Thomas Aveling

Thomas Aveling.

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Above: Aveling and Porter's 1871 design of steam roller, following Aveling's patent No. 509 of 1871. The turning point in roller design with chain steerage, horn plates and conical front rolls. As a result of exhibiting this roller at the Vienna Universal Exhibition, Aveling received a decoration from the Emperor of Austria in 1873.

Above: Photo of roadroller similar to that used in Central Park, New York in 1869. Supplied by Aveling & Porter, Rochester, Kent, England.

The Road Roller Association, a British organization formed in 1974, recently marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Thomas Aveling, a pioneer in traction engine development and manufacture.

March 7 was the date of the centenary. Advance information sent this magazine told us that a plaque was to be unveiled on the site of the original Aveling & Porter factory, now occupied by Winget Ltd.

Derek Rayner, chairman of the Road Roller Association, felt that some of our readers might wish to contribute funds to help defray expenses for the plaque erection. Avening's grave, four miles away in a churchyard, is to be restored.

Aveling is credited with revolutionizing road construction with his steam rollers, and starting mechanization of the British Army through some of his traction engines delivered to the Royal Engineers in 1871.

The first steam rollers in America were made by Aveling. One went to Prospect Park, and the other to Central Park, both in New York. Commissioners of Central Park reported that at a cost of $10.00 a day as much was accomplished with the Aveling roller as in two days with a 7-ton roller drawn by 8 horses at a cost of $20.00 a day.

If you wish to aid the plaque fund, send your gift to Road Roller Association, c/o Secretary, 40, Pares Way, Ockbrook, Derby, England DE7 3TL.