russia)
- Road rollers - Production transfered to Aveling-Barford when the firm was created and moved into Hornsbys old works in Grantham, after Ruston Hornsby bailed Aveling & Porter out after the AGE collapse.
- Steam boilers were available for a variety of purposes
- Portable steam engines
- Steam Tractors and Rollers
The Steam machinery production transfered to Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies during the 1930 restructuring.
|Engine No.||Name||Build Date||Type||Weight||Power nhp||Reg No.||Owner||Image||Other info|
|-||1918||ST||5 ton||5 nhp||OR 8501||Owner ?, Andover||
|-||1919||Portable||7 ton||10 nhp||-||Owner ?||
|Lucifer||1919||ST||5 ton||4 nhp||TF 8240||Owner ?||
|-||1919||Portable||3 ton||3 1/2 nhp||-||Owner ?||
|-||1918||ST||5 ton||4 nhp||HP 2201||Owner ?||
|Rosetta||date built||Showmans tractor||5 ton||5 nhp||YI 2853||Owner ?, ROI||
|Nuffrush||1919||RR||5 ton||Nuffield Diesel Engine||NR 5056||Alan Eaton collection, Northamptonshire||At Rushden 2008 & Earls Barton 2009|
|1919||PE||6 ton||8 nhp||-||Owner ?||
|Princess Anne||1919||Tractor||5 ton||4 nhp||AW 4996||R Griffith, Kidderminster||At Stourport Steam Rally 2009|
|-||1920||RR||10 ton||? nhp||WR 6808||Seen at Essex Country Show|
|-||1919||RR||10 ton||? nhp||EP 1620||Owner ?||to add||Essex Country Show|
|-||-||PE||? ton||? nhp||-||Ex-Preston Services, Kent||
||Mis-recorded is Ruston-Proctor no. 33499 (T45)|
|Oliver||1920||TE||9 ton||6 nhp||CE 7977||Bressingham Steam Museum||
|-||1920||TE||11 ton||7 nhp||[[AO 6340]||Owner ?, carlise||
|Pride of Endrick||1920||TE||? ton||6 nhp||MS 3273||Glasgow Transport Museum||
||On loan to Alford Transport Museum - In the Collection of Glasgow Transport Museum|
|The Brasford Belle||1921||RR||12 ton||7 nhp||CJ 4853||S & S Vickery, of St. Albans||At Bloxham & Woodcote Rally 2009|
|-||1922||RR||11 ton||? nhp||XM 6373||Bill Best, Kent (Kept at Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway)||Essex Country Show|
|Ruston & Hornsby no. 115100||Hildary||1922||TE type SH||9 ton||7 hp||DO 2953||D. Brothwell, ?|| At Cromford Steam Rally|
& Holcot Steam Rally
(featured on Fred Dibnah's
made in Britain)
|Ruston & Hornsby no. 115123||Veronica||1921||RR type SR||10 ton||6 hp||XM 6374||J. E. Brice, Norfolk||At Woolpit Steam rally 2009|
|-||1923||TE||9.5 ton||7 nhp||EB 5670||Owner ?, Lincoln||
|Natalie I||1924||RR||10 ton||5 nhp||BJ 9644||owner ?, DEvon||to add||seen at Essex Country Show|
|Sadie||1924||Traction Engine||14 ton||7 nhp||CJ 7207||G. Beck & P. Dook of ?||At Sheffield Steam and Vintage Rally 2009|
|Endeavour||1924||RR||11 ton||? nhp||XU 5721||owner ?||to add||Essex Country Show|
|The Leeside Rover||1925||Steam tractor||weight ?||power ?||IF 5409||Owner ?, ROI||
||Originally a Stationary engine rebuilt as a direct ploughing engine|
|(T16)||-||1926||Direct ploughing||weight ?||12 nhp||-||Owner ?, Melksam||
||(T16) repatriated from South America|
|Ruston & Hornsby no. 128183||-||1926||TE (Direct Plough)||? ton||12 nhp||-||For sale at Preston Services||to add||Repatriated from South America|
|Lizzy||1927||Semi portable PDG||? ton||6 nhp||N/A||The Sitwell Estate||Located in stable yard at Renishaw Hall. Operates by Hydraulic motor|
|Success||1928||Steam Roller||10 ton||6 nhp||VF 3186||N & L LeCount, of||At Rushden & Kettering 2008|
|-||date ?||PE||weight ?||power ?||-||Owner ?, St. Austell Cornwall||
|Moonlight Magic||1929||RR type SR (1 of 8 survivors)||12 ton||5 nhp||UR 5657||S & S Vickery of ?||At Woodcote Rally 2009|
|-||1929||TE||9 ton||6 nhp||FW 1509||B. Knight collection||at Little Casterton 2009|
|Little Imp||1932||Portable engine||-||2 nhp||NA||Mrs. J. Ing, of Salisbury||
||Listed at Old Warden 2009 (not seen) ?|
|1931||PE||4.5 ton||power ?||-||Claude Jessett Collection, Hadlow Down||Recently rebuilt|
|Jack||1932||PE||4.5 ton||power ?||-||Owner ?, Sedgfield, County Durham||
|Name ?||1932||PE||4.5 ton||power ?||-||Owner ?, Sedgefield, County Durham||
|Name ?||1931||PE||weight ?||8 nhp||Reg no. ?||Owner ?, Oxford||
||No motion works, Boiler only/|
|-||1931||PE||7.5 ton||12 nhp||-||Owner ?, Co. Durham||
|Queen Bess||1929||TE||? ton||5 nhp||TL 3433||Preston collection||At Masham 2010|
|Trevithick||1933||TE||weight ?||6 nhp||TL 5452||Owner ?, Telford||
|1935||PE||7.5 ton||power ?||-||Owner ?||
|1934 (built 1926)||PE||weight ?||power ?||-||Owner ?, Bedford||
|-||1935||Portable engine||3 ton||4 nhp||-||Owner ?, Stamford||
||Youngest known in UK|
|Ruston & Hornsby no. ?||Name ?||date built||type||weight||power||Reg no. ?||Owner ?||
| SW = Steam Wagon, PE = Portable Engine, Plg = Ploughing Engine, RR = Road Roller, |
SM = Showman's engine, SRL = Showman's road locomotive,
ST= Steam Tractor, TE = Traction Engine (R) = Reconstructed.
This section needs developing, as a large number of Ruston and Hornsby engines exist and appear a various Steam fairs and Vintage rallies around the UK and are also in several Museums featuring industrial machinery in the UK and around the world.
There are magazines devoted to the field of Stationary engines and to Industrial machinery in general which often feature Ruston and Hornsby products.
- Museums featuring R&H engines include;
- Preserved RH engines
Please list examples with model / type, sn details, size owner and a photo with details of were seen (if possible).
|RH sn no.||Model||Size hp||Year||Owner||Photo||Notes (were seen or special features)|
|Ruston Hornsby sn 145591||ZPR||? hp||year ?||owner ?||were seen / misc info|
|Ruston Hornsby s/n 227850||PB9||4 1/2 hp||1944||N. Brinkhurst||at Lister Tyndale Steam Rally|
|Ruston Hornsby Oil Engine no. 390130||Oil Engine||? hp||year ?||owner ?||were seen / misc info|
|Ruston Hornsby sn ?||AP||10 1/2 hp||1928||K. Andrews||Exhibited at Royal Highland show|
|Ruston Hornsby sn ?||type ?||? hp||year ?||owner ?||
set to 150px]]
|were seen / misc info|
- Ruston (engine builder)
- Ruston, Proctor and Company
- Ruston & Proctor
- List of Steam Machinery Manufacturers
- List of Engine Manufacturers
- general website links list
References / sourcesEdit
- Wikipedia entry
- OldEngine.Com - Links to Members pages for various makes of engine.
- Ray Hooley's R-H web site Ruston engine production data