Wakefield Construction Machinery Limited also known as WCM Limited was a manufacturer of their original sitedumpers, motorgraders and other construction equipment and similar machinery who were based in the town of the same name, Wakefield in Yorkshire England. The company was founded in 1962 as the result the new name adopted from a merger of two older tradenames. In the 1990s the very old Ohio based USA company called Galion Ironworks had acquired a partial financial stake of WCM Limited who later took them over by 1969.
Originally founded in 1827 as the British Diamond Coal Cutter Company Limited to produce all kinds of general mining equipment such as coalcrushers, rock breakers and similar equipment all intended for the British Mines and for export to the overseas mining industry during that period.
In 1922 the company was then privatised in 1927 was reorganised with new management under the BJD 'British Jeffery-Diamond' tradename. By the 1960s it had almost 1300 workers employed and by 1962 the firm was again renamed as Wakefield Construction Machinery Limited which by 1963 had launched and manufactured their own new model range of modern sitedumpers, motorgraders, roadrollers, dumptrailers, conveyors and crushers. Most of their machinery was powered Ford or Leyland mechanicals while other models used Perkins engines and other domestic original mechanical components. Several of their early mining machinery were acquired by the NCB of the UK who deployed them into the Yorkshire Coal Mines during the British mining heyday of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
Perhaps better known for their modern looking sitedumpers often incorrectly called dumptrucks, the original Wakefield SD Series that were only available as four wheel driven models, they featured reversible seats with dual controls, power steering and there was a optional choice of supply with or without a drivers cab. Later models used a selfloading armbucket to turn these models into a very useful selfloading small dumptruck version on 4X4 axles and were powered by an original Leyland Trucks Straight-six 5700cc 100bhp diesel engine with a dual range five speed manual transmission and fitted with steering axle that was mounted on a central pivot while the back wheels were rigidly mounted. Both the Wakefield SD55 4WD and the Wakefield SD55R 4WD models were similar except for a larger hopper or dumpbody that was fitted in the SD55R.
In the 1960s the American Ohio based, long established machinery company, Galion Iron Works acquired a licence agreement with manufacturing rights together with Wakefield of the UK to manufacture their own Galion original motorgraders of American design although made in England and were mostly fitted with optional Leyland truck engines and or else reliable Perkins engines as the alternative running gear. This venture is known to have lasted for about twenty or so years as Galion was searching for a suitable European partner to expand its original machinery to the huge European market during he 1970s and 1980s. Like other US earthmovers brands like Caterpillar, Clark, Grove and Michigan to name a few all followed similar ideas and each manufacturer had its own plans for the still unexplored European market since about the 1960s as did many more other brandnames.
From the 1970s Wakefield firm decided to move elsewhere besides England, for some of their earthmovers production and so a new large factory with large premises was opened at Gennevilliers a town near Paris in France where they manufactured a new model range of improved Galion based motorgraders though sold under the Wakefield tradename, mostly powered by British Leyland Trucks running gear that were known there as the Wakefield 100-Series mainly for the large French market to begin, then were also intended for export for the rest of Europe. Before that and by the late 1960s, the American Galion company had bought the smaller British WCM company and despite their machinery being all modern and reliable some of their motorgraders available with unusual 6WD axles sold slowly while their normal standard six wheeled models sold somewhat better.
But by the 1990s WCM Limited machinery production was dwindling and like many other small manufacturers, they left the European Machinery Market at the time and that was unfortunately the final chapter for the once large Yorkshire based Wakefield Construction Machinery Limited. Another very similar yet smaller unknown manufacturer called Carlyle is reputed to have produced licence granted Galion motorgrader replicas with completely different running gear.
Later RVI (Renault Vehicules Industrielles) which is part of the huge French Regie Renault empire that was recently renamed as Groupe Renault, bought the former Wakefield factory at Gennevilliers to produce RVI all wheel driven offroad vehicles mainly developed and manufactured for special roles.
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References and sourcesEdit
- "Giant Dumptrucks" - book by Nick Baldwin - 1984