Charles Burrell & Sons were builders of steam traction engines, agricultural machinery, steam lorries and steam tram engines. The company were based in Thetford Norfolk and operated from the St Nicholas works on Minstergate and St Nicholas Street, some of which survives today. (There is a museum telling something of the company’s history, in the former paint-shop).
At their height they employed over 350 people and were the largest employer within the town. The company became known for producing reliable and good-looking traction engines which were always built to customers’ requirements. The company declined after the First World War when internal combustion engines started to become a cheaper alternative to steam power. The company finally closed in 1928, with the final engines being built by Richard Garrett & Sons at Leiston, Suffolk.
The company’s chief years of prosperity were from 1907, to 1913, so this catalogue represents Burrells at its peak. They attempted to enter the steam wagon market rather later than most manufacturers, and met with little success. The firm was very busy during the Great War, but many of their products sold for military use were disposed of cheaply in the early 1920s, hitting sales of new machines badly, a contributory factor to the firm’s closure.