Online Catalogue last updated 25th of June 2012
The age of the traction engine is now past, but these romantic leviathans of road and field excite great interest among not only those who remember them in their heyday but also those brought up in the age of the lorry and tractor.
Portable steam engines were used by agricultural contractors from the early years of the nineteenth century, and these were used to power equipment designed to accomplish labour-intensive farm tasks like threshing and chaff-cutting. This agricultural revolution accelerated in the 1860s when self-moving steam engines - the familiar traction engine - became available. The invention of the self-propelled engine also made possible road haulage and road-making with steam. The steam roller made such an impression on popular consciousness that modern road rollers continue to be referred to as 'steam rollers', decades after the diesel engine took over.
The steam traction engine was also developed into a specialized ploughing engine - designed to work in pairs, hauling a plough attached to a heavy cable from one side of a field to the other - and the highly decorated showman's engine, capable of transporting increasingly heavy loads of fairground equipment at speed and generating power to run and light the rides at their destination. At the same time steam wagons were developed for fast and convenient light haulage. For over half a century steam was a common sight on roads and on farms in Britain and throughout the world.
Malcolm Ranieri, who has been photographing preserved steam for over twenty years, has assembled this classic selection of photographs of the best of British traction engines, rollers, steam wagons and more. Photographed at work and at rest at locations all over the United Kingdom, all the major manufacturers - with famous names like Fowler, Burrell and Aveling & Porter - are represented, along with many rarer makes. Also including some beautiful archive photographs of engines at work in their heyday, this celebration of steam on the road and in the field will be appreciated by all enthusiasts of these magnificent machines.
270x280 mm, 226 colour photographs
Code No. 011696, 128 pages, ISBN 1861267940, $80.00