Early Agricultural Tractors


    MR. R. H. CLARK, in the Engineer of February 2, under the title "Some Early Burrell Engines", recalls an almost forgotten chapter in the development of steam traction engines, built mainly for agricultural work. In 1846, James Boydell took out a patent for his "Endless Railway", and eight years afterwards patented improvements on it. His ideas were taken up by Charles Burrell and Co., a firm of country engineers established at Thetford in 1770, and in 1856 the first road locomotive was constructed embodying the principle of the "Endless Railway". The general arrangement of the traction engine was much as that familiar a few years ago, but each of the wheels, instead of running on the surface of the road or field, ran on a series of flat shoes which in succession were brought into position by links and pins attached to the wheels. There were six shoes to each wheel.

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    Early Agricultural Tractors. Nature 145, 345 (1940). https://doi.org/10.1038/145345a0

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