John Fowler and Co
From Graces Guide
John Fowler and Co, agricultural engineers of the Steam Plough Works, Leeds.
See sub-sections on -
- Agricultural Machinery
- Commercial Vehicles
- Portable Engines
- Semi-Portable Engines
- Railway Engines
- Road Locomotive
- Steam Driven Engines
- Tracked Vehicles
1850 John Fowler, Junior started work on application of steam-power to agricultural uses, in the first instance for drainage.
1861 July. Leed's trial of steam ploughing. Fowlers steam cultivator of 12 hp ploughed and scarified four acres in four hours. It is made by Kitson and Hewitson  Fowler's apparatus which he manufactures in his own factory at Leeds in connection with Kitson and Hewitson 
1862 January. Mention of the Steam Plough Works 
1862 The works were expanded. Around 100 employed.
1862 May. Refers to a locomotive at the Airedale works of Kitson, Hewitson and Fowler 
1862 June. Refers to the steam plough business at Kitson, Hewitson and Fowler 
1862 August. Refers to the cultivator of Fowler powered by a 14 hp engine of Kitson and Hewitson. 
1862 November. Refers to Kitson and Hewitson's steam plough works 
1863 Established John Fowler and Co.
1863 August. Steam Ploughing trials at Linton-on-Ouse mentions Fowler's plough and a 14 hp engine by Kiton and Hewitson. 
1864 400 employees
1864 John Fowler was killed in a hunting accident aged 38 years. His brother Robert Fowler became a partner in the company.
1865 The Steam Plough Works enters the locomotive building trade 
1867 Patent by D. Greig of the Steam Plough Works, Leeds for improvements in railways and railway engines 
1870 November. 800 men employed 
1871 Making agricultural machinery for Germany, locomotives for Brazil and winding engines for Cleveland 
1871 Employing 950 hands and Robert W. Eddison is in charge 
1872 Beam engine. Exhibit at Anson Engine Museum. (See photo).
1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham with engines of 6, 8 and 14 hp in a new very dark green colour. 
1876 Members of the Iron and Steel Institute visited their works. 
1881 Employing 1,100 hands and Robert W. Eddison is in charge 
1881 December. The works are badly damaged by fire. 1,500 men affected. David Greig is a partner in the company. Premises are on a nine acre site and border those of Kitson and Co and close to Shepherd and Hill 
1882 Patent to David Greig and Max Eyth for improvements in governors. 
1886 The name John Fowler and Co (Leeds) Ltd was registered and listed as a manufacturer of steam traction engines. The company, John Fowler and Co (Leeds) Ltd was registered on 13 August, to acquire the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. 
1887 Started manufacturing lead-covered electric cables under the patents of Eddison and Tatham.
1888 Robert Fowler died
1888 Building locomotives for an American railway company 
1889 Showed a compound horizontal engine at the RASE at Windsor. 
1891 Supplied horizontal twin-cylinder, Cornish and drop valve winding engine for Abercynon Colliery. Works number 6029.
1891 David Greig J.P. of the Steam Plough Works dies at Headingley Hill age 63. 
1894 Burton-on-Trent Electric light Works. Article and illustration in 'The Engineer'. 
1894 Eight-furrow turnover steam plough. Article in 'The Engineer'. 
1894 June. Royal Agricultural Society's Show. Turnwrest Plough for Steam Cultivation. 
1900 Article and illustration on armoured train made. 
1900 June. Royal Agricultural Show at York. Showed 'Several fine engines'. 
1908 June 24th. Made a Private company 
1910 Produced agricultural tractors and machinery.
1911 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited steam cultivating tackle, road locomotives etc. 
1913 'The manufacture of Road Locomotives, Traction Engines, Tractors, Steam Ploughing Engines, and Road Rollers was commenced at the Steam Plough Works about the year 1850, and our modern engines are the outcome of accumulated experience gained since then. Our works cover an area of over fourteen acres and about 2,800 to 3,000 men and boys are now employed almost exclusively in the manufacture of various types of Steam and Oil Engine and Implements, an obvious proof of the constantly increasing demand for our engines.'
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Steam Motor Wagons, Tractors and Ploughs etc. see the 1917 Red Book including the Tiger range.
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book
1920 Royal Agricultural Show at Darlington. 8-Furrow Turning Plough. 
1920 October. New steam ploughing engine rated at 70 hp and 6,000lb on the rope. 
1924 Built steam powered lorries until 1935 and built 117 in this period.
In 1927 the Gyrotiller was produced, having been designed to work on sugar cane plantations. Its rotary tines could penetrate the soil to a depth of 500 mm. It was successful not only at the sugar estates but also gained interest from contractors. The last Gyrotiller was produced in 1937.
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history
1931 Produced the Marathon 6, their first diesel powered lorry for 6/7ton payloads.
1935 Ceased production of lorries and railway locomotives. It is estimated that they made between 150-300 of the latter.
1937 The last steam engine, a road roller, was produced.
WWII Made Churchill tanks; invented the gyro tiller.
1944 Producing the 2DY diesel marine engine.
1945 June 9th. Made a public company 
1947 June 24th. The petrol and diesel industrial engine part of the business was sold to Associated British Engineering
1948 November. Share prospectus 
1949 As part of the Marshalls group, Fowlers were making tractors at Leeds coordinated with the production at Gainsborough; continued to make diesel-engined rail locomotives up to 300hp
1961 Manufacturers of diesel crawler tractors and diesel locomotives. 1,100 employees. 
1964 & 1966 Chairman is Arnold Carr 
1974 Company ceased trading.
Sources of Information
- The Leeds Mercury, Tuesday, December 6, 1864
- The Farmer's Magazine, 1861
- The Lancaster Gazette, and General Advertiser for Lancashire, Westmorland, Yorkshire, &c., Saturday, July 06, 1861
- The Times, Thursday, Jul 11, 1861
- The Leeds Mercury, Friday, January 24, 1862
- Manchester Times, Saturday, May 10, 1862
- The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, Tuesday, June 24, 1862
- The Leeds Mercury, Wednesday, August 6, 1862
- The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, November 1, 1862
- Biography of John Fowler, ODNB 
- The York Herald, Saturday, August 08, 1863
- The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, November 25, 1865
- The Bradford Observer, Thursday, March 01, 1866
- The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent, Saturday, October 05, 1867
- The Leeds Mercury, Tuesday, September 6, 1870
- The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, November 12, 1870
- The Bradford Observer, Saturday, February 04, 1871
- 1871 Census
- The Leeds Mercury, Tuesday, December 12, 1871
- The Leeds Mercury, Tuesday, December 17, 1872
- The Engineer of 21st July 1876 p40
- The Engineer of 15th August 1876 p180
- The Engineer 1877/07/13
- 1881 Census
- The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, December 17, 1881
- The Blackburn Standard: Darwen Observer, and North-East Lancashire Advertiser, Saturday, July 15, 1882
- The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
- The Morning Post, Wednesday, August 14, 1889
- Glasgow Herald, Saturday, May 12, 1888
- The Engineer of 24th May 1889 p435
- The Engineer of 28th June 1889 p544
- The Leeds Mercury, Wednesday, August 14, 1889
- The Morning Post, Wednesday, August 14, 1889
- The Times, Wednesday, Aug 14, 1889
- The Times, Monday, Mar 23, 1891
- The Engineer 1894/06/08 p508
- The Engineer 1894/06/29 p563
- The Engineer 1894/06/29 p562
- The Engineer 1900/05/25 p536
- The Engineer 1900/05/25 p562 & 564
- The Engineer 1900/06/22 p650
- The Times, Wednesday, Nov 10, 1948
- The Engineer of 8th December 1911 p593
- John Fowler and Co. Catalogue No. 62 Part II. Page 8.
- The Engineer 1920/06/25 p650
- The Engineer 1920/10/29 p434
- The Times, Monday, May 05, 1924
- The Times, Tuesday, May 08, 1945
- The Times, Nov 10, 1948
- The Times, Jan 02, 1947
- The Times, Wednesday, Nov 10, 1948
- The Times, Feb 04, 1949
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- The Times, Friday, Jan 17, 1964
- British Lorries 1900-1992 by S. W. Stevens-Stratten. Pub. Ian Allen Publishing
- Traction Engine Album by Malcolm Ranieri. Pub 2005
- From 1890 to the Present Day Farm Tractors by Michael Williams published in 2005 by Silverdale Books ISBN 978-1-84509-251-1
- British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
- The Modern Diesel edited by Geoffrey Smith. Published by Iliffe & Sons 1944
- The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978/9. ISBN 0-903485-65-6