22 January 1999

HISTORY ON FILM…

NOTTINGHAM farmer Richard Watts has a treat in store for visitors to the Lincolnshire Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers Association show at Newark Showground on Jan 27 and 28. He will be showing old films of farm machinery throughout each day, selected from the archive of 1000 films he has amassed over the years.

Most of the films were professionally made for sales promotion or educational use and the oldest in the collection is entitled The Worlds First Caterpillar. Shot more than 80 years ago, it promoted a machine by Ruston and Hornsby of Grantham. Other films in the collection show machinery in all its forms throughout this century and Mr Watts intends to screen several films featuring Lincs manufactured tackle in the wider selection of films he is showing at LAMMA.

Mr Watts, who farms cereals and beef at Springs Farm, Edingly, Notts, admits that what started as a hobby has become something of a mission.

He is keen to secure old films for the archive and would be glad to hear from anyone with reels relating to farming and rural life, so they can be preserved for future generations. On the same stand (P64/5) will be an exhibition of old photographs collected by Ray Hooley. TG

The Hornsby Oil Tractor(1896) was the worlds first compression-ignition tractor. It was repurchased by Hornsby in 1904 and converted to the worlds first caterpillar tractor in 1905. Of the four produced three were exported to Australia. Two remain today, one undergoing restoration in England and the other preserved in Australia. Photo from Ray Hooleys collection.