Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Richard Hornsby and Sons: Hornsby Mammoth

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1910. Hornsby Chain Track Tractor.

Note: This is a sub-section of Richard Hornsby and Sons

This steam-powered tractor has been in Canada since it was shipped as a new machine from England in 1910. Built by R. Hornsby & Sons of Grantham England, the crawler track principle was patented in 1904. The following year, the device known as a "chain track" was fitted to a Hornsby oil tractor built in 1896.

Several other Hornsby oil powered tractors were completed with crawler tracks, but despite energetic promotion, including the first film ever made for commercial purposes (1908), and demonstrations for high-ranking military personnel, the idea did not catch on. This machine was originally sold to the Northern Light Power & Coal Company for hauling coal to Klondike gold fields in the Yukon.

After this lone sale, the Hornsby company became disillusioned and sold the patent rights of the "chain track" to the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1914. Holt later combined with Best to become the Caterpillar Tractor Company.

This was the only steam powered chain track machine built by Hornsby. Only the tracked chassis is known to remain, the boiler and engine having been removed at some point.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Friends of the Hornsby Mammoth
  • [2] Hornsby Crawler