Thursday, 29 August 2013

The Great Dorset Steam Fair (6 of 6): Ploughing & Miniatures...

Hi guys. Well, for the 6th and final time here we go for another Great Dorset Steam Fair post. Right up on the edge of the fair in a very large field stand the famous Ploughing Engines. Arguably the largest traction engines ever built, the Ploughing engines are specifically designed to do just that: plough! Their large stature and strong build results in some very powerful engines and the Fowler's that stood on the field before us today were no exception. Underneath their large boiler's they carry a winding drum which has a ring of teeth on the top. The drum holds a huge length of very strong steel cable which is connected to a plough. A pair of ploughing engines are required to do the job: one at each end of the field.

The engine which currently 'has the plough' will give a quick whistle to signal to the now 'hauling' engine that it is time to commence the pull. The drum is driven from the cylinder block and valve gear on the engine just as the wheels are but, when not in drive-gear, a dog-clutch is engaged which starts the drum underneath the boiler moving. As the cable becomes tight, the plough will begin to make its steady way down the field. The steersman (or steersmen) riding on the plough have to ensure that it is kept in line. When the plough reaches the hauling engine the dog-clutch is released and the drum will stop turning. The driver on the engine can then shut the regulator to cut-off the supply of steam and thus stop the engine. The process is then repeated, with the plough going back and forth until the job is done. As the field is gradually ploughed, the engines will now & again have to be put into drive-gear and driven forward a few feet or so to keep the plough in line with them, and to progress across the field...
There were three pairs of ploughing engines in action today on the ploughing demonstrations, with another extra standing alone...
A few years ago I met Fowler Ploughing Engine "Margaret" of 1870 at the Torbay Steam Fair (see post). I spotted her when I was a bit younger as she was the subject of the TV restoration series known as "Salvage Squad". One of the episodes centred on the restoration of "Margaret" from a scrapyard wreck to the beautiful condition that she is seen in today. She is beautiful (and very big!)...
"Margaret" & another Fowler Plougher (No1364)...
Another Fowler in 'rusty', work-tired condition!...
The ploughing field with four of the Fowler's in view...
"Margaret" and her plough...
Here, "Margaret" is pressed into action on the ploughing (her sisters are a good way away, at the top of this sizeable field)...
"Fowler" trio...
John Fowler's were famous as producers of huge Ploughing Engines and I've only ever seen Fowler types around. I am not sure if any other manufacturers attempted to make them...
Thanks for the display!...
Below, "Margaret" does the Ploughing in a short clip I took...

It was a great pleasure to see the Ploughers in action and it was certainly a first for me. Though I've seen a fair few Ploughers around, I hadn't seen them actually doing the job before. Very impressive indeed. And now onto the Miniatures...
Though the Great Dorset Steam Fair does centre around full size steam, the Miniatures are of course included. I think there were well over 50 odd there, dotted about the place. This one was a beauty...a 6" Burrell Road Loco named "Black Pearl", built to pretty much the same proportions as "Wandering Star"...
The infamous and very popular 4" Garratt...
A Blue Burrell gets to grips with a Sawbench in 4" Scale...
Now that's a nice Burrell...
A 4" Burrell doing some Flour Milling...
 A 4" Garratt Roller gets to grips with Wood Splitting...
B.P.Harris' 4" Garratt Roller...
A massive 6" Burrell DCC Showmans Engine..."Wow"!...
4" Threshing with Foster & Ransomes set...
Well folks...finally(!), we have come to the end! Thank you all so much for reading and for taking an interest in my posts about the GDSF. The show is just huge, it really is and its size can really not be described in words. The exhibits are countless and you probably need at least 2 days to really appreciate everything that there is to see...if not a bit longer. We spent about 9 hours at the show and still only saw the steam stuff really...but that's what we came for! For £15 you cannot grumble...there is a huge amount of stuff to see. It really is fantastic. So, thank you guys once again and I hope you have enjoyed reading about the one-and-only Great Dorset Steam Fair...
"Long Long Ago on a Dorset Plain
Engines Gathered In The Pouring Rain
In A Field In A Village That They Call Stourpaine
The Stourpaine Gathering"
(Dr Busker)
"South Down
At Tarrant Hinton Its South Down
Great Dorset Steam Fair At South Down"
(Dr Busker)
Thanks Guys - Sam

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had to comment Sam, what an awesome set of posts. It was the next best thing to being there, and I really enjoyed reading and checking out the pictures. Glad you managed at least the one vid as well, and on ploughing engines too! They are my absolute favourites. I always remember standing at the halfway point in the field between the two ploughing engines at the GDSF, and as the plough passed by, almost silently, all you could hear was the tilling sound of the soil, simply amazing! Thanks for the great posts! Emma-claire.