Petrol engine, stationary vertical four-stroke, Lister Type B, cast iron / steel, Messrs R A Lister and Co Ltd, Dursley, Gloucestershire, England, 1945-1950
This engine was made by R A Lister, an English company that was a major supplier of both petrol and diesel engines and shearing machines to Australia. Lister sold many small petrol engines like this one to power its shearing machines and other machinery on farms that had not yet been connected to the electricity grid.
Petrol engines supplanted steam engines for many applications as they are cleaner and more convenient to use. They require fuel but do not need a boiler or water, and they start quickly rather than needing time for the boiler to heat up and begin supplying steam. For most fixed applications petrol engines were supplanted in turn by electric motors, as electricity is an even more convenient source of power.
Debbie Rudder, curator, and Noel Svensson, curatorial volunteer, 2009
'One continuous guiding hand', The Sydney Mail, 29 August 1928, p23
The engine was manufactured by R A Lister Co Ltd around 1945.
Robert Ashton Lister established the R.A. Lister company on 23 August 1867 to manufacture agricultural machinery and implements at Dursley in Gloucestershire.
Lister grew and began selling its products overseas. In Australia, it captured a large slice of the market for sheep shearing equipment. When it acquired F.C.Southwell & Co, it began making petrol engines at Dursley. The Southwell engine design was sourced from Stover in Illinois, USA, but Lister introduced a series of improvements to it over time. The company eventually produced the largest range of petrol and diesel engines in Europe, together with an associated range of generating sets, pumps, sheep shearing sets and other equipment.
Robert Ashton Lister died at the end of 1929. In 1986 Lister merged with J.B. Petter & Sons to form Lister & Petter Ltd. The company still operated, from the same site in Dursley, into the twenty-first century.
The engine was used at a property near Mendooran in NSW to power a three-stand shearing set, which was donated to the Museum along with the engine.