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Ronaldson Tippett, Stationary engines Collectors & Restoration.

Updated on May 19, 2020
Pat Davis profile image

I have always had a love of machinery: wheels connecting to rods, pulleys connected to shafts, engines connected to wheels.

Why Collectors want Ronaldson Brothers and Tippet Engines

I can answer for only one enthusiast, Myself.
I was at a local showground, My curiosity was awakened upon hearing a pop- pop- pop sound of a stationary engine that suddenly went silent.


This silence was followed by the sound of the engine still turning but slowing. Suddenly, without warning pop- pop- pop- pop- pop, the engine roared into life again.


Of course, this was many years ago when I was just a lad. But curiosity grabbed hold of me that day. I went to take a look at this machine. The machine had a massive heavy flywheel. For the uninitiated, a flywheel is basically a heavy wheel that spins and carries the spinning momentum of an engine.


At the time (I was probably about 12 years old) The old fellow that owned the engine explained to me.
"If you are on your trolly cart and wanted to stop, you put your foot on the ground, and you grind to a halt"
"Yes," I said.
"What would happen if you had two fat friends on the cart with you?"
I think this question was the best question I have ever been asked.

The Hit and Miss engine had a contraption on the side that was basically three steel balls spinning on a hinge. And like a ball on a string, the faster it went round, the higher the ball went. If you slowed down the balls dropped to the ground.
I was fascinated by this contraption. As the ball got to a low point, they clicked a lever. MAGIC!. Pop - pop - pop until the ball hit the high spot.

Just like me on my bicycle. I could stop pedalling and coast for a while. When I got too slow, I started pedalling again.

Ronaldson Tippett Type CF Vertical Diesel – 4 hp 600 rpm
Ronaldson Tippett Type CF Vertical Diesel – 4 hp 600 rpm

Ronaldson Tippett Type CF Vertical Diesel – 4 hp 600 rpm

The Ronaldson Tippett Type CF Vertical is a four horsepower, 600 rpm engine that looks pretty much what how its name describes it—vertical and imposing. This makes it a famous collector's item for steam engine enthusiasts. But what makes this engine amazing is the story behind its manufacturer—the Ronaldson Brothers and Tippett. – Ronaldson Brothers and Tippett was an Australian company that created everything concerned with engineering and construction—from cast iron to engines, Making them one of the known pioneers in the field. The Ronaldson-Tippett Type CF Vertical is easily one of their most renowned engines since it was available in various variations (different horsepower, different models—kerosene and petrol—and different accessories. Today, these do not seem like notable accomplishments. However, back then, these were considered as engineering innovations.

The company of the Ronaldson Brothers and Tippett created more engines as the year's pass—such as their famous Type N and the first Austral engines. Of course, each of these engines has its unique characteristics and capacity. For enthusiasts, the Ronaldson Tippett Type CF Vertical is unique because of its unusual yet appealing superior aesthetics as if it was an engine explicitly made for the visual medium more than anything else.

They were concerned with engineering and construction—from cast iron to engines. It was making them one of the known pioneers in the field. The Ronaldson-Tippett Type CF Vertical is easily one of their most renowned engines since it was available in various variations, different horsepower, different models—kerosene and petrol—and different accessories. Today, these do not seem like notable accomplishments. However, back then, these were considered as engineering innovations.

Ronaldson – Tippett Type N
Ronaldson – Tippett Type N

Ronaldson – Tippett Type N

Petrol/kero three hp 900 rpm Ronaldson-Tippett (also known as the Ronaldson Brothers and Tippett company) is one of the more renowned engineering companies in the world during the early 1900s—and it is still considered to be one of the pioneers in the field despite the numerous companies before and after it. Before it dabbled in making engines, it was involved in making cast irons and other similar products. However, once it released the Ronaldson Tippett Type N, they become one of the significant makers of engines in the world at that point until the latter part of the century.

The engine that catapulted them into fame is none other than the Ronaldson Tippett Type N. Considered to be among the more reliable engines at that point; it has that air of ruggedness that marked earlier Ronaldson-Tippett engines. Of course, the ruggedness also marked the engine’s durability, something the company had been known for since the Type N. Like some of the succeeding engines of the company; the Type N is a tank cooled engine which is made in both kerosene and petrol models. Its horsepower varies from the modest two to the impressive four. While not among the most durable engines for its time, it was an innovation (it had a combined intake and exhaust manifold—a first during the time). The Ronaldson Tippett Type N is indeed an engine that set the standards of the esteemed Australian company.



Ronaldson & Tippett Austral Kerosene Engine No. 2502 –
Ronaldson & Tippett Austral Kerosene Engine No. 2502 –
It is difficult to imagine how much work has gone into restoring these engines, this photo  shows a load of parts arriving from somewhere, and I can only presume they are for the Engine No. 2502
It is difficult to imagine how much work has gone into restoring these engines, this photo shows a load of parts arriving from somewhere, and I can only presume they are for the Engine No. 2502

Innovative and Technologically Unusual Engines

Ronaldson Brothers and Tippett were known for creating innovative and technologically unusual engines such as the Type N and the Type CF Vertical. But while the likes of Type N marked the company for greatness, there is one particular engine that perhaps helped start the engineering revolution the company has paved the way for. The Ronaldson and Tippett Austral kerosene engine.

The Austral

The Austral is a label given to some earlier Ronaldson and Tippett engines. In reality, they were Type N engines. Not surprising. As one of the significant manufacturers of engines at that time, Ronaldson-Tippett sold these engines to other companies for their use, giving it different names for the individual distinction. The earlier Type N models were called the Austral, a kerosene engine that has the trademark characteristics of the usual Ronaldson and Tippett engines. For one, these Austral engines are rugged—something that even the later Type Ns have. Of course, they’re also reliable and robust, as well as versatile.

It’s not surprising why many people are dying to have a Ronaldson and Tippett Austral kerosene engine. After all, it’s part of the fantastic history of Ronaldson and Tippett and, in turn, of the engineering history.

Ronaldson – Tippett Type CH Diesel Engine
Ronaldson – Tippett Type CH Diesel Engine

Type CH diesel engine

The Ronaldson Tippett Type CH diesel engine, one of the later productions of the Australian company that became one of the pioneers in the field. As a later production, it has the trademark of the earlier Ronaldson Tippett productions. Of course, it has that classic and trademark rugged feel, as well as the robust reliability expected for most of the company’s productions. But since it was a later production, it has that sleeker look that reflects the trends of the time—proving that the Ronaldson Tippett company, dedicated to producing the finest and the best of the times.

Technically speaking, there are also some differences—which is, of course, only expected. For instance, the cylinder head of this model is different (it has a conical shape, which is beneficial since it increases the engine’s compression ration). It has an inch long combustion chamber and a massive flywheel. All of these are not usual to any Ronaldson Tippett engines. Of course, the most significant change is that this model is a diesel engine (the previous ones had been kerosene and petrol).

From the Type N and the Austral engine to the later Ronaldson Tippett Type CH diesel engine—the Ronaldson Tippett company had proven itself worthy of the label as an industry pioneer.

Ronaldson Tippet “Lightning” (cement mixer engine)
Ronaldson Tippet “Lightning” (cement mixer engine)

Owned by Arthur Timms, Gladstone

Owned by Arthur Timms, Gladstone –

100’s of these engines were produced during WW2 . This one was called “lightning” it was used in a cement mixer.

These engines were given different names for the different applications they were used for. There were 68 other names.

4 stroke water cooled

© 2020 Pat Davis

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