Model of a single cylinder reciprocating steam ploughing engine

c. 1850

Scale model of a single cylinder reciprocating steam ploughing engine, ca. 1850.

This is a model of a very early, single-cylinder, reciprocating steam ploughing engine, which was made when ploughing by steam was in its infancy.

It is similar to descriptions of a ploughing engine made by the famous locomotive engineer of the GWR, Daniel Gooch, in 1850, for Lord Willoughby de Eresby's steam ploughing trials at Grimsthorpe Estate in Lincolnshire. The engine did not pull ploughs behind like a tractor. Instead it propelled the plough across the field using long cables or chains on the winding drums seen under the body. The boiler and firebox are a toy-like solid block of wood, with simplified fittings more for effect than working accuracy.

Together with the prominent handles, it suggests a salesman's demonstration model used to persuade conservative farmers that in future ploughing would be steam-driven rather than horse-drawn.

On display

Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Agricultural Engineering
Object Number:
steam ploughing engine
Science Museum

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