Do you have any memories of the old steam rollers?
I can remember finding one parked up at some road works on a rainy night when walking home from school. The workmen had gone, so I lifted the canvas screen and clambered in to the cosy cab. I warmed myself by the glowing embers still in the firebox as I thrilled to the idea of what it would be like to drive it.
Many of these rollers were made by Fowlers of Leeds who invented and manufactured the steam plough. Thanks to the incredible dedication and skills of a succession of enthusiasts the very last roller that Fowlers made (in 1937) is again in beautiful working order.
This roller spent all its working life in and around Pencader.
According to an article in the July edition of OLD GLORY magazine supplied by local enthusiast Chris Fuller, the original logbook has survived and tells us that “the 12 ton machine was ordered by Mr WL Williams of Alltwalis, Carmarthenshire, in November 1937, then delivered via the Great Western Railway to Pencader Station with a Fowler driver in attendance to train the new owners in the operation of lighting the fire, getting steam up, and using it on the road.”
Does anyone know any more about this Mr WL Williams? If this gentleman or family members are still here and have memories or photos to share we would love to hear from you.
This machine was 6nhp compound DNB Class roller No 22596. It was far more than just a roller. In fact it was known as a complete road making machine as it had a two-tined ‘Invincible’ scarifier, a tar tank, pumps and a chipping hopper which was towed behind the roller.
This latest restoration has been completed by the current owner, Paul Woods of St Ives, Cornwall. In 1962 the ‘Evening Star’, as the roller is now called, was destined for scrap. Apparently it was only by chance that a friend of Mr Williams saw it and recommended that he should keep or sell it. This he subsequently did by advertising it in Model Engineer magazine.
You can read more about its long history of restoration by many gallant owners in the July edition of OLD GLORY (Issue 269) where it is featured on the cover.