Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 132,815 pages of information and 210,387 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of Canwick Road, Lincoln.
Robey and Co were producers of Traction Engines, stationary steam engines of all sizes, oil engines, gas engines, and boilers.
1854 The company was formed by Robert Robey at Perseverance Works (later the Globe Works).
1855 The partnership of Watkinson and Robey was dissolved and was continued by Robert Robey and George Lamb Scott.
1856 September. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Robert Robey, George Lamb Scott, and Thomas Gamble, all of the city of Lincoln, and carrying-on business there us Engineers, under the style or firm of Robey and Scott was dissolved'  and continued as Gamble and Robey
1859 Showed an impressive threshing machine at the Manchester and Liverpool Agricultural Show 
1861 Employing 114 men and boys 
1861 The first traction engine built.
1862 Exhibited at the 1862 London Exhibition with a model with duplex cylinders and producing 10 bhp.
1862 Patent. '2166. Robert Robey and George Lamb Scott, both of the city of Lincoln, Engineers, for an invention of "improvements in locomotive and other boilers," .
1869 Patent. '3483. To Robert Robey and John Richardson, of Lincoln, in the county of Lincoln, Engineers, for the invention of "improvements in steam engine governors and apparatus connected therewith." 
1871 Employing 503 men and boys 
1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham with a traction engine and a thrashing engine. 
1876 Details of an air compressor. 
1876-84 Produced six steam railway locomotives.
1880s Started building i/c engines under the Richardson and Norris patents 
1888 Compound Horizontal engine for Glasgow Exhibition. 
1889 High-speed vertical engine combined with a dynamo by J. H. Holmes and Co.
1893 Public company. The company was registered on 22 December, to take over the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. 
1894 Compound Underground Hauling Engine. Article and Illustration in 'The Engineer'. 
1894 Charles Merz left Newcastle to become a pupil at the Robey engineering works in Lincoln but soon after moved to London
1894 Nine Hundred HP Compound Engine. Article and illustration in 'The Engineer'. 
1894 Smithfield Club Show. Showed an improved starting lamp and fan for their engine. 
1894 100-hp Power Gas Engine. Article and illustration in 'The Engineer'. 
1895 Engine type 4P. Exhibit at Anson Engine Museum.
1899 Advert. High-speed compound vertical engine and dynamo. Horizontal and portable engines. 
1900 June. Royal Agricultural Show at York. Showed fixed steam engines. 
1900 Paris Exhibition. Compound Electric Light Engine. Article and illustration in The Engineer. 
1900 Offering oil engines in stationary and portable forms
1910 Produced steam road rollers.
1910 Steam engine generator set. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum).
1912 Introduced a vertical two-stroke engine
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Steam Motor Wagons, Tractors and Ploughs etc. see the 1917 Red Book
1913 Advert for drop valve winding engines, air compressors, drop valve horizontal engines, crude oil engines, semi-portable engines and locomotive engines. 
1914 Specialities: High-class Engines for driving purposes up to 3,000 horse-power, Mining Machinery, Air Compressors and Engines of all types including Tractions and Portables of all sizes. 
WWI Maker of aeroplanes.
1917 Advert for Air Compressors, Drop Valve engines, Uniflow Engines, Steam and Electric winding Engines, Boilers etc. 
1919 Advert for Air Compressors, Drop Valve engines, Uniflow Engines, Steam and Electric winding Engines, Boilers etc. 
1920 Issued List 263 detailing medium-stroke engines in vertical and horizontal types. 
1920 Showed a 5-ton steam wagon with rubber tyres; a uniform horizontal engine and other products at the Darlington Agricultural Show. Showed it again at the Commercial Motor Exhibition in October. 
1926 Supplied horizontal twin-cylinder, cornish and drop valve winding engine for South Celynen Colliery.
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history
1955 Still producing steam engines at the Globe Works. In production are the Uniflow, Long Stroke Horizontals with either Drop, Positive, Piston, Corliss or Slide valves; High Speed Vertical; Portable and Semi-Portable including Superheated.
1961 Manufacturers of road and quarry plant, mining machinery, winding engines, air compressors, prime movers and boilers. 
1988 The company ceased trading
Engines. Exhibits at Anson Engine Museum.
Drop-valve engine in the London Science Museum.
Extract from Steam Locomotion on Common Roads by William Fletcher. Published 1891.
Soon after the introduction of Thompson's rubber tyres, the orders for road steamers, both for heavy haulage purposes in Great Britain, and fast speed travelling in foreign countries, came to hand so rapidly that Messrs. Tennant and Co., were unable to meet the demand. Messrs. Robey and Co., of Lincoln, were one of three well-known firms who took up the manufacture of these engines for Mr. Thompson.
In 1870 the Lincoln firm made a large road steamer, called the 'Advance,' for Woolwich Arsenal, fitted with rubber tyres and " pot " boiler.
Fig. 70 shows the engine clearly, while Fig. 71 gives a sectional elevation of the road steamer to a large scale. The engine was of the vertical type, having two cylinders, each 7.75 in. diameter and 10 in. stroke; the crankshaft was 3 in. diameter, the countershaft was driven by spur gearing from the crankshaft as shown.
This gearing was keyed fast to both shafts, so the countershaft was always running when the engine was in motion, the pump being driven from this shaft. For obtaining two travlling speeds, both the crankshaft and the countershaft were fitted with spur pinions sliding on fixed keys, either of which could be made to gear with a spur ring on the road wheel. As this arrangement of gearing was adopted on all Thompson's engines, we give diagrams to illustrate it. See Figs. 72 and 73. It will be obvious that if the pinions on the crankshaft are in gear with the travelling wheels, the engine will travel at a fast speed, and when the countershaft drives, the slow speed is obtained. For turning sharp corners, one of the pinions could be readily thrown out of gear. The driving wheels were 6 ft. diameter, and the leading wheel 4 ft diameter; the rubber tyres were 5 in. thick.
An interesting test was carried out with this engine in December, 1870, as follows: — "The first experiment was to show the adaptability of the road steamer for passenger traffic, and for this purpose a break and an omnibus were attached at Messrs. Robey's works in Canwick Road, and, with a load of 45 passengers, proceeded at a smart pace — not less than six miles an hour — along the level and slighter inclines making two sharp curves, and running over a very awkward short and steep hummock, formed by the iron bridge over the Witham, in the route to the Lindum Hill, the steepest gradient on which — i in 9 — it did at a speed of between four and five miles. The 'Advance' then turned on the hill-top with its train in a circle, the inner diameter of which was about 18 feet. The run down the hill, which is a full half- mile, was made at times at a great speed, the crowd of sight-seers all running to keep up with it. At other times the engine was checked and brought almost to a stand upon gradients of every degree of severity up to the extreme one.
After the return to the works the carriages were unhooked, and a train of two four-wheeled trucks, weighing three tons each, and carrying loads of two tons of deals, in all ten tons attached. With this the 'Advance' proceeded along the macadamised turnpike road, up the Canwick Hill, the heaviest gradient of which is one in eight. The purpose of this experiment was to show the capacity of the Steamer for drawing heavy loads on ordinary roads, and the test was a severe one, in consequence of the surface coating of slippery mud. The hill nearly three quarters of a mile on the rise, was handsomely got up at the rate of two and a half miles, the engine with its train — in all 46 ft. in length — turning within circles of the following dimensions: Exterior diameter of engine track 24 ft. 6 in., and exterior diameter of truck tracks 30 ft. The journey down hill was again literally at the run, the trucks having each a slipper on one wheel; the speed kept up in the descent was quite six miles, the control and steering being perfectly kept in hand by Mr. Stanger, the instructor of engine-driving at Woolwich and Aldershot, who took charge personally throughout the day, and handled the engine in a masterly manner.
The 'Advance' started with this load at 1.45 p.m., and was stopped at the works on the return at 2.15 p.m., the journey including two stoppages, one to put on and one to adjust the slipper skids, occupying exactly half an hour. Part of the distance was over newly-metalled road, of which, however, the wheels made not the least disturbance — it being one of the characteristic features of these engines that they do no damage whatever to the roadways, and, indeed, they do not injure grass lands, as was convincingly shown in the runs which were next made in the large meadows expressively known locally as the 'Cow Paddle,' but otherwise the South Common. This land, lying low, was exceedingly spongy, and the 'Advance' in places sunk at times from three to four inches in some of the soft places. The purpose, indeed, of the third experiment was to show the capacity of the Road Steamer for going over soft land, and the 'Cow Paddle' was an undoubted test of this qualification. A measured mile was stumped out, and the engine run round the course, doing the whole distance in seven minutes, notwithstanding one-third was over ground so soft and wet that the engine worked over that portion with an average sinking of at least two inches. Several very short turns were made by the 'Advance' upon this grass land at sharp speed, in one case the inner diameter of the wheel tracks being only seven feet, measured across the second or innermost spiral.
In making another circle the 'Advance' passed over a hollow ten inches deep in seven feet of length, one wheel sinking into the soil five inches below this; and yet there was no arrest, not even instantaneous, in the progress of the engine. A speed of nine miles an hour upon such ground as this is a wonderful accomplishment, and the steadiness with which the 'Advance worked upon ground of the most uneven nature shows clearly the great value of these machines for the roughest locomotive work. The indiarubber tyres are guarded by an outside band of steel plates, 18 in. broad and 5 in. deep, with intervals of l.5 in. between them. At almost all times there were four of these plates bearing firmly on the ground through the elasticity of the rubber, so that the surface adhering to the roadway was generally 24.5 in. by 18 in., or about 2.75 square feet superficial. The traction power, in comparison with that of ordinary rigid wheels, is thus clear at a glance."
In July, 1871, another road steamer was made to draw two large omnibuses, filled with passengers, from Lincoln to Grantham, and the trip was in every way satisfactory. This engine and the omnibuses were made for Greece, and after their arrival at their destination, in 1872, they were again put to the test; the conveyances were loaded with seventy passengers, the engine hauling this load up an incline of one in seventeen at the rate of three miles an hour, and on the level road at eight miles an hour.
Mr. Thompson's 'pot' boiler as made by Messrs. Robey and Co. for their road steamers is shewn in section by Fig. 74. "The boiler consists of a vertical steel shell, 0.375 inch thick, 2 ft 9.5 in. diameter and 7 ft. 9.5 in. high. Within this is placed a fire-box 2 ft. 3in. diameter. Within the fire-box is suspended the copper 'pot,' 2 ft. inside diameter, connected with the fire-box in the following manner: The 'pot' has a straight neck, as shewn, 4 in. long and 9.5 in. diameter. The fire-box has a very similar neck into which the 'pot' fits easily. This neck is lightly bored out. On the neck of the 'pot' is secured a brass ring, outside which goes a second brass ring. The 'pot' is put into place from the inside, and the second ring is then secured to it by a number of half- inch bolts. The lower edge of the second ring and the upper edge of the fire-box ring are turned, and a ring of indiarubber is interposed between the two, and kept in place by making the surfaces slightly conical. The upper portion of the boiler is traversed by tubes 3 ft. 4 in. long and 2J.25 in. in diameter.
We may here mention that Messrs. Robey and Co. were successful makers of road locomotives many years before Mr. Thompson's engines were built by them, but these early engines were chiefly designed for agricultural purposes, this being still an important branch of their large business.
|Built||Reg No.||Works No.||Name|
|1924.||MF 3946||41493||Our Nipper|
|1930.||VL 2773||45655||Herts Wanderer|