| January/February 1967

58 Bowie Ave., Toronto, Canada

I was pleased to see a picture of a Sentinal steam wagons picture in a recent Iron-Men Album. What a pity we didn't get a bigger picture also one from the side view. There must be hundreds of pictures of these different classes of steam wagons. By the way, these are called and spelled 'steam wagons' by the Sentinal Co. Other companies called and spelled them steam wagon. There was the Fosters, The Clayton, The Manns wagon of Leeds which was a great wagon for handling.

I used to deliver 1750 building bricks each load and do five load a day. My mate and I wheeled them out of the hot kilns by 50's on a barrow. How did we count? As we brought them out we threw a brick down on the ground. The bricks were hot and we had pieces of inner tube tires cut to fit over the front part of our fingers and thumbs. We started for the yard at 6 A.M. and we hadn't time to stop for a bite to eat and drink until after 6 or 7 o'clock at night, but it was fun and interesting.

I also drove a threshing set at a small village outside of Nottingham. The employer's name was W. Forman & Son, Branston, Lincolnshire, England. The man who had the Manns wagon was Preston & Son, Wadleybridge, Sheffield, England.

During the latter part of the first world war the son drove a Foster engine, which was a very good engine with drum, 22 ft., straw jack and cut box. After the war I drove various wagons, namely the Clayton, Sentinel and Foden and then finished up on a Mann wagon. The Mann wagon had the weight distributed very good and the engine had three speeds. The man in Sheffield, Yorkshire, England had a compound engine. I drove one, the son drove the new one and the old man kept one in the yard in case one of us broke down. I only had one near thing with the Manns wagon. I was going up hill on low gear when my differential gear broke on the rear axle. I was quick to screw the brake as we started to run backwards and slowed the wagon and load enough for my mate to throw a chock under the wheels. We used to carry one hanging on the back by a hook. We worked all night and started in the morning as usual with the differential repaired and only lost two loads as we didn't sleep for 48 hours. Another time I was driving a Sentinel and it had snowed. I had been to Manchester from Sheffield to get a load of bottled stout when the sun came out and I took the heavy chains we used off the wheels to make faster time. The road was dry in the middle but we got to a road where we used to detour to miss a big hill, which was closed, thinking it would be dry we hit where the children were sleighing down the hill but I couldn't stop. My mate jumped off. The boiler had 250 lbs. of steam! I threw the brake and swung round and round four times, hitting the wall each time and best of all, missing the children. One child was in a baby carriage being pushed by her sister. While swinging around I saw an opening in a cutting in the side of the hill and gave the Sentinel steam and it shot up the hill into the bank. Not a bottle broke! The road was so bad that cars where coming down backwards and piling into the bank. Damage to my steamer was 250 pounds. I had one or two more adventures with narrow squeaks but never gave up.

John Forman
10/5/2010 4:25:06 PM

Hi, I was really pleased to read the story SPEAKING OF WAGGONS by Edward Chapman. My family were the Forman's, who started off with Steam engines and threshing sets, and eventually became a large haulauge firm, till 1985. I am interested in any information on W Forman, or on the waggons they had. I am also keen to learn on the 1929 Sentinal lorry they owned, bought from Shrewsbury factory. Any info will be greatly accepted, to help me put together my family history project. Many Thanks, John Forman, Lincolnshire, England. johnforman271@hotmail.com


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