Henry Brown’s Vintage Diary
Farmers Guide 25 Years Ago
The BMB President British Motor Boats Ltd, originally based in London and later at Crossens near Southport, was importing the Simplicity HoeMate, Cult-Mate and Plow-Mate two-wheeled garden tractors from America in the 1930s. Brockhouse Engineering bought British Motor Boats in the mid-1940s and the first British-built pedestrian-controlled BMB tractors were made at Crossens in 1947. The three models; the 1hp Hoe-Mate, 3hp Cult-Mate and the 6hp Plow-Mate were made until the mid-1950s. Farm Facilities at Slough used the BMB Plow-Mate engine and transmission for the threewheeled ride-on Gunsmith tractor it introduced in 1948. The 4-wheel BMB President, launched in 1950, had an 8/10hp Morris 4-cylinder petrol engine which could be converted to run on TVO. The specification included electric starting, a 3-forward and 1-reverse gearbox with a top speed of 8mph, independent rear wheel
brakes and adjustable track width. The President had a £239 price tag but PTO, belt pulley and hydraulic linkage or a hand lift tool bar were optional extras. Sales literature sang the praises of the President’s wasp waist which gave excellent visibility for rowcrop work, however the six month warranty period excluded hiring out, racing or speed testing! The last BMB Presidents were made in 1956 but the similar Stockhold President, with a twin-cylinder, 14hp Petter engine, made by HJ Stockhold of London, appeared at the 1957 Royal Smithfield Show. ■
The BMB President, first seen at the 1950 Royal Show, was made for six years.
Vintage tractor collection to go under the hammer Vintage tractor collector Bob Parke is selling his extensive collection including some rare examples. One of the more notable items is a dual Massey-Harris 55D. This particular dual conversion was performed by an agricultural engineer in the town of Geraldine in Montana. The tractor itself is unique in the UK and is one of just 19 conversions that were carried out in total. It is unclear how many of the original conversions have survived. The rare dual Massey-Harris
55D will be for sale as well as more than 50 other vintage tractors and combines from Mr Parke’s collection along with vintage implements, stationary engines, mowers, spares and workshop tools in Norfolk on 7th September. There is also an extensive collection of scale Massey-Harris models and memorabilia, and Massey-Harris literature that will be for sale online from the 24th August. Brown & Co of Norwich will be running both sales. ■
Items from Bob Parke’s vintage collection including the rare dual Massey-Harris 55D.
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© BAD Photography
July 1994 Farmers Guide included an article on recent developments in satellite systems for farm tractors. Accurate results had been achieved with combine and harvester yield mapping systems over a period of 10 years and the next stage, using a yield map to vary application rates in different parts of a field with a sprayer or fertiliser distributor, had been achieved by Massey Ferguson. Ernest Cozens reported that Eastern Counties Farmers plc, once the largest farmers’ co-operative in the UK with 1,200 members in its heyday, had called in the receivers and shareholders were unlikely to receive any payment. With a growing interest in biodiesel fuel for farm tractors, United Oilseeds was looking for farmers to grow oilseed rape for its planned biodiesel fuel plant. Organisers of the East of England Show announced they were going back to basics with an innovative agricultural trade area for those involved in the farming industry. The area would concentrate on
management and computer systems, grain sales and combinable seeds including set-aside crops. On the machinery lines Merlo, a recent newcomer to the UK, planned to exhibit three new telescopic handlers, there would be special offers on Belarus tractors and GT Bunning was adding a new model to its Lowlander range of muck spreaders. The 1994 Suffolk Show had enjoyed sizzling heat and a record attendance. It was the last show organised by the Association’s retiring secretary John Hargreaves, and Len Tuckwell celebrated 40 years in the farm machinery business. His first sale in 1954 was a second hand Ferguson TE20 tractor and plough for £30. At the forthcoming Royal Show, four of the five main UK tractor makers including the returning Case IH would be exhibiting, JCB was launching a new telescopic handler and a new 170hp Fastrac, and Gregoire Besson was showing a range of 2–14f ploughs. In Machinery News, Overum was, for a limited period, offering a Flymo lawn mower, a dishwasher or a Husqvarna chain saw with the purchase of a 3–7f reversible plough. Lemken UK had merged with Howard GB to form Lemken Tri-Ag and would market Lemken Howard and Nordsten products in the UK. Amazone announced a 6m linkage-mounted grain drill with an all-up weight of 5.5t and a £59,000 price tag. Claas introduced two new self-propelled forage harvesters with 414 and 503hp engines, and Massey Ferguson dealer Thurlow Nunn Standen had increased its trading area with the take-over of two Cowies dealerships. ■
13–14 July Cheshire – Steam Fair at Daresbury, Warrington WA4 4AG. www.outdoorshows.co.uk/cheshire-steam-fair/ 13-14 July West Sussex – Wiston Steam rally at Wiston Park, Steyning BN44 3DZ. www.sussexsteamrally.co.uk 19-21 July Suffolk – Weeting Steam Engine Rally and Country Show at Fengate Farm, Weeting IP27 0QF. www.weetingrally.co.uk 20 July Cambridgeshire – Cheffins Vintage Sale at Sutton, near Ely CB6 2QT. www.cheffins.co.uk 26-28 July Worcestershire – Welland Steam & Country Rally at Woodside Farm, Welland WR13 6NG. Auction on Friday. www.wellandsteamrally.com. 28 July Suffolk – The Kettle Autojumble at Church Farm Kettleburgh, near Woodbridge IP13 7LF. Tel 01728 724858 before 9.30pm.