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A Gallimaufry of Paxman Products

Wednesday 25th February 2015

In the 150th anniversary year of Paxman of Colchester, we were treated to an extensive talk on the history of the company by Richard Carr. Richard worked for Paxman in their Personnel Department for 15 years in the late 1980s and through the 1990s. Richard began his talk with the formation of the company in 1865 as general engineers. In addition to the iron and brass foundry work they repaired and manufactured steam boilers and steam engines. Richard then spent some time going through the history and types of steam boilers manufactured by Paxmans. Steam boilers were a major part of the Paxman business in the early history of the company, however Paxman manufactured its last steam boiler in 1965. Paxman boilers were known for their high efficiency. The talk moved on to the history of manufacturing steam engines, portable engines were particularly popular with farmers, these steam engines could be moved by horse and so were a much cheaper alternative to a traction engine. Like the boilers the steam engines were innovative and introduced new improved design features over its competitors. Paxman were also major manufacturers of stationary steam engines, these were often used to drive electric generators as well as winding and hauling engines for the mining industry. Richard also covered Paxmans manufacture of traction engines, steam wagons and narrow gauge railway locomotives. Richard also covered some of the less known Paxman products such as paint mills, hot asphalt mixing plant, refrigeration compressors and liquid/solid separators. In the final part of his talk Richard covered the history of Paxmans diesel engine manufacture from the 1920s to today. The innovations, different types and evolution of the engines was covered. These engines were used for electrical power generation, this also extended to marine power generation and then on to main propulsion engines for diesel-electric vessels. Another large market for Paxmans diesel engines was rail traction and we were told about the history of this. Later Paxman manufactured high speed diesel engines which are still in production today. Ipswich engineering Society would like to thank Richard Carr for a comprehensive and enjoyable talk on the history of this important local company.

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