Paxman (engines)

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Paxman is a major British brand of diesel engines. Ownership has changed on a number of occasions since the company's formation in 1865, and now the brand is owned by MAN SE, as part of MAN Diesel & Turbo. At its peak, the Paxman works covered 23 acres (9.3 ha) and employed over 2,000 people. Engine production is still primarily based at Paxman's Colchester works. Early Paxman diesel engines (with "Comet" indirect injection cylinder heads, designed by Sir Harry Ricardo) carried the name Paxman Ricardo.[1][2]


Davey Paxman[edit]

File:Davey Paxmann steam engine Berlin 001.jpg
DAVEY PAXMAN & Co Ltd ENGINEERS COLCHESTER ENGLAND 'portable' steam engine at Depot Monumentenhalle of Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
File:Davey paxman engine.jpg
Stationary Davey-Paxman engine from the 1890s.
File:Davey Paxmann steam engine Berlin 003.jpg
Detail view of same portable engine, showing Paxman builder's plate (dated 1921) on the regulator handle support above the firebox.

Paxman was founded by James Noah Paxman, Henry and Charles Davey as Davey, Paxman & Davey, Engineers in 1865, later Davey, Paxman & Co. which became a limited company in 1898. In 1920 the company became a member of the Agricultural & General Engineers Ltd (AGE) combine. In 1932 AGE collapsed and Paxman emerged as Davey Paxman & Co (Colchester) Ltd.[3]

Davey, Paxman and Davey conducted business as general engineers and ironworkers. The company manufactured steam engines, boilers, agricultural machinery, and mill gearing. By the early 1870s the company was supplying machinery to the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.


In 1940, Ruston & Hornsby Ltd purchased a controlling interest in the company; this co-operation led to the formation of Ruston-Paxman Group.

In 1954, the engine controls business of Paxman was reformed as a subsidiary, Ardleigh Engineering Ltd. In 1962, Paxman acquired the engine controls division of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation and merged the two businesses under the Regulateurs Europa name.

English Electric and GEC[edit]

In 1966, the Ruston-Paxman Group was acquired by English Electric. The diesel engine businesses were merged into English Electric Diesel Engines Ltd (later English Electric Diesels Ltd). Paxman became the "Paxman Engine Division" of English Electric. In 1968, English Electric was itself acquired by GEC. In 1972, GEC renamed the engines division GEC Diesels Limited. In 1975, a reorganisation saw the creation of Paxman Diesels Limited as a subsidiary.


In 1988, GEC merged its Paxman, Ruston and Mirrlees Blackstone diesels businesses with the Alsthom division of Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) to form GEC-Alsthom. Paxman became GEC ALSTHOM Paxman Diesels Ltd. In December 1997, GEC Alsthom had its initial public offering as Alstom. The diesel engine businesses became Alstom Engines Ltd (AEL).

MAN B&W Diesel[edit]

In 2000, Alstom Engines Ltd. was acquired by MAN B&W Diesel (a subsidiary of MAN AG) to become MAN B&W Diesel Ltd. In 2005, MAN sold the Regulateurs Europa controls business to Heinzmann GmbH.

Diesel engines[edit]


Pre-1934 designs:[4]

Post-1934 designs (indirect injection):[5]

Post-1952 designs (direct injection) [6]


Examples of Ruston-Paxman diesel engines:


External links[edit]