Cook’s New Engine

The Cook family recently took delivery of a new engine, here are a few words and pictures by Philip Brown

The Cook’s New Engine

Fowler BB1 Ploughing Engine “Mistress” (No.15138)

The Cook family have recently celebrated reuniting the Very First pair of Fowler BB1 ploughing engines after 50 Years apart.

Fowler No, 15138 had spent the last 50 years in a collection in Canada, having been very little used but very well preserved in a heated shed as part of the Mathew’s Collection.

The engine was shipped over 1200 miles by road to the nearest port where it then took a 6 week voyage to Liverpool Docks, an eager team from the Cook family and helpers was there to greet the engine and brought it swiftly home to their awaiting shed.

Although the engine has not had many outings over the past 50 years or so, the boiler is in fairly good condition though it will be undergoing rigorous checks to give a better idea of the exact condition. After a week of checks and lots of oiling the engine was connected to a compressor and pressurised to 100psi on air and turned over for the first time in a very long time.

Since then the engine has had further checking and oiling, on the 10th of March “Mistress” and was again pressurised to 100psi on air and was able to move under her own power out of the Cook’s shed to the delight of the small crowd present and also the Cook family.

The engine will now have its lagging stripped of and be thoroughly checked by a boiler inspector and depending on the findings will dictate the course the Cook family take towards restoration.

The long term goal is to have both “Master” and “Mistress” working as a pair again ploughing in the hopefully not too distant future, we look forward to seeing the engine out on the road, and attending some events again very soon.

ACE’d it – Second Queen’s Award

Members of the Bon Accord Steam Engine Club were delighted to hear of the second Queen’s Award for Industry recently received by long-term supporters ACE Winches.

Pictured here, Alfie Cheyne at the controls of his Aveling & Porter Traction Engine at the Club’s annual steam fair.

Congratulations to Club member and Steam Enthusiast Alfie Cheyne – Chief Executive of ACE Winches – who has been awarded a second Queen’s Award for International Trade just three years after his engineering company won it’s first award.

His company makes 75% of its profits from international exports and currently employs more than 300 people.

We look forward to seeing him at the Club’s next major event on 15/16th June this year.

Find out more about Alfie’s award at his company website, found here.

Help Needed – Bon Accord Mill

We received the following email to the website, can you help?

I am contacting you on behalf of my father William Gribbon of Maghera Co.Derry who is currently researching the history of his thresher and we would appreciate any help some of you’re members could give us.

The mill is a small 2 foot bon accord barn thresher with a peg drum believed to be very similar to the one in Auchriachan mill moray other than this we know little of its history other than of where it spent its life since 1942 on a local farm we would like to know where and when it was made and roughly how many were made.

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated and welcomed even the smallest detail to help us build a picture or fill in the missing pieces my father can be contacted directly on Tel no 07759425131 or landline 02879642791.

Many thanks Enda Gribbon.

The Brown’s new engine

The Brown family recently took delivery of a new engine, here are a few words and pictures by Mike Brown

The Brown’s New Engine


Bought in mid August of 1926 this Garrett 6 ton overtype steam waggon No 34932 was the last in a long line of Garrett’s bought by William Aitken Haulage contractors of Linlithgow and the waggon bears the West Lothian registration number SX 2395 and originally Aitken’s fleet No 20. The waggon was ordered with show finish a trend that continues in commercial circles by pimping up the lorries of today and it had to have 8 ton springs. Aitken was unhappy with this new 6 ton design which deviated from the well regarded 5 ton predecessors and after some 6 months or so the engine was returned to the Garrett factory in Leiston. The main complaint was leaking tubes and not the same readiness to steam as the 5 ton model together with a lack of pulling power, mention was made that the brakes could be better but probably the order of the day was to grossly overload the vehicle which would be outwith the braking capability.

Garrett set about rectifying these design deficiency’s by making some changes, indeed it’s a miracle the lorry went so well as a straight off the drawing board design without any real proving or testing, but money was short in the late 20’s. As I understand things they modified the piston valve timings, fitting new piston valves and sleeves with a later cut off to give more pulling power and the leaking tubes were rectified by fitting a line of stay tubes and it has a conventional boiler with a corrugated firebox crown and they increased the working pressure to 230psi. Brakes were cured by adding in a 1″ wide welded in rim around both rear brake hubs giving far greater stopping power. There may have been a conversion to roller bearing big ends and eccentrics but I am unable to confirm that at this time as I reckon the crank speed must be in the 400 / 450rpm range.


Garrett eventually sold this waggon and one other like it to Devon County Council and the engine spent its working life conveying quarry materials and roadstone to various projects around the county. The ravages of work and time adorn the rear working area with much scoring evidence of rocks being jammed between the tipping body and the cab.

This waggon ceased its work for Devon CC in the late 1950s and it was rallied for a year or so and painted to its current colour scheme by the owner who I have yet to fully identify and from there it was sold to Mr Charles Matthew Snr. of Toronto Canada. Mr Matthews was an avid collector of all type and kinds or steam vehicles and trains indeed they had a one time collection of over 110 American traction engines. His 2 sons Roger and Charles continued with the family business of house / building movers and they shared their fathers passion for mechanical equipment and when time permitted they ran the many engine that they had. Sadly Roger died before Christmas last year leaving Charles with the dilemma of what to do with all the collection and at 82 and having no heirs he is the last in the line.

This steam waggon was loaded to a Hi cube 40ft container with only ¾” per side clearance and about 1-1/2″ chimney clearance and taken by lorry to Toronto where it was loaded to a train bound for Montreal. From there on to a ship the OOCL BELGIUM and across the Atlantic where the container was offloaded at Antwerp in Belgium and reloaded to a smaller coastal vessel JANA and it arrived in to Grangemouth harbour ironically less than 10 miles from where it was originally based. A lorry conveyed the container to our good friends and colleagues the Cook family in Leven as they had an offloading ramp and without too much container removal difficulty the waggon sat again on Scottish soil after a gap of over 85 years.

Of the 693 overtype steam waggons built by Garrett’s which was a mixture of 3, 5 and 6 ton models there were only 8 of the 6ton models built and this is the 4th last overtype made and the only 6 ton left. There is a further 5 ton model in New Zealand No 34033 which has been converted to a tourist bus and the Worbey family have reconstructed from a few original parts a 3 ton model and that’s all that remains of the 693 overtypes built – we believe, with the last one being completed at the end of January 1927.

Generally the engine is superheated, a Garrett trait and fitted with 3 speed gears and a heavy chain drive through to a rear axle differential drive. The bodywork is a 3 way tipper all hydraulically powered by a Bromilow and Edwards Oildraulic steam turbine unit and as it stands the woodwork is original and probably 90% good with the original canvas roof still intact. The chassis members of this lorry can only be described as massive with a proper Ackerman steering front end and leaf springs all round.
In addition to the twin rear drum brakes there is a massive handbrake assembly where the ferodo shoes are applied to an external drum. The engine is fitted with a pump and 2 injectors together with a water lifter and its solid rubber tyres are fitted to cast steel wheel hubs. Had it not been for the fact that this engine has spent the last 50 plus years indoors in a heated shed it would not be in the good and original condition that we see today.

Our plan is to look at it, and assess it, then look at it some more, and slowly evolve a plan of attack and the only conclusive thing that we do know is that we want the boiler out to make a proper assessment. This project may take some time to complete but we feel that as custodians we owe it to our engineering heritage to treat this waggon correctly. One dilemma, do we return it to William Aitken colours or paint it with Devon County Council colours as it spent really all its working life there, we welcome your views.

Nicol Transport’s New Engine

Nicol Transport recently took delivery of a new engine, here are a few words and pictures by John Dunn

Nicol Transport’s New Engine

The month of March has seen a new addition to the Nicol transport stable of vintage vehicles.

The immaculate ex Les Vernon engine called “Showman” has made it’s way to Portlethen complete with its curtain sider low loader and Volvo tractor unit.

The engine started life in 1925 in Dumfries, called Billy. After forty years of hard work in the borders, Billy was sold on to a new owner a Mr Carrington of Yorkshire.
We don’t know how long he kept the engine for but it was sold on to Mr Slater also of Yorkshire, who changed the name to Delilah.

However it was soon on the move again and a Mr John Toulson of Middleton in Teesdale became the next owner, in 2001.

In 2005 she was acquired by Showman Leslie Vernon of Hetton Le Hole (Tyne and Wear).

Les and his son stripped the engine down and carried out a major refurbishment which was neatly finished off by being repainted and lettered in the livery of L. Vernon and Son amusements. The Vernon family rallied the engine in 2006/2007, however, after an annual firebox and boiler test they were advised the engine needed a new firebox to meet new safety guidelines.

In the winter of 2007, Delilah was completely stripped down again for a second time by the Vernon family and a new firebox made by A.G.Bicknell, new tubes, and tube plates were fitted. The entire engine was reassembled and carefully painted again and was back together again by May of 2008, and it was rallied every year after that.

We look forward to seeing her on the Scottish rally scene and taking her place among the showman’s line up at Castle Fraser rally.

Fowler Showman’s Tractor
Year 1925
Works No. 16439
Reg No. SM 5121
Nominal Horsepower: 6NHP

Steam in the Park 2012 – Cancelled

We have heard from S.T.E.S that they have had to take the difficult decision to cancel the 2012 rally.

It is with regret that the committee of the Scottish Traction engine Society have to announce the cancellation of Steam in the Park on 12th and 13th May, which was to be held at Perth Airport, Scone.

This is due to the initially agreed site size being reduced, at very short notice by 2/3, leaving us with an area too small and unworkable for health and safety reasons.

We have tried extremely hard to find an alternative site for this years event, but have been unable to find a site at an affordable ground rent, so it is with great regret and sadness that we have been left with no choice but to cancel the event.

We would like to thank you all for your support over the past 12 years, it has been greatly appreciated.