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Fowler-oct1980-300x201 (1)

The Fowler Oil Engine or Fowler Internal Combustion Traction Engine

designed by Harry Cooper (for Fowlers of Leeds UK) and built circa 1912

Only a small number of these machines were shipped to Australia between 1913 & 1914. They caused great excitement at the time and were featured in displays at the Sydney Royal Easter Show 1913 by the Clyde Engineering Company and the Adelaide Spring Show Trade Exhibits 1914 by H.C Richards & Co Adelaide.

Unfortunately, due to bombings and fire damage sustained in England during WWI, much of the specific information relating to this engine has been lost. However, with the assistance of enthusiasts both in Australia and UK and the ‘ Heavy Metal’ archives at the University of Reading we have been able to slowly piece together the history of this Fowler Oil engine.  The gathering of relevant information has taken some considerable time, but has definitely improved in recent years with Internet access, Google, online catalogues and chat-rooms! There is still much to learn and information is offered to us from the most unlikely and surprising places. If you have information or photographs that you wish to contribute, we look forward to hearing from you via our email address:

This particular Fowler Oil Engine ( FOE) was rescued by the BSTPS in October 1980, from a railway reservoir near Wilgena, South Australia. It had sat abandoned along with miscellaneous other dam digging equipment for at least 25 years. All copper, brass, chain and other useful items had been stripped.  The BSTPS had other projects in progress at the time, so work did not commence for some years.

The FOE project has now commenced in earnest and we aim to keep you up to date with photos and information as we go…

we hope that you enjoy it.

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