Aveling & Porter Ltd

Aveling was concerned about the effectiveness of agricultural machinery and from 1852 he concentrated on experimenting with the use of steam power which resulted the first steam plough in 1856. The plough turned out to be very successful.

By 1858 Aveling had two premises in Rochester and a small foundry on the site of the future Invicta Works in Strood.

To a man such as Aveling the spectacle of portable engines being dragged around by teams of horses when the engines had more than sufficient power to move themselves seemed nonsensical. He compared using six horses to pull such an engine as “six sailing vessels towing a steamer” which was “an insult to mechanical science”. In 1858 he adapted Clayton, Shuttleworth & Co portables by attaching a chain from the flywheel to a cog on a rear wheel. In the following year he obtained a patent for this which included the specification for devices for varying the tension in the chain and for disengaging it “so that a traction engine can be used as a stationary portable engine at will”. His foundry and other premises were too small for the construction of a complete traction engine, so the 1859 locomotive was built for him by Claytons.

Having solved the propulsion issue, Aveling next turned to steering. His first engines had required a horse in shafts attached to the front wheels for steerage. In 1860 he replaced the horse with a steerable wheel in between the horse shafts. The steersman sat on the back of the shafts and operated a tiller to turn the wheel.

Starting in 1868 Aveling & Porter started to supply the government with road locomotives, traction engines and rollers.

Aveling & Porter built several small shunting / tram locos based on their traction engines. They were basically traction engines with flanged wheels and no steering. Their advantages were that they were cheap to manufacture (and to design in the first place) and they could be operated with minimal training by someone who was familiar with traction engines.

Preserved Locomotives

Works NoBuiltNameTypeLocation
80718720-4-0WTOn loan to Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
35671895Sydenham4wWTBuckinghamshire Railway Centre
61581906Sirapite0-4-0WTLong Shop Museum at Leiston
88801917Sir Vincent0-4-0WTGPrivate site at Fifield
94491926Blue Circle2-2-0WTNene Valley Railway

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