Yorkshire engine with buried history to debut at Tractor Fest – Harrogate Informer

A rare vintage petrol engine built in Yorkshire and exported to Australia over 100 years ago will be on display at this year’s Tractor Fest.

The ‘Imperial Pitt’ engine was manufactured at Keighley in 1916 and shipped below when brand new. It was built by the Keighley Gas & Oil Engine Company at its Imperial factories in the city.

An agent plate on the engine is from an Australian company. A similar petrol version bearing the same agent plate is also known in the UK. It’s possible they both shipped to Australia at the same time, as they’re less than 20 numbers apart.

Now owned by Hull-based engine collector Andy Milestone, the vintage engine will be part of an exhibition of engines 100 years or older. More than 135 such engines have so far been entered into the Tractor Fest which takes place in Newby Hall, North Yorkshire in June during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.

Andy, a retired engineer, has owned the Imperial Pitt engine for almost a year after it was given to him by another collector. It is the latest addition to a collection of 80 engines owned by him and his sons Mike and James.

Andy said:

I recently visited the Bradford archives to find out as much as possible about the engine and its manufacturer. It was built around 1916 and would have gone straight to Australia. I think it was brought to the UK 16-20 years ago and was owned by three people before me.

The Imperial Pitt was a working engine and would have been used to drive equipment on farms or workshop equipment on industrial premises. It uses a gas burner to heat the hot tube ignition and also gas as fuel to power the engine.

The drive of the driven equipment would be by a flat belt. Today, an electric motor and V-belts would be used.

Andy has refurbished parts of the engine, including installing a new cooling tank and exhaust system.

Andy said:

I have been an engine collector for over 50 years and am happy to take it to Tractor Fest along with three other of our engines which date from 1905 to 1912.

Tractor Fest is the UK’s largest tractor and stationary engine festival and takes place at the award-winning country house and gardens of Newby Hall in North Yorkshire. (Friday June 3 to Sunday June 5).

The event will feature thousands of classic and modern tractors, stationary engines, utility vehicles, cars, trucks and motorcycles.

To celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, this year’s festival will feature a display of 70-year-old Jubilee and Coronation vintage tractors as well as exhibits celebrating 100 pre-1922 vintage tractors, 100 century-old stationary engines and 100 years of the Austin 7 auto.

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