Author Topic: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels  (Read 2922 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
Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you, pigs treat you as equal.

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
Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you, pigs treat you as equal.

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
Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you, pigs treat you as equal.

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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Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2017, 04:32:23 PM »
Just a word of explanation as to what this ramble is about. You can ignore this note which solely represents my thought processes around which Ruston/Ruston-Bucyrus machine to draw and model.
Chris has said that he has spent considerable time on research on his Marion Shovel. I am beginning to spend more time than I originally expected  sorting through the somewhat convoluted evolution of the Ruston excavator machines so I have tended to make notes as I went along and these ramblings are my attempt to clarify my now confused thoughts.
If anyone has anything to contribute you are most welcome.

Decisions, decisions.
My initial thoughts had lead me to the 19-RB shovel but, although I have accumulated enough detail to draw and construct a model of this machine I came to realise that the chances if me producing even a replica of the Ruston 3-VQBN Diesel engine which was fitted are almost zero. This 4-stroke engine which  was developed by Ruston & Hornsby Ltd.. for excavator  service and specified by the war department on the machines supplied during that conflict is built using, in the main, castings. It developed 54 BHP at 950 rpm from 3 in-line cylinders of 53⁄8” bore x 8” stroke.

All is not lost on this engine. If anyone can suggest  how I might be able to simulate such a power plant all suggestions gratefully received for consideration, however complicated.
Having put that 19-RB model from my thoughts for the present looked literally backwards through the Richardson 'Lincoln Excavator' volumes. Considering in turn the shovels which were steam powered. I think I might stand some chance of building a steam plant and the associated engines.
The 10-RB seemed interesting. Richardson in his 1930-1945 volume discusses on p.116 its evolution  in discussions between Ruston-Bucyrus and Bucyrus-Erie of the B-E 16-B design and the development of a lightweight dipper (bucket). This machine had a life-span of fifty years, although it changed very little it was subject to some up-dating.
Although a model of the shovel itself does not present any impossible challenges it also was Diesel powered presenting me with the same problem as the 19-RB

Even earlier in the 1930-45 volume is the ‘New No.4 Universal Excavator’ illustrated and discussed on pages  30 -39 brought out in 1932 lasting until 1934. Peter Robinson has included some very clear pictures and a dimensioned diagram of the No.4 Tunnel Shovel which was based on the same ‘lower works’ , but again no steam powered version.

So I went back further to the first Robinson Book ‘Lincoln’s Excavators The Ruston Years 1875-1930’.

Here the introduction of crawler tracks in the US patented by Benjamin Holt of California in 1904 which apparently were un-steered. This was followed by Richard Hornsby of Grantham, Lincolnshire demonstrating  an oil-engined tractor in 1905 with crawler tracks patented by their chief engineer David Roberts.
I have sufficient information about the Ruston No.6 General Purpose Excavator  developed from the Ruston Steam Crane Navvy of 1919 to contemplate making a model. I am not yet sure of the date of introduction but know it was in the early 1920s.
There are some good pictures in the Richardson book, I have some pictures and there is a video of a No.6 working at Knowl Hill Steam Fair, Maidenhead, Berkshire in 2001. (This annual steam affair came to an end but the Woodcote rally seems to have taken its place- Search Google for up to date information)
The No.6 could be supplied with an oil engine and electric power but was mostly stream driven.
One thing that has become obvious from the pictures is that the operators position in Ruston-Hornsby designed machines is on the left  whereas R-B machines it was on the right.

The Ruston No.4 Universal Excavator, introduced in 1926 is also a distinct possibility, being a scaled down version of the Ruston No.6. These machines were still being supplied after R-B had taken over; the last being in 1932, when the New No. 4 replaced it.
Steam plant was still an option and the Robinson book has many photographs and dimensioned drawings of it as shovel, dragline, skimmer, crane, grab crane and back-acting trencher.

I think on balance that I will initially elect to base the drawing stage on the No.6. I hope others will concur.

Jerry
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Online crueby

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2017, 06:28:32 PM »
If the diesel power plant is the stumbling block, but you wanted to build the rest of the machine, you could always make a hollow shell for the engine, and put in a electric motor (can get sound cards from the model train world for the diesel sounds), and power it that way.

As for the tracks, A.O. Lombards track patent goes to 1901, his were also non-steering though did have a differential. I think it was Hornsby that got the steering built into the tracks themselves. The idea for crawler tracks goes back another 50 years before that, but it wasn't till 1900 that viable ones were actually manufactured and sold.

Whichever one you pick, if its one that you can find a survivor of and get access, that helps SO much, though they are pretty hard to find these days for the earlier ones, I got lucky there was one within 15 miles. If you can find a prototype one to inspect, take a digital camera, tape measure, and photo and measure everything you can reach, in every direction. Twice. At least. Amazing how many little details they pack in.

Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2017, 07:48:12 PM »
Thanks for the comments Chris, the 19-RB still sticks in my mind as I have personal experience of them with my Dad in the fifties. In some ways it's a fitting tribute to him as I am certain he was happiest surrounded by mechanical bits and pieces. He did his best to encourage me to take an interest, one of my fondest memories is of a wooden tractor and two trailers which would all link together, built out of wood with working metal parts, with all the wheels and other round parts turned on a lathe. That must have been at his machine shop at work as we never had a lathe at home. That 'toy' lasted to be used by my own children in the 70s.

When it came to the point when I had to choose a career he banned me from making any attempt to go into enginering, on the grounds that it was dirty work. Little did he know when I went into chemistry how often I would have dirty hands and on some occasions be soaked to the skin with spillages of organic solvents, acetone and isopropanol come mind immediately with my mother showering me with the garden hose after an incident with mercaptans.

Your suggestion of the dummy engine and to use sound cards might be promising. One of the attractions to me of the live steam approach is the way a blast of steam emerges from the top of the boom as (I think) the crowd engine operates. But that is perhaps my own emotions from my love of steam power. I quite like diesels, anything rather than petrol (gas). I feel I would go a long way to do the 19-RB.

I read your report on your adventure to the actual Marion and could feel your satisfaction at the amount of information you gained from your visits as well as the usefulness of your measuring technique.
 :happyreader:
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Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2018, 11:27:40 AM »
After more cogitation and taking on-board Chris’ comment I have settled on the 19-RB, although I am still reviewing the power and sound options. I have seen some of the small in-line Diesel engines  which have been built. But maybe that is beyond my abilities (?).

So far I have gathered sufficient information on the 19-RB to make a start on drawings.  This has not been as straight forward as I have needed to revise some of Inventor’s functions that I have not used for years.
Perhaps copying  Chris’ Lombard sequence I elected  to start from the ground up with the tracks and traction mechanism.
Pictures clear enough for my purposes of the ‘drive’ side of the track plates do not seem to exist so I turned to the patents of Rustons and of Bucyrus.  It is clear from various pictures and remarks in R-B’s sales literature that this machine was a departure frrom previous models.

I see from my notes that it was on the 10th December 2017 that I found the Bucyrus-Erie  Patent GB 317,082 of 1930 ‘ Improvements in or relating to Endless Tread Belt Links’  which relates back to their prior patent GB 225,606  of 1924. The diagrams in the later patent appear to describe the plates/links fitted to the 19-RB.

Jerry

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Offline Steam Haulage

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Re: Ruston-Bucyrus (Steam) Shovels
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2018, 11:33:31 AM »
Renders of my attempts to date -
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