A pocket history of Commonwealth Engineering - Comeng
I was recently sent a magnificent book entitled A History of Commonwealth Engineering written by John Dunn published by Rosenberg for review on the site. While reading through the book, I jotted a few notes to make this short pocket history of this interesting and diverse organisation as covered in Volume 1 of the book - 1921 to 1955. This is just a bit of an appetite wetter for John's book.…
Recently Rob Laurent released his latest book from Blue Flyer Publishing, Southern Cross Engines An Illustrated History of Toowoomba Foundry's Steam, Internal Combustion and Windmill Engines.
Being in touch with Rob from time to time, and being interested in Southern Cross (mainly because I own and will restore a PB fig. 1081 4hp kerosene engine) I decided to buy a copy. Southern Cross information has traditionally been scarce. The company had an amazing and diverse history. Based in engineering, the company got into agriculture, industrial, irrigation, aviation, railways, marine and many other adventures. Following the traditional Australian model they would send employees overseas to work in foundries around the world to learn new skills and methods and more importantly "borrow" successful designs to make them in the land of the no patent rights Australia!
Rob has done an amazing job of researching the company, interviewing hundreds of employees past and present, sifting what records are available, interviewing collectors and restorers. I cannot recommend this book more highly - I have to admit company history is a dry subject, but Rob has made it actually interesting. For each engine model there is vital technical information (invaluable to the restorer and operator alike). There are hundreds of photos of engines both in their current show status and as they were (and indeed still are in many cases) used. Rob has also reproduced the serial number records which will allow people to reliably date their machines.
At about AU$50 this book is just amazing value.
Chapter ListChapter 1: Steam Engines 1876-1917
Chapter 2: Early Internal Combustion engines 1910-1926
Chapter 3: The Engine Makers - up until 1926
Chapter 4: The Large P-Type and Small P-Type Kerosene Engines: 1926-1944; The Farm Pump 1927-1959
Chapter 5: The Y-Type Diesels 1933-1938, The Y Series and Improved Y Series Diesels 1938-1954, The A Series Petrol Engines 1939-1952
Chapter 6: The B Series Diesels 1944-1955, The G Series Diesels 1954-1961
Chapter 7: The First Air Cooled Diesels - ET Series and derivatives 1951-1960
Chapter 8: Petrol Engines and Mowers 1958-1973
Chapter 9: The End of the Line - EF and ED Series Diesels 1959-1983
Chapter 10: Windmills engines 1876-1983
Epilogue: The Toowoomba Foundry and Southern Cross Today
Appendix I: Other Southern Cross Products
Appendix II: Engine Production: Dates and Serial Numbers
Thanks for all your hard work Rob - an amazing effort. I look forward to your next work!
Product DetailsProduct reviewed: Magazine: The Blackstone Collection
Reviewer: Paul Pavlinovich
Date Reviewed: 01 Feb 2002
Overall Rating (0 = Terrible, 5 = Satisfactory, 10 = Magnificent): 8
Product made available for review by: Michael Key
Product is available from: Michael Key (see end of review)
Price UK£12 including overseas postage.
General CommentsThe Blackstone Collection is a new, independent, venture aimed at everyone who has an interest in the history and products of Blackstone & Co. Ltd., of Stamford. The company, which was founded in 1837, became one of the country's leading manufacturers, first of agricultural and barn machinery, then stationary oil engines. It still exists, as a successful part of the MAN B&W group of companies.
This A5 format magazine celebrates the firm's history and products, the familiar as well as the odd and the rare. Using mostly unpublished or rarely published photographs, drawings, sales material, etc., the articles within record over 160 years of success and failure. There will also be features on the current collection and restoration scene.…
Product DetailsProduct reviewed: Chronicles of a Country Works by Ronald H. Clark CDROM Book
Reviewer: Paul Pavlinovich, extra comment by Chris Henderson
Date Reviewed: 21 October 1999
Rating Key: 1 = Poor, 4 = Satisfactory, 7 = Good, 10 = Magnificent
Overall Rating: 8
Ease of use Rating: 8
Content Rating: 10
Product made available for review by: Cindy Ives of Ives Trading
Ives Trading, PO Box 118, Burpengary QLD 4505, phone 0412 959 626 (from outside Oz dial +61 412 959 626).
Price for CDROM edition $A55 posted anywhere within Australia
Printed edition $A75 posted anywhere within Australia
General CommentsWith the silly season just around the corner, we're always on the lookout for presents for fellow steam & engine nuts. I think Ive's Trading have come up with a winner with their new CDROM publication Chronicles of a Country Works which is a modern reproduction of Ronald H. Clark's monumental work documenting the rise and fall of Burrell.
A new book...This is not the first publication of Ronald H. Clark's that I have had the pleasure of reading. I read another of his traction engine works when it first came out on CDROM some time ago. Whenever I get a new book I like to sit down and flick through just taking a look at the pictures and chapter headings to give me an idea of what I will find within the pages. The CDROM format lends itself perfectly to this by providing "hot links" (just like the links used on a World Wide Web page) from both the Contents and the List of Pictures and diagrams. To those of you not familiar with CDROM, it is simply a Compact Disc, which instead of holding music holds information in a form suitable for reading by computer. Today it is uncommon to have a computer which does not include a CDROM drive (the device which is used to read the CDROM by the computer).
As you might expect from the title, the book covers the chronicles of a country works focusing on Charles Burrell and Sons of Thetford. The book details the early days of Burrell, through their advances and setbacks, their patents, finalisation of their single and double compound engines, and goes on to describe the works and the firm itself then finally into the decline of Burrells. A full list of the engines, (including serial numbers, and dates) produced by the firm is listed in an Appendix. To a Burrell collector this alone is worth the price of the book.…