Brief Overview of the Society
Since its inception, the Society has sought to provide a forum for the exchange of information about the steam road vehicle in all its forms. The historical and academic aspects are predominant, although the encouragement of those involved in preservation is actively pursued. The prime objective of complete records for all manufacturers of traction engines, road locomotives, rollers, wagons, portables etc. is unfortunately unattainable but by pooling knowledge and research on the subject, the most comprehensive information possible has been assembled.
When the Society was formed in 1937, the steam road vehicle was a comparatively common sight on our roads and in the countryside. In the immediate post-war years, efforts were made to establish a museum in which to preserve representative types of the examples then available. This was not possible due to cost even at that time, and would be impossible to maintain in present times. The preservation movement was started by individuals, and has since more than fulfilled the need for a museum. The concentration on the historic and academic course, which followed from that time, has amply justified the vision of the founders. The registration in 1969 of the Society as a Charitable Trust of an educational nature and its recognition as a learned body serve to demonstrate its standing. In 2015, the Society reviewed it’s constitution and now operates as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, CC number 1159394.
The records, which have been amassed, and still being increased, are under the control of Section Officers. The various sections are briefly outlined in the sections area of this web site, these will show the breadth of activity of the Society.
Contacts are also maintained with representatives and associate members in several countries.
Although not retaining engines in active preservation, various items have been acquired and placed in appropriate institutions, including the Aveling and Porter traction engine for the Science Museum, South Kensington, and the Burrell Drawings which are now with the Museum of Rural Life at Reading.
Aveling and Porter steam traction engine No. 721 Reg. No. KL 3631 built 10/1871, by Aveling and Porter Ltd., Rochester, Kent, England. In 1860 Thomas Aveling invented the traction engine, offering an alternative to horses in agricultural haulage. Eleven years later, approximately when this engine was built, Aveling was improving his design for the self-propelling power plant. This engine was one of the first to be steered by its front wheels (earlier designs were steered by a fifth wheel) and to have gear-driven rear wheels. These features as well as the Aveling patented method of supporting the crankshaft were to become standard on all traction engines. This engine was renovated by Aveling-Barford Ltd in the 1950s before being donated to the Science Museum by the Road Locomotive Society.
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