Past and Present:

| July/August 2002

Traction Engines and Threshing Machines

American Engines in Australia

Andrew Gibb, RMB 2175, Wangaratta, Victoria 3678, Australia; e-mail:, writes in from Australia this month:

My father's interest in steam engines here in Australia (he sent a letter recently to IMA [see the May/June 2002 issue, page 28, for Robin Gibb's article on steam trucks in Australia -Editor] after having a great time in America last year) has passed on to me. I am particularly keen on American-built engine that worked in Australia and I have been researching this topic for several years now.

Buffalo-Pitts engines were imported here in great numbers between 1905-1910, especially the smaller engines, and many still exist. This resulted in the then dominant English manufacturers producing more lightly built engines in an attempt to compete with the Buffalos in the Australian market. This was unsuccessful, however, and the Buffalo engines continued to be popular up until about 1910, when the numbers stopped suddenly.

Frick engines were the next most popular make, with at least 23 traction engines used in the state of Tasmania alone. As with English engine sales around Australia, a good agent could shift many engines of one particular make, even though there were other engines of similar qualities about. Thus, Buffalo-Pitts and Frick had good agents.

Other makes of engines that came here in smaller numbers, some not even now existing, were: Avery, C. Aultman, Birdsall, Buffalo Springfield, Case, Dederick Co., Farquhar, Gaar-Scott, Huber, Iroquois, O.S. Kelly, Maybrick, Peerless, Sawyer & Massey, and Waterais.