New Pages and Major Updates (most recent first)
UPDATE (Mar 2017) - Revised section about Paxman installation at rue Saint-Fargeau, Paris, circa 1887
NEW PAGE (Jul 2016) - Indentures of Apprenticeship
NEW PAGE (Jul 2016) - Paxman-Ricardo 6RXS Engines - Ordered and Built
MINOR UPDATE (Jul 2016) - Section added about the Paxman RXK Engine
Finding Your Way Around This Site
Paxman has been involved in a wide range of engineering activities over the years and there are many strands to its history. The diversity of the material now available here - on more than 100 web pages - precludes the adoption any simple system of indexing in, say, chronological order or by technology.
Below I have attempted to order individual web pages within broad categories. Whether you are just browsing, or are searching for some specific information, a quick look at the category headings should give you a good idea of what material is available. Within each section you will find a summary of the content of each page in it and a link to the relevant page. Alternatively, you can search the site as explained in the next section.
At the foot of each web page, at the right-hand end of the menu ribbon, you will find a link back to this page.
Search This Site
Simple Search: Enter the word or phrase (enclose phrase in quotes) to be matched in the blank box below, then click on the 'Search' button to the right;
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Steam: General, Stationary Vertical & Horizontal Engines
- Paxman and Steam Engineering
- Outline history of Paxman boilers, stationary steam engines, portables, traction engines, and steam railway locomotives.
- Paxman Class "SV" Vertical Steam Engines
- Description of the Class "SV" range with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman Class A Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of the Class A range with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman Class B Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of the Class B range with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman Class C Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of the Class C range with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman Winding and Hauling Engines
- Description of Davey Paxman Winding and Hauling Engines for Mining Operations, with engraving of a Direct Acting type.
- Paxman Semi-Fixed or Undertype Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of the Semi-Fixed or Undertype engine with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman "Colchester" Compound Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of the "Colchester" Compound range with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman "Peache Patent" Steam Engines
- History, descriptions, technical and order details of the 260 Peache High-Speed Single-Acting engines built by Paxman between 1895 and 1913.
- Paxman Drop-Valve Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of Paxman's Drop-Valve engines with pictures, power outputs, dimensions and speeds. These were offered as a cheaper alternative to the Paxman-Lentz engine. The page includes details of 42 orders for Paxman Drop-Valve engines placed between 1902 and 1925.
- Paxman-Lentz Steam Engines
- History and technical details of Paxman-Lentz steam engines including transcript of the May 1915 Paxman-Lentz brochure with tables of dimensions and power outputs. Also the order, customer, and application details of the approx 130 Paxman-Lentz steam engines built between 1907 and 1934, together with details of over 30 Lentz conversions carried out by Paxman on other makers' engines.
- Paxman-Lentz Steam Engine - No 18581
- Photographs, history and technical details of one of only two surviving Paxman-Lentz engines.
- Paxman Class "K" Horizontal Steam Engines
- Description of the Class "K" range with picture, power outputs, dimensions and speeds.
- Paxman Steam in Homes of the Nobility and Wealthy (Download)
- Listing of Paxman steam engines and boilers ordered between 1882 and 1910 for domestic installations, mainly to drive electric lighting plants in homes of the aristocracy and wealthy. Because the listing is too wide for a satisfactory web page, it is available on this site as an MS Word document file download only.
- Paxman Experimental/Teaching Steam Engines
- Details of Paxman Experimental and Teaching steam engines supplied to educational/training institutions between 1901 and 1913.
- Surviving Paxman Stationary Steam Engines
- Details and photographs of known surviving Paxman stationary steam engines and one that survived until relatively recently.
- Nominal Horsepower (NHP)
- The definition of NHP and its relationship to actual horsepower (HP)
Steam: Portable and Traction Engines
- Paxman Portable Steam Engines, &C.
- Text and illustrations reproduced from Paxman publication No 700A, dated December 1913, giving details of the Company's range of portable steam engines. Types described are single and double cylinder, log-burning, straw-burning, semi-portable and compound. Also has brief details of the Company's traction engines.
- Instruction Book for the Working and Management of Portable Engines, & c.
- Full text and illustrations reproduced from Paxman publication No 682, dated August 1913. The information is likely to be particularly useful to those responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of Paxman portables in preservation.
- Wearing Parts for Portable Engines
- Descriptions of parts for Paxman portable steam engines, reproduced from the Company's September 1913 catalogue.
- Surviving Portable Steam Engines
- The first of three pages about known surviving Paxman steam portables. This page has details and photographs of some surviving Paxman portables in the UK and Overseas except Australia. It also carries technical information of interest to restorers and enthusiasts.
A second page has information on and pictures of Surviving Paxman Portables in Australia.
A third page is an extensive Listing of Known Surviving Paxman Portables.
- Peter Love's Steam Portable
- History, detailed description, and photographs of a Paxman steam portable being restored in the UK.
- Paxman Steam Traction Engines - 1906 to 1917
- Technical specifications of Paxman traction engines, details and photographs of known surviving engines and information on scale models.
- Traction Engine Listing (Download)
- Listing of all traction engine orders placed with Paxman, with details of engine numbers and customers. Available for downloading as an RTF (Rich Text Format) file.
Boilers | Filtration Plant | Desalination Plant
- Paxman Boilers - 1865 to 1969
- A detailed history of over 100 years of boilermaking at Paxman with full descriptions of most of the different types of boiler made by the Company.
- Early Paxman Vertical Boilers
- History and descriptions of early Paxman vertical boilers developed in the late 19th century, particularly the Paxman "Essex" Patent Vertical Boiler and the Improved Cross-Tube Vertical Boiler.
- Paxman Filters and Filtration
- History of Paxman's filtration business with descriptions of the construction and operation of its Rotary Vacuum Filters.
- Desalination Plants
- Paxman's ultimately unsuccessful attempts to develop and manufacture desalination plants for producing fresh water from sea water. Includes transcript of 1962 brochure on Paxman Flash Evaporators.
Misc Products: Refrigeration Compressors | Road Making Plant | Paint Making Machinery | Hydraulic Machinery.
- Paxman and Refrigeration Compressors
- The history of Paxman's manufacture of refrigeration compressors for the Linde British Refrigeration Company, later the Lightfoot Refrigeration Company, from 1890 to the 1950s.
- Nacopax Road Making Plant
- Road making plant designed and built by Paxman in the 1920s for the Neuchatel Asphalte Co, and orders placed by Neuchatel for Paxman steam portables to drive them.
- NacoPax Asphalt Road Plants - Catalogue No 905
- Text of Paxman's NacoPax Asphalt Road Plants catalogue No 905 (c.1925/6), including an image of its coloured cut-away illustration of the plant.
- Paxman Paint Making Machinery
- Paint mills and mixers manufactured by Paxman from 1925 to 1928, and then from 1933 to 1941, and the sale of this part of the business to Keenok & Co in 1942.
- Paxman Hydraulic Machinery
- Hydraulic machinery manufactured by Paxman in the late 1920s and during the 1930s, and Paxman's acquisition of the West Hydraulic Engineering Co of Luton.
Paxman's Early Oil Engines, Gas Engines and Suction Gas Plants
- Paxman Benzine Engines
- Pre-World War 1 brochure description of the Company's early horizontal, open-crank, spark-ignition oil engines designed to run on 'light' spirits. Also details of two surviving examples of these engines.
- Paxman Gas Engines
- History and description of Paxman's early gas engines, introduced c.1904, together with information and specifications given in the company's 1908 and 1913 gas engine catalogues. Also details of two surviving examples of these engines.
- Paxman Suction Gas Producers
- Details of the gas generators made by Paxman for use with their own and other manufacturers' gas engines.
- Paxman's 1950s Experimental Gas Engines
- Experimental work during the 1950s with Paxman RW, RPH and YH diesel engines converted to run on gas.
Heavy-Fuel-Oil (Vertical) Engines and Heavy Duty Diesel Engines
- Heavy-Fuel-Oil Engines
- Paxman's first compression ignition vertical oil engines, Types VF, VH, VK and VN - Introduced 1927.
- Paxman 6VN Engine - No 23407
- Details and history of a large Paxman vertical heavy oil engine built in 1930. Originally sent to Blenheim, New Zealand, for power generation, it is still there and in good working order.
- Spring Injection
- Description of the operation of the fuel injection device adopted for Paxman's earliest compression ignition engines.
- Heavy Duty Diesel Engines
- Paxman's second generation compression-ignition oil engines, Types VZ, VX, VY and VYL - 1931 onwards.
- Oil Engine Listing - 1920s & 1930s
- Listing of Davey Paxman Vertical Heavy-Fuel-Oil engines and Heavy Duty Diesels built in the late 1920s and the 1930s. Also some of the vee-form VRAs and VRBs. The listing shows Order Numbers, customers, and other details of nearly 500 engines. An appendix gives a breakdown, by engine type and number of cylinders, of the totals of early Paxman compression-ignition engines produced.
High and Medium Speed Diesels to the present day.
- A Glossary of Diesel Terms
- Explanations of some diesel terms for those unfamiliar with diesel engineering and its terminology.
- Identifying Paxman Diesel Engine Types
- A guide to the notation system used for identifying different Paxman diesel engine types.
- Paxman Diesel Engines since 1934
- History and descriptions of the medium and high speed diesels developed and manufactured by the Company since 1934.
- Paxman RZ, RX and RXL Diesel Engines - Technical Specification
- Technical specification and ratings of the RZ, RX and RXL series of engines, as shown in Paxman publications Nos 1115 and 1115A of the late 1930s.
- Paxman-Ricardo 6RXS Engines - Ordered and Built (NEW PAGE - Jul 2016)
- Order details of the 6RXS engines built to power World War 2 'U' and 'V' Class submarines.
- Paxman RPL Diesel Engines - Technical Specification
- Technical specification and ratings of the RPL series of engines, as published in late 1949.
- Paxman YL Engines
- Details of sales and applications of YL engines, including customers.
- RPH and YH Engine Versions (Mark Numbers)
- A history of the changes to the technical specifications of the RPH and YH engine ranges during their production lives and the differences between the various versions or 'Marks' of each.
- Paxman's Hi-Dyne Engine for Rail Traction
- A history of Paxman's 'constant horsepower' engine, developed in the 1950s specially for rail traction applications.
- Paxman Ventura (YJ) Engines
- A breakdown by engine type and customer of the 394 Ventura engines in service as at 31st May 1967 and history of the engines supplied for the 1960s 'Linesman' Distant Early Warning radar system.
- Paxman Valenta (Y3J) Technical Specification
- Engine data and the technical specification of the Valenta as published in 1990. Whilst the information relates specifically to Valentas built for marine propulsion, it provides a useful guide to the key features of Valenta engines, regardless of application.
- Paxman VP185 Technical Specification - 2004
- Engine data and the technical specification of the VP185 as published circa 2004.
- Paxman VP185 Technical Specifications - 2012
- VP185 specifications announced in 2012.
- Paxman VP185 Turbocharging Arrangements
- Descriptions of the turbocharging arrangements on Paxman's VP185 high-speed diesel engines. Includes technical descriptions of the turbocharging arrangements on the standard 'single box' 12VP185, the 18 cylinder VP185 and the 'twin box' 12VP185.
- Paxman Diesel Engine Crankshafts
- History of Paxman's sourcing of crankshafts for its diesel engines, of its in-house crankshaft manufacturing operations, and some technical aspects of crankshafts for high-speed diesels.
- Torsional Vibration and Viscous Dampers
- An explanation of the problem of torsional vibration and a history of how Paxman's specialist vibration engineers have dealt with it. Paxman's interest in torsional vibration was a natural consequence of the Company's pioneering role in the development of larger high-speed multi-cylinder diesels.
- Paxman Diesels in Australia
- Details of some Paxman heavy oil engines (including two or three survivors) and diesels sold into the Australian market before and after World War II.
- John Langford's Associations with Paxman Diesel Engines
- Recollections of John Langford who built and tested YHAs as an apprentice at Ransomes, Ipswich, in the 1950s. He subsequently worked on 12TPs in the Royal Navy, then on RPHs in various oilfields, before joining Paxman as a Service Engineer.
Diesel Engine Applications (except Rail Traction - see next section.)
- Royal Navy and Overseas Navies - Surface Ships
- Details of surface ships of the Royal Navy and overseas navies fitted with Paxman engines from 1934 to the present day.
- Paxman Submarine Engines
- Paxman's involvement in building main propulsion and auxiliary engines for Royal Navy submarines since the late 1930s.
- HMS Unruffled (P46) - 'U' Class Submarine
- The 'U' Class submarine with Paxman-built diesels which was adopted by the town of Colchester in 1942 and which saw much action in the Mediterranean during World War 2.
- Marine Applications - Non-naval Vessels
- Details of a selection of non-naval vessels fitted with Paxman engines for propulsion and/or auxiliary duties, from the 1930s to the present day.
- Diesel-Electric Marine Propulsion
- The history of Paxman's involvement with diesel-electric marine propulsion from 1930 to 2000.
- Paxman Diesel Engines for Oilfields
- How Paxman started to supply engines for oil well drilling shortly after World War 2 and became a major supplier of diesel 'package' sets to the oil exploration and production industry.
- Valenta and VP185 Applications
- An extensively illustrated page showing a selection of applications of the Valenta engine and its successor, the VP185.
- Paxman and the Great Eastern Railway Co
- Not about rail traction as such, but details of orders placed with Paxman by the Great Eastern Railway between 1887 and 1918 for a variety of stationary engines, boilers and pressure vessels.
- Steam Railway Locomotives
- History and details of the 15" gauge locomotives built by Paxman in the 1920s for the Ravenglass & Eskdale and the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railways.
- Lentz Valves for Locomotives
- History of Paxman's involvement in supplying Lentz valves for steam locomotives during the 1920s and information on some technical issues relating to Lentz valve gear for locomotives.
- Paxman and Diesel Rail Traction
- A history of Paxman's involvement in providing diesel engines for rail traction applications from 1932 to the present day.
- Paxman Rail Traction Diesel Engines
- Summary listing by engine type of 1,286 diesels supplied by, or on order from, Paxman for rail traction applications as at 31st January 1992. Also summary listing of the 51 12VP185 engines supplied for re-engining High Speed Train power cars, as at 31st December 2003. The listings include details of customers, locomotive types and horse-power ratings.
- Fell Locomotive - No 10100
- Detailed technical description of this prototype, powered by four Paxman RPH engines, built in 1950.
- Paxman Diesels for the World's Railways
- Extracts from a 1957 company brochure giving details of railways in various parts of the world operating Paxman engined locomotives. Several locomotive photographs and illustrations.
Company Ownership, Associations, Management and Re-organisations.
- The Paxman Family
- Notes about the founder, James Noah Paxman, his father, and two of his sons who played key roles in the business.
- Company Ownership and Identity
- Summary of the changes in ownership and corporate identity of the business from 1865 to the year 2005.
- Agricultural & General Engineers Ltd
- The engineering combine of which Paxman was a member company from 1920 to 1932.
- Product Policy and Company and Family Connections
- Notes about product policy in the two decades after WW2 and links with Ruston & Hornsby, by Geoffrey Bone, a former Paxman Managing Director.
- Managing Directors
- Paxman Managing Directors from 1940 to 2001.
- Paxman Workforce Statistics
- Numbers of people employed by Paxman at Colchester at various periods in the Company's history. Also description of some distinctive features of the workforce during the late 20th century.
- Financial Performance - 1947/48, 1948/49, 1950/51, 1959-67 and 1980-1993
- Extracts from financial reports including Orders, Sales Turnover and additional financial performance figures covering the period 1st April 1980 to 31st March 1993, taken from Annual Reports to Employees.
- Computerised Business Systems at Paxman
- The introduction of computerised business systems in Paxman during the 1980s and 1990s, computerisation in the Manufacturing Division, and computerisation in Diesel Engine Design.
- Reorganisation Announcements - 2005, 2003 and 2001
- Texts of reorganisation announcements by MAN B&W Diesel Ltd affecting Paxman and associated companies in the UK.
- Howard (Sunbury) Ltd
- The Howard company of Weybridge, Surrey, which was acquired by Paxman in March 1948, and its single-cylinder air-cooled diesel engine.
General History Overviews (see also following section) | Miscellaneous
- Introduction to the Company
- Brief introductory history of Paxman, including information on recent developments.
- Key Events in Paxman's History 1920 - 2006
- Notes and comments on key events in the history of Paxman between 1920 and 2006.
- Exhibitions, Medals and Awards
- James Paxman's enthusiam for displaying his products at the major exhibitions of his day. The page includes a list of exhibitions at which the company exhibited, details of some of the machinery Paxman put on show and of some of the medals the company was awarded.
- Paxman Machine Shops 1982-2003
- The Paxman Machine Shops - 1982 to 2003. A description of Paxman's machine shops, their people and plant during the last two decades of manufacturing at Standard Works.
- Britannia Works
- Paxman's other Works from 1942-82.
- Britannia Gallery
- Old photographs of Britannia Works.
- Regulateurs Europa
- The Governing and Control Side of the Business.
- Indentures of Apprenticeship (NEW PAGE - Jul 2016)
- Information about, and transcripts of, three late 19th century apprenticeship agreements.
Paxman in Two World Wars
- World War I Production
- An account of the Company's contribution to the war effort during the Great War of 1914-18.
- World War II Production
- An account of the Company's Production during the Second World War, 1939-45.
- Paxman's Tank Propellant
- The story of two World War 2 prototype heavy tanks powered by Paxman TP engines.
- SLM Modern Wheel Drive Gearboxes
- History of Modern Wheel Drive Ltd and its gearboxes. MWD boxes were used with Paxman TP engines on World War 2 Tank Landing Craft, and with later Paxman engines for marine applications up to the 1960s.
- The Blockade Runners
- The story of the Gay Viking class of fast merchantmen, powered by Paxman VEE RB engines, which ran the German blockade of the Skagerrak in World War II to bring vital ball bearings from Sweden to the UK.
Paxman History Sources and Order Records
- Paxman Archives and Photographic Collection
- Information about (i) the Paxman Archive Trust, (ii) the Paxman archive, including order records dating back to April 1874, and (iii) the Trust's collection of over 15,000 photographic images relating to a period from the 1890s or earlier, up to the 1970s. Includes access to searchable spreadsheet versions of Paxman photograph registers, highlighting entries of images in the Trust's photographic archive.
- Text files available for downloading, including full Paxman traction engine listing and an article describing the Company in the mid-1890s.
- Paxman in the 1890s
- Text of an article published in 1893 describing the Works and some of the Company's products. Also available as an RTF text file download.
- Peter Woodall's History of the Company
- Written in the 1950s and available here as an RTF text file download.
- Steam and the Road to Glory: The Paxman Story
- Details of Andrew Phillips's book on the history of the Paxman family and the Company up to the early 1920s.
About, Contact, and Links
- About These Pages
- The Story Behind Richard Carr's 'Paxman Pages'.
- Contributors to the Paxman History Pages
- Details of many individuals who have contributed their knowledge and experience to the pages of this website.
- Contact Richard Carr
- It's good to have feedback. The page has a link to a simple form for emailing me your comments, suggestions, corrections, and contributions of additional material. These will be appreciated and acknowledged.
- Website Links and Museums
- Links to other websites and details of some museums. A number have specific Paxman connections and others are of wider general engineering interest.
- Website Accolades
- A few of the appreciative comments received from visitors to the website.
Web hosting provided by Paul Evans and the Internal Fire Museum of Power, whose support is gratefully acknowledged.
Page updated: 20 Aug 2017 at 12:45