SHOW: Machinery


Hall of Famer
Fremantle, Western Australia
I appreciate we have a thread for industrial (industry) photography but it seems we do not have one for machinery so here goes. Please do share your machinery photos. For inspiration there is a similar thread at that you may wish to check out.

To get the ball rolling so to speak here is a shot I took of a Hitachi EX1100 excavator in action working on the construction of an underwater rock mound. TAMS are working on the construction of an underwater rock mound to provide protection to the Fremantle rail bridge. The works include the installation of 14,500 tonnes of limestone and armour rock to form an underwater rock mound, designed to prevent vessels colliding with the bridge.

This photo captures the dredge, Total Support and its mounted Hitachi EX1100 excavator in action placing rocks into the mound. I was quite intrigued by this work as there was no obvious way the operator could be seeing how the rock placement was going.

Fremantle Rail Bridge Protection - Underwater Rock Mound {0817 01}
by Andrew Priest (Aushiker), on Flickr
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Nice idea. Here some roadwork I went by when out on a bike ride.
Now for some images from a previous era, the early 1970's to be precise, 35mm FP4 in a Leica M3, oh those were the days. These are from The West of England Ploughing Championships, possibly 1973.

Case Tractor.jpg

An unrestored Case tractor

Fine Tuning the plough settings.jpg

Some fine adjustments being made for the perfect furrow, I think that might be a Ferguson tractor

Horse ploughing team.jpg

True horse power with a single furrow plough

Some images from the 1980's taken at an exhibition at Kew Bridge Pumping Station, south west London on Ilford FP4 probably using an original Leica CL and 35mm lens (it needed a wider lens). They show a Sissons Triple Expansion Launch Engine fitted with Sissons own patented type reversing gear. I don't know the hp of this engine but it could probably have powered a launch about 40-50 feet in length, remembering that in Edwardian times (so from say 1900-1910) such vessels had a rather narrow beam for their length and therefore required less power than a modern vessel, also a speed of 10 knots would be considered more than satisfactory, unlike these days when power and speed rule the waves. The images were taken with a view to providing details for making a model but like many other ideas that never came to fruition. They show late 1800's and early 1900's engineering at its best, solidly built to last and everything on show





More from the 1980's, this time a large Cross Compound Steam Engine. Again taken on Ilford FP4 with a Leica CL, and showing a little grain having pushed the processing somewhat.


This shows the high pressure steam cylinder, the four spoked handwheel is the combined stop and governor valve, the governor itself is the tall tapered column to the left of centre. Behind it and to the right is the cross head. The two diagonal rods control the piston drop valves that admit steam to either end of the high pressure cylinder.


This view shows the drive arrangement for the cylinder exhaust valves, this time the view is of the low pressure cylinder that drives a crank on the opposite side of the main flywheel from the high pressure cylinder. Again the two diagonal rods are for the inlet piston drop valve and are driven by eccentrics fitted to a guarded rotating shaft running alongside the cylinder.


This shows the low pressure cylinder on the opposite side of the engine room from the high pressure cylinder and behind it a vacuum pump. The governor is prominent in the centre of the image.


This shows the high pressure crosshead and the high pressure piston rod.


Finally this view shows the flywheel on the left, boarded in with tapered mahogany planks to cut down windage loss, to the right of that the eccentric driving the exhaust valve actuating rod, then the main crankshaft bearing and to the right the main high pressure crank.

Photographically these are in the digital age dating from 2012, so still not one of the latest cameras on offer, if it's important to anyone a Panasonic GH2 with 14-45mm lens.

Machinery wise what we have is cultivation of a field using steam power. There would be a set of ploughing engines, usually a matched pair placed either side of a field with whatever implement was being used alternatively pulled backwards and forwards across the field between the two engines. After each pass the engines have to move a few feet to move the line of travel of the implement before pulling it back across the field so that eventually the whole field has been covered.

In this case a pair of Fowler compound ploughing engines are cultivating (harrowing) a field.


Here the towing rope is slack ready to be paid out as the cultivator is pulled across the field by the engine on the far side. The towing rope is coiled up on the large drum slung under the boiler of the ploughing engine.


The cultivator is beginning its journey across the field being pulled by the engine on the far side.


Here the cultivator is on the return journey being pulled in by the engine pictured above. I guess it's not the most comfortable of rides for the operator steering the cultivator, no sprung seat and air conditioned cab in those days.

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Le tracteur – Mirandol - Chemin de Stevenson-2018-D7-09 by Andrew Priest, on Flickr

I am not sure what to make of this tractor … it has a cable drum on the back so clearly has a function of pulling something as to what I have no idea. It was parked at the base of the Mirandol Viaduct.

Day 7 of 12 – Chasserades to Le Bleymard: Walking the Chemin de Stevenson (GR 70 Robert Louis Stevenson Trail) in the south of France.