Author Topic: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels  (Read 500 times)

Offline Steam Haulage

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Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« on: November 11, 2017, 04:04:00 PM »
Inspired firstly by Chris's successful Lombard Hauler build and by his follow-on of the Marion Steam Shovel and then having to recover after tripping over (not a good idea for 72) I found myself not able to spend time in the workshop. My thoughts turned back to when my father used to take me with him on maintenance jobs all over the UK.
His employer had several Ruston-Bucyrus machines in the 1950s including RB10, RB19 and RB22. He was employed as senior ( possibly only) maintenance man for the various machines they used, concrete mixers, road rollers, traffic light sets, dump trucks, elevators, and of course the excavators. Happy Days.
By that time steam had given way to ic engines and chain to rope operation, but clearly their steam navvy parentage was obvious.

Being interested in the evolution of these machines I have found, obviously most of the US Patents for the Marion machines on which Chris's work is based, together with many for the Bucyrus and Bucyrus-Erie products. So far I have been only able to find patent references  for Ruston-Bucyrus and its precursors Ruston-Hornsby in Graces' Guide. I had expected that the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) based at Reading University might have some information. It seems they only have agricultural references to Rustons.

Detailed information seems elusive.
I know that when Ray Hooley recovered the 1909  navvy from the flooded quarry at Arlesy in the Seventies and restored it to working condition at Rustons in Lincoln he had great difficulty even with the help of Ruston's staff to glean information on this machine..see the Anglia TV video at
No detailed plans were available. I begin to wonder if Ruston-Bucyrus records might have disappeared in the various takeovers. I have had no succes in tracking down any UK Patents either.

I am hoping someone on MEM may be able to give me some pointers, or even detail, of where some information of British built Ruston-Bucyrus excavators of the 1950s might be.

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Online crueby

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2017, 07:54:52 PM »
Its amazing how little of the records and plans survived, but those companies got bought and sold a bunch of times, and the new owners cared nothing for prior versions.
There are a few survivors still operational (or restored) in North America and some a a museum in Australia. They had some of the gas ones at the Steam Pageant in Canandaigua NY every year, they may be able to help. Also some mining museums in Colorado with machines. Companies like Erie, Marion, Bucyrus, Ruston, Buffalo Pitts all wound up bought, sold, merged, forgotten. Not finding anything detailed is part of what got me so excited when I found out about the Marion near here.
Hope others can chime in with more leads!

Offline IanR

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2017, 07:55:22 PM »
There's a 4 volume series called 'Lincoln's Excavators' by Peter Robinson. More photos than drawings, and those mostly outlines of jib reach etc. Volume 1 is out of print, but I found a second hand copy. Grace's Guide is probably a good place to search.
Steam Shovels by Peter Mankeltow, published by Shire, is cheap and interesting.
I'll have a look and see if I have anything else.

Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2017, 08:00:39 PM »
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the confirmation that lots of the information may be lost. I have just won some R-B documents on the bay, I'll be interested to see what they turn out to contain. One is the parts manual for the 10-RB. the most common one in the UK. I think over 10,000 were supplied. I'll have to check.

Jerry
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Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2017, 08:15:18 PM »
Ian,

I have ordered the Robinson book for the R-B period. Is the Mankeltow book of any value?

When I was a lad my dad had drawers and cupboards of information which were full of service manuals with exploded drawings of all the machines he worked on, including lorries and cars. Of course they had oily fingerprints on and signs of use, they spent lots of time in the back of the A70 pick-up which was his works transport. He had been apprenticed to the old MG outfit in Abingdon and worked out of our home in Maidenhead during all his time in employment from 1920 to 1975.
I had married and moved away to end up here in Notts and expect that his interest died with his retirement. It's likely my mother persuaded him to ditch all of 'that rubbish' when they moved to the west country.
Both are now long gone.
Jerry
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Offline IanR

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2017, 09:17:37 PM »
The Mankeltow book cost me 3.50, new, so wasn't a huge investment. It's a good outline history, and has a drawing of a No 18 shovel, of the same family as the one fished out of the gravel pit at Arlesey. Not sure where that is now, possibly Lincolnshire Museum of Rural Life. Beamish and Leicester have or had preserved steam shovels.
Ray Hooley was also involved in rescuing Ruston's archives , if I remember rightly. Don't know where they are, nor if they've been catalogued.

Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2017, 08:57:18 AM »
Thanks Ian. Ordered. Even Amazon do this book now!

Serendipity can be useful, despite all my attempts to find the archives by my own searching I have literally just found this announcement from September 2016https://macearchive.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/ruston-hornsby-a-vast-archive-revealing-lincolnshires-unique-industrial-heritage/

The photographs and documents which are now stored at Lincolnshire Archives and films stored here at MACE, form part of a huge collection showcasing the history of Ruston and Hornsby, which became part of Siemens in 2003. The archive spans the company’s 150 years, offering a rare and detailed insight into Lincolnshire’s manufacturing heyday and Britain’s industrial past.

This major heritage project in collaboration with Siemens, Lincolnshire County Council and the University of Lincoln has allowed MACE to catalogue, assess and digitise a selection of fascinating films relating to the company, extracts of which can be viewed online via the Lincs to the past website and MACE’s Vimeo page. Copies of the full films can be viewed by appointment at both Lincolnshire Archives and MACE


I'll have to take a look.

Thanks for the book info.
Jerry
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Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2017, 08:20:59 AM »
Follow-up on the MACE archive I linked to yesterday.

I'm afraid the content available so far is my opinion "Disappointing".

There is one video, the common one of the Ruston machine which most of us have already seen on YT, and literally hundreds of negatives, hardly anything before WWII. The preponderance is pictures with captions such as 'Man in suit' etc etc. building work and plans of stands for shows. And hardly anything of interest let alone value to either modeller or engineer. I wonder who the archivists thought they were appealing to.
I wasted more than 3 hours going through this collection. No wonder the man in the street doubts the wisdom of paying to support museums.

Oh well back to the patents.
Jerry
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Offline Ian S C

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2017, 09:06:39 AM »
When we restored a Ruston Hornsby HR 6 horizontal oil engine about twenty years ago, I wrote to The company 's then owner English Electric, and was told by them that all the Ruston archives had been disposed of at the take over, but they sent a photo copied  copy of the instructions for our engine, they have since been taken over by Siemens as Dorman Diesel.
I was looking for Ruston - Bucyrus, and I see there was a change in ownership in 1985 when it became R-B International, so their archives may have disapeared at that time, with any luck someone took them over.
Ian S C

Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 07:28:13 PM »
Some progress.

I now have the recommended books by Robinson and by Mankeltow. Today the parts list for the RB-10 arrived.

Front cover below.

I had become fearful that I would not have been able to find UK Patents for the R-B machines however Robinson has this to say - 
At the time of the formation of Ruston-Bucyrus the decision was taken that, with the exception of the Ruston No.4, the entire line of Ruston & Hornsby Excavators which at the time of the take-over ranged from the Ruston No.3 to the No.300 Stripping /Shovel/Dragline, would be replaced by Bucyrus-Erie designed machines.

Ruston-Bucyrus Co ends in 1985.

So I will have to continue looking at the B-E US patents, of which there are many. But the RB-10 was designed at B-E as the B-10 in 1933 and went into production in 1934. At least I have a target date to search around.

Jerry
« Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 07:39:34 PM by Steam Haulage »
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