Road Rollers

A Book Review


| January/February 1993



Wallis & Stevens Simplicity roller

Wallis & Stevens Simplicity roller, built 1929. 3 NHP, No. 7981.

'Oron,' 11 Avenue Road Chelmsford, CM2 9TY England

Steam rollers first appeared in 1865 and were a familiar sight in Britain for over 100 years. They were joined thirty or so years later by motor rollers, and both are now the objects of affection and nostalgia by very many collectors.

It is not often that a new book devoted solely to road rollers be comes available, and therefore, when it happens it is eagerly acquired by enthusiasts.

Such a book, entitled Road Rollers, has recently been published, written by Derek Rayner, Archivist of the Road Roller Association of Great Britain. Derek is the author of a book on the life and work of Thomas Aveling (the father of the steam roller) and he is an authority on rollers, propelled either by steam or the internal combustion engine.

Although only a small book, there is a terrific amount of information packed into Road Rollers, supplemented by over forty photographs and illustrations. A chapter, 'Pioneering Developments,' takes the reader from the first steam roller, built in 1863, through many of the various changes evolved by different manufacturers, on to the advent, in the late 1890s, of the motor roller. The chapter also gives reasons why internal combustion engines were gradually preferred to steam power.

In a separate chapter on motor rollers, mention is made of the two distinct lines of initial thought as to what form the development might take: whether to have the single-cylinder slow running engine, or a multi-cylinder high speed engine.