A Treasure Trove of Farm Equipment

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The Science Museum in London, England, is a treasure trove of examples of farm machinery and equipment as a part of a collection that every steam and gas (petrol) collector should see.

Located across the street from the famed Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum contains hundreds of thousands of items covering virtually every known age of man.

On our recent visit, we concentrated on the transportation and farm sections. There are actual pieces of equipment such as big early steam engines, and small models of machinery in diorama exhibits which show the development of farm mechanization over the years.

You can see models of Cugnot's steam traction engine of 1770-71, Murdock's locomotive of 1786, and Trevithick's locomotive of about 1797.

A sad story accompanies the model of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney's steam carriage. It seems that the carriage was built in 1827 but Lord Gurney encountered many problems. He was hampered by speed regulations of 4 miles an hour; excessive road toll charges, and opposition from horse and coach owners, so he quit and sold out.

An early Aveling & Porter steam traction engine (built 1871) is shown as one of the earliest of its kind. The placard notes that it is steered by center front wheels and has gear driven rear wheels.

This engine was built, the placard says further, 11 years after Thomas Avery 'The Father of the Traction Engine', first introduced a self-propelling power plant. It is green and red with brass trim.

With a 1917 Fordson tractor is the information the Lord Northcliffe persuaded Henry Ford to start mass production of the Fordson. This was to aid England's World War I effort. The Fordson shown is No. 1857, one of the first delivered to Britain. The entire British order of 7,000 was delivered within 6 months.

Another exhibit is a black Ferguson tractor, and plough of 1935, the 'prototype tractor and mounted plough' which Harry Ferguson developed the three-pointed linkage and hydraulic control of mounted vehicles.

The Science Museum has far more everything from machines to explore the ocean deep to those which soar in outer space, as well as examples of what science has done to make it easier to live on earth.