Marshall Steam: Welshman Holds Fast to His Dream

A 1915 Marshall steam tractor was the restoration project of one Welshman with a fascination for steam power.

Marshall Steam Tractor

Mike Jones’ handsomely restored Marshall steam tractor. 

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This 1915 Marshall steam tractor is owned by Mike Jones, the man who found the 1930 Canadian Photograph Album in a secondhand shop. Mike bought this tractor for £75 ($179 then, $1,106 today) in 1969, knowing that it had major boiler problems. Then 22, he was earning £12 a week. But Mike had a huge enthusiasm for steam, and this was his dream machine, so he saved for months to buy it.

For years Mike spent his spare time learning about steam by volunteering to help out enthusiasts, and he saved every penny to put towards this massive restoration project. Eventually he was able to pay to have the boiler problems sorted out, but that was only the beginning. It was to be decades before the machine was fully restored, but despite having no real premises of his own, Mike did much of the work himself and never gave up.

Early on, the tractor was used in haulage, an ideal application as it is faster on the road than a traction engine. Later it was converted into a road roller and following that was used for 40 years surfacing roads. It still had its rollers on when Mike bought it, but Mike was keen to return the tractor to its original form, so he converted it back into a wheeled machine. Mike and his son Hedd regularly take the tractor to shows, and they always drive her to and from events under her own steam, which has made for some long and smoky days on the road! FC