The Jones Baler Story

Tales from Wales: The story of David and Glynne Jones, who formed Wales’ most famous equipment company, Jones Baler Co.

| March 2012

  • Jones Baler
    A Jones Cub stationary baler dating to 1942. Whilst the Tiger was marketed to agricultural contractors, the Cub was meant to appeal to individual farmers.
  • Invicta Self Propelled Baler
    Noel Jones with a 1947 Invicta self-propelled baler built by the company started by his father and uncle.
  • Jones Invicta
    The 1947 Jones Invicta owned by Noel Jones. The first of its kind, this self-propelled baler drove, picked up hay and tied its own knots, yet it never really became popular with farmers.
  • Cub Baler
    A Cub in action at the 2010 Bryn Eglwys Show in North Wales. Owner Sam Evans (right) bought the baler in scrap condition in a 2005 auction and restored it himself. These early balers were often called packing machines, for at this stage a man was still required to tie the strings. Big improvements came later when Jones went on to create its successful self-tying system, along with their famous “grooved bale,” which virtually eliminated the problem of the twine slipping off bales.
  • Red Jones Baler
    Many of these Jones balers are still in regular use today. This example was pictured at a recent summer show where many of the Jones balers on display had fresh hay in them, showing that they had come straight from the field to the showground!
  • 1943 Jones Panther Baler
    A 1943 Jones Panther. The Panther was designed to be parked behind a threshing machine so that the straw could fall straight into the baler. Hay could also be forked directly from a stack into the baler. The revolutionary Panther was a self-tying machine, and it could be powered directly off the threshing machine, which meant that a second power source wasn’t necessary.
  • Jones Lion Baler
    The Lion, a large trailed baler dating to about 1942. This model belongs to North Wales collector Merfyn Jones.
  • Jones Combine Harvester
    A rare item, indeed: This Jones combine harvester is on display at the Greenfield Valley Museum in North Wales.
  • Jones Minor
    The Jones Minor, a small self-propelled baler, being tested by former Jones employee John Bumby. It is thought that only three of these remain in existence.
    Photo courtesy of John Bumby
  • Testing Jones Baler
    An original photograph from the Jones archive showing an early baler being tested in the fields.
    Photo courtesy of John Bumby
  • 1950 Jones Combine Harvester
    John Bumby of North Wales testing the Jones combine harvester in the late 1950s. John began working for Jones Balers as an apprentice engineer in 1950. After three years he was promoted to the experimental department and began testing new machines.
    Photo courtesy of John Bumby
  • David And Glynne Jones
    Jones Balers was a Welsh firm of implement makers, founded and run by two brothers from Rhosesmor, David and Glynne Jones. They are shown here with one of their early stationary balers, the Tiger, dating to the early 1940s.
    Photo courtesy of John Bumby
  • Jones Factory
    The Jones factory in the 1950s, when it was in full swing. Jones sold out to Allis-Chalmers in 1961.
    Photo courtesy of John Bumby

  • Jones Baler
  • Invicta Self Propelled Baler
  • Jones Invicta
  • Cub Baler
  • Red Jones Baler
  • 1943 Jones Panther Baler
  • Jones Lion Baler
  • Jones Combine Harvester
  • Jones Minor
  • Testing Jones Baler
  • 1950 Jones Combine Harvester
  • David And Glynne Jones
  • Jones Factory

Jones is one of the most popular surnames in Wales, and it also happens to be the name of a well-known Welsh firm of agricultural implement makers, namely Jones Balers Ltd. As the name suggests, balers were the company’s main line, but it did produce other farm implements too, such as muck spreaders, loaders, roller mills, hay tedders and even combine harvesters, though it is through balers that the company gained worldwide recognition. Jones balers went all over Europe and as far as Australia, and it is said that even Her Royal Highness the Queen bought and used a Jones baler.

Modern machines for modern farmers

In the late 1930s, it is fair to say that Britain had one foot firmly in the past. We were a poor nation, and many farmers were still dependent on horse power. However, we knew full well that mechanization was here to stay and that there was no doubt that it was the way forward. The world was changing and everyone was looking for labour-saving devices, and not just in agriculture, but in the home too.

Two enterprising brothers, David and Glynne Jones, decided that the time was right to set themselves up in business designing state-of-the-art farm implements. David and Glynne were the sons of tenant farmers who had lost their land, which meant that they had to take whatever agricultural work they could to keep the wolf from the door, so to speak. Starting at the very bottom rung with manual work like ditch digging, they managed to climb the ladder until they were successful small-time agricultural contractors. By having to make, mend and adapt machines, the Jones brothers became self-taught engineers.

Seeing the failings in machinery they worked with, they began to design and build their own. Those first few machines that the brothers made were built outside, as they had no facilities of their own. Neither did they have any real capital, which meant that they had to sell their first machine in order to finance the second one, and that’s how the operation continued until they were able to get some money behind them. Another pressure that Jones faced in the early years was a lack of available raw materials. During and just after World War II steel was in short supply, and the company’s output was often restricted by difficulties in sourcing essential materials.



A winning formula

The brothers were lucky enough to fall in with George Williams, a brilliant engineer who had worked as a blacksmith at a nearby mine in North Wales. Having worked as farm contractors, the brothers were full of plans of how best to maximize agricultural productivity, and with George Williams’ skills they were able to put those ideas into reality. Jones Balers Ltd. soon took over an old lead works in Rhosesmor, North Wales, not far from the brothers’ home, and the first project that they really became known for was the manufacture of the Tiger stationary baler in 1942. Like most large farm implements of the era, the Tiger was aimed at farm contractors rather than private landowners. Later, in a bid to sell to farmers themselves, Jones brought out the Cub, a smaller and more affordable version of the Tiger.

Bales produced by these early balers were tied manually, which meant that the baler was little more than a packing machine. However, improvements were very soon made, and with the advent of the Panther, Jones took a big step forward. The Panther was a large self-tying baler. It was designed to sit next to a haystack and have the hay forked onto the large pick-up area, or better still to sit behind a threshing machine and bale the straw as it fell from the threshing box. The fact that it could be powered by the threshing machine meant that one tractor, or traction engine, could power both the threshing machine and the baler.



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