Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. was
formed on September 11th, 1918 when Ruston, Proctor & Co. Ltd. of Lincoln bought
the firm of Richard Hornsby & Sons Ltd. of Grantham.
Both Companies had dabbled in the construction of internal combustion powered locomotives, with Hornsby's being the first. In 1896 they built an oil engined locomotive for use at the Woolwich Arsenal. This locomotive was of 18 inch gauge and was powered by a single-cylinder, horizontal Hornsby-Akroyd oil engine of 9 1/2hp. Further locos were supplied up until 1902.
Hornsby-Akroyd locomotive of 1900 for Woolwich Arsenal.
Ruston, Proctor & Co. Ltd. produced their first internal combustion locomotives in 1915. The locomotive was closely based on contemporary locos being built by the German firm of Deutz. About a dozen were produced between 1915 and 1918 mostly for use in munitions factories. They were powered by Ruston's 10hp ZRH single cylinder engine (or a two-cylinder in the 20hp version), which was started on petrol and once warmed up, was switched to paraffin. Some of these locos were built under Ruston & Hornsby and were given numbers in their series. The last known loco of this type was delivered in 1930 (w/n 147026).
Ruston, Proctor locomotive of 1918.
It was not until 1931 that Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. started to build new locomotives of their own design, this was done to keep the works going during the prevailing slump of the time. The first R&H designed locomotive was a 2-ft gauge, 10hp oil-engined loco, powered by a twin cylinder vertical engine, made by Lister of Dursley, Gloucestershire. The first loco, w/n 163997 was delivered to Manchester Corporation on 1st September 1931.
The first locomotive built by Ruston & Hornsby, a 10hp type w/n 163997.
Please note that all photographs on this site are from the Ruston & Hornsby archives or are original R&H photos from my own collection unless stated otherwise, and are reproduced here by the kind permission of Mr R.E. Hooley.
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