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TAS Country : August 26th 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010 Tasmanian Country 23 Tractor Tragic mustered by Marshalls WORKHORSE: A Marshall Model 12-20 diesel tractor which came to Australia in March 1938 is displayed at the Vintage Tractor Shed Museum at Westbury. It was therefore a natural progression for Marshalls to test the water with internal combustion engines and in 1906 engaged Vauxhall engineer Henry Bamber to design them an engine for tractor use.' To be continued the first production tractors, few photo- graphs exist of them but they were certainly very basic machines. By 1930, Marshalls had their new tractor ready and what was to become known as the Model E 15-30 horse- power tractor made its debut at the World tractor trials in Wallingford Oxfordshire on June 2, 1930, where its performance could be pitted against other makes of similar design and multi-cylinder competitive makes. The results were mixed for Mar- shalls. Their tractor had brilliant fuel economy but simply did not have the power at the dr- awbar to compete with the Lanz or HSCS tractors also on trial. No doubt a re- ported slipping clutch and injec- tor problems were not helping the tractors cause but it must have caused some concern to Marshalls to be that far behind the competition in drawbar power but some consolation knowing that they had an engine with great fuel economy. Marshalls must have been thinking along the lines of a number of compan- ies over the years --- if you can't beat your competitor, buy them out and eliminate the competition which also has you inherit their knowledge. At the time, German banks actually controlled around 73% of the Heinrich Lanz AG Company in Mannheim and wanting to get out of this particular investment. Marshalls sent a representative to Germany for talks but returned de- jected when it was revealed that 500,000 pounds would be needed to purchase the Lanz Company --- it would not be long before the banks realised what a goldmine they had in Lanz when sales continued to rise worldwide through continued product development. If only Marshalls had been able to raise the capital required they would have pulled off one of greatest coups in the industry. With the plans to buy out Heinrich Lanz AG shelved, Marshalls had to look at what they had in the Model E 15-30 horse- power tractor, and more to the point, its short- comings and what could be done to improve it. On the face of it, the Model E should have been a good design and a fairly attractive one at that. The cylinder in the Model E was a massive eight inch bore using a piston with a 10½ inch stroke with a com- pression ratio of 15½:1. Starting such an engine with these dimensions from cold on diesel on the handle would be impossible without some sort of assistance and Marshalls employed a decompression valve in the cylinder head activated by a ratchet control off the flywheel. Even with this set up, starting a Model E 15-30 could be a two-man job on the crank handle. Marshall's main problem was the injection equipment of their own manufacture with sticking valves and faulty pumps; these problems were eventually overcome by admitting de- feat in this area and buying in pumps from Bosch in Germany. This should have been the making of the tractor which was available in industrial guise as well but then further problems arose with broken crankshafts, transmission housings and gear selectors. Compounding the problems was the fact many of the tractors had been exported necessitating expensive freight costs back to the Gainsborough works for warranty work with re- designed components. Most tractors that went back out to the customer were no longer the Model E 15-30 horsepower machine that left the farmer, but a new improved ma- chine known as the Model 18-30. Officially, around 70 Model 15-30 tractors were built in the period from 1930-1932 with some- thing like 60 going back through to be brought up to Model 18-30 specification tractors. The Model 18-30 had benefitted from a cylinder block with re- worked ports through the work of noted British engineer Harry Riccaro which saw the gain in three horsepower on the belt pulley --- enough at last to put the tractor on level pegging with competitors on power from the belt pulley and through better torque characteristics on the drawbar. It was now easily dis- tinguished from the earlier 15-30 by the use of a new oval shaped fuel tank. Marshalls made great attempts at a bigger export drive for the Model 18-30 tractors over the previous Model 15-30, a number were rebadged as Clayton tractors to head for markets where Mar- shalls themselves did not hold export licenses. Production was al- ways slow as the tractors were built along steam engine production lines. This meant cus- tomers could specify whatever colour scheme they wanted --- maroon, grey, blue and green could be had complete with pin striping in the best coach- builders tradition --- there was how- ever, a demarcation line in the factory that always existed between the steam and diesel men and there was no way the steam men wanted to see the beloved ''Britannia'' transfer applied to a diesel engine product. While that line of thinking certainly applied, there were a few tractors leaving the works wearing it such was the influence of some long term Mar- shall customers. While the Model 18-30 was a greatly improved product over the Model 15-30, Marshalls were fighting an uphill battle to sell it. They tried to further improve the tractors market by offer- ing the Model 18-30 on ''roadless'' track gear as well as a contractors model with winch but the general opinion was that the Model 18-30 was simply too heavy, cumbersome and too expensive. Production figures of the Model 15-30 and 18/30 tractors amounted to some- thing like a dismal 72. Direct Importing agents and Manufactures PH Rob Ikin 0408 131 692 • USA manufactured premium pivots & linears • Irtec Quality hardhose irrigators • Electric and Diesel Pump Sets • Pipes and fittings SAVE $$$ Buying direct from us without compromising on Quality & Service 122 Boomers Road Launceston, 7250 2041641-100716 STL1105776 Order at www.aaatags.com or Ph: 0419 608 570 Lowest cost NLIS approved sheep ear tags direct from the manufacturer to you!
August 19th 2010
September 2nd 2010