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Ruston & Hornsby was an industrial equipment manufacturer in Lincoln, England. They were most well known as a manufacturer of narrow and standard gauge diesel locomotives and steam shovels. They also built cars, steam locomotives and a range of internal combustion engines.
The original company was Proctor and Burton established in 1840, operating as millwrights and engineers. They became Ruston, Proctor and Company in 1857 when Joseph Ruston joined them, acquiring limited liability in 1899. From 1866 they built a number of four and six-coupled tank locomotives, one of which was sent to the Paris Exhibition in 1867. In 1868 they built five 0-6-0 tank engines for the Great Eastern Railway to the design of Samuel W. Johnson. Three of these were converted to crane tanks, two of which lasted until 1952, aged eighty-four. Among the company's output were sixteen for Argentina and some for T.A.Walker, the contractor building the Manchester Ship Canal.
Ruston & Hornsby
On September 11th 1918, the company amalgamated with Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham to become Ruston and Hornsby Ltd. Hornsbys were world leaders in diesel engines at that time, having practically built one before the Diesel identity was added.
The Ruston-Hornsby car
After World War I they attempted to diversify and one outcome was the Ruston-Hornsby car. Two versions were made, a 15.9 hp with a Dorman 2614 cc engine and a larger 20hp model with 3308 cc engine of their own manufacture. The cars were expensive and never reached the hoped for production volumes. About 1500 were made between 1919 and 1924.
Diesels and Gas Turbines
Ruston & Hornsby was a major producer of small and medium diesel engines for land and marine applications. It began to build diesel locomotives in 1931 (and continued up until 1967). It was a pioneer and major developer in the industrial application of small (up to 10000kW) heavy duty gas turbines from the 1950s onwards.
The company closed its Grantham factory in 1963. The company progressively became part of the General Electric Company of UK (not to be confused with GE in the USA) in 1967, of GEC-Alsthom in 1989, of Alstom in 1998 and latterly of Siemens in 2003. Its gas turbines are widely used around the world.
Technically, Ruston & Hornsby Ltd existed at the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows in Merseyside until 2002, which was known as Ruston Diesels. It was taken over by MAN B&W Diesel AG on June 12th 2000.
- Lowe, J.W., (1989) British Steam Locomotive Builders, Guild Publishing