Finch Foundry, Sticklepath 16th July 2017

Finch Foundry, Sticklepath 16th July, 2017

Text by Michael Coleman: additional text and videos by Mike Brett.

After a lapse of a number of years, the club suggested to the National Trust that, in addition to holding events featuring ‘Classic Cars’ and, separately, ‘Classic Motorbikes’, what it really needed to display to its members and to the paying public at Finch Foundry, Sticklepath was a vintage event that linked Finch to its own heritage and past – the agricultural sector that provided the market for the tens of thousands of edge tools that it produced over so many decades and sold all over the South West.

And so it came to pass that the Trust advertised a “Marvellous Machinery” event, sub-titled a “Vintage Tractor Day”, where “Mid Devon Tractor, Engine and Machinery Group will be here to display some of their amazing collection including rare and interesting tractors, engines and machinery. A rare opportunity to see some workhorses of farming past.”

No pressure, then, after that build-up, but the club took it in its stride and members duly brought along a good representative selection of vintage tractors, with a particular emphasis on Fordson in the centenary of Fordson production. In the circumstances, pride of place went to Andrew Green’s Fordson F from 1918 (well, almost a hundred years old!) and there was a good selection representing the Fordson models down through the years, as well as fine examples of many other makes of tractors. On the other side from the line-up of tractors were the dozen or so working engines and machinery, again with some dating back for around a hundred years. In the Finch context, there were also displays of old farm and horticultural tools, including a fine selection that had been made at Finch – something particularity appreciated by the NT volunteers who were on hand to look after their members and the public, As well as our displays, Finch ran its own water-driven machinery demonstrations and a blacksmith was also working on site. There was a very good attendance and the National Trust has invited the club to return again on 15 July 2018.

Here are some descriptive notes and short videos of the individual engines we displayed.

Crossley “OTTO” Rotary Valve Gas Engine

This engine was supplied new to Seage & Son, Printers Engineers, Clifton Road, Exeter on 4th June 1892. (Incidentally they later manufactured their own gas engine called “THE EXONIA”).
I purchased the engine in 1964 minus its rotary valve and hot tube burner. It remained incomplete until early 2003 when I borrowed parts from another engine as a pattern and made the missing parts from suitable pieces of scrap metal on my lathe and milling machine.

Video recorded at the Finch Foundry ‘Gas-Up’, 16th July, 2017

Owned by Keith White, Henstill, Sandford, Devon

S C single cylinder air-cooled Norman

1.5 HP, made in 1940
Fuel petrol – ignition BTH Magneto

The Norman Engineering Co Ltd was founded in 1919. At that time, production was based on a small air-cooled four-stroke engine, as fitted to the Kenilworth motor scooter. Production continued until late 1925, followed by the introduction of the D type; a number of engines were direct coupled to 24 volt dynamos by Bungalyte. Production of the D type ended in 1928 when the S type was introduced. In 1935, the S C type was added to the range (as seen here) and was available until 1958.
The engine was bought in poor condition and restored by the owner.

Video recorded at the Finch Foundry ‘Gas-Up’, 16th July, 2017

Owned by Des Ransom, Crediton

Lister Model D Engine

This Lister D was supplied new to Henry Norrington & Co of Exeter on the 17th July 1941.

It was then passed to W Shepherd & Son Engineers, and finally to Nymet Barton Farm, Nymet Rowland to pump water to the reservoir.

Video recorded at the Finch Foundry ‘Gas-Up’, 16th July, 2017

Owned by Emma Hooper, Chulmleigh

Lister D Engine with Godwin pump

Engine No. 1/16907
Made in 1956 (?)
1.5 HP, 700 RPM

Bought as seen, 15 October 2016

Video recorded at the Finch Foundry ‘Gas-Up’, 16th July, 2017

Owned by Derek Smith, Copplestone

Ruston Hornsby Class APB Engine

Class APB Serial Number 145654
Sold on 6th September 1927 to C.P.Slade
2.5 BHP at 520 RPM

The APB engines were the smallest of the AP class of premium engines produced by RH. Only a relatively small number were manufactured, one reason possibly being the fact that the Ruston Hornsby class PR were also in production at the same time and were a less expensive engine to purchase. Due to the low number of APB engines existing they are much sought after by collectors who specialise in the RH brand.

This is a petrol/paraffin engine. It is started on petrol and once warmed up will run on paraffin. The carburettor has a large float chamber which is filled with petrol through the lid on the top to start the engine. Once the engine is warm and just before the petrol runs out the main fuel tap is turned on to allow paraffin to flow into the carburettor.

Lubrication of the piston and big end bearing is by drip feed oiler. The oil to the big end is fed into a circular trough attached to the crankshaft and is carried into the bearing by centrifugal force. The two main bearings are also lubricated with oil from small reservoirs on top of the bearings and feed it down tubes to the bearing. The wicks are made from “worsted” wool. The downside of wick oilers is the fact that they will continue to wick oil into the bearing even when the engine is stopped. The only way to stop the oil flow is to draw out the wicks or the flow will continue until the reservoirs are empty.

Video recorded at the Finch Foundry ‘Gas-Up’, 16th July, 2017

Owned by Alan Barratt, Colyton, Devon

Campbell “Little Samson” pumping set

This engine pumped water for a country house near Ashburton.

Manufactured in 1908.

Video recorded at the Finch Foundry ‘Gas-Up’, 16th July, 2017

Owned by Keith White, Henstill, Sandford, Devon