This booklet illustrates the versatility of Fowler’s products from agriculture through construction work and road haulage to military use in the second South African War, hauling naval 4.7” quick firing guns on special carriages accompanied by detachments of marines and “Bluejackets”.
Fowlers built at least one armoured road locomotive and train for use in South Africa, which is illustrated.
Surprisingly, there are pictures showing Fowler engines employes by the German Army, pulling trailers labelled “Verkeherstruppen Berlin” -” Transport Troops Berlin”. I know nothing about German made steam road tractors, but there was a strong locomotive building industry. Admittedly, as the catalogue shows, Fowler enjoyed a world wide reputation, not only within the Empire, but in South America. However I have seen a disused steam roller in Portugal, (by Henschell c1924) so German made steam road vehicles did exist. There is a further photograph of a Fowler road locomotive on a train of timber wagons in Germany, apparently in civilian use.
Fowlers were noted for their ploughing system for use on heavy soil, whereby engines stationed at either end of a field, towed a large reversible multi-shared plough backwards and forwards by cable, making neat rows of parallel furrows. Other agricultural machinery was also on offer, including threshing sets, crane attachments and winches.
It is staggering to see the lengthy trains of trailers which engines were allowed to haul on public roads Admittedly speeds were slow, but even so, the prospect of the tail wagging the dog, particularly in a cross wind must have been very real. There is a photo of a Showman’s Road Locomotive hauling a train of ten vans and wagons, which left Leeds at 6 am on 27 September ans arrived at Nottingham at 2-30pm on 29 September – an average speed of just over 3mph including
stops.One wonders when such juggernauts were banned on English roads?