Burrell’s “The Busy Bee”, 1914 (No 3555)


Traction Engines 1900-1933

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No 3555, this engine came from the Burrell works and was one of many sold to showmen during the last 40 years of the firm’s history. The earliest Burrell showman’s engine was a single-cylinder machine and was virtually a road locomotive. This was done by fitting a cab with the round front windows then coming into fashion. The embellishments increased with each engine sold. The showmen soon took to compounding and several special single-crank compounds were sold. The showman’s engine had to be a good hauler on the road and generator of current. Frequent stops and starts were necessary so a self-starting engine had an advantage. The Busy Bee belonged to a stable of three others and was first used to haul a forty-foot diameter switchback mounted on three huge trailers round the North. She was soon commandeered for war work probably in agriculture. From 1935 to 1940 she hauled a set of dodgem cars before another war set her back to agriculture, this time as a thresher. The drivers of showmen’s engines had to work long hours in the summer months sometimes covering 100 miles in a day at 10 mph before providing power for the evening’s fair. With smooth tyres, spuds were fitted to the rear wheels if there was wet or slippery ground. Now owned and exhibited by Patrick Edwards, Bampton, Oxfordshire.

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Dimensions 44.5 × 35.5 cm