The Ronaldson & Tippett company was formed in 1905 at Ballarat, Victoria to build stationary engines, most notably the 'Austral' series of horizontal hot-bulb oil engines. One of these engines was used in the first prototype tractor, which appeared around 1910 and was a 20 hp machine weighing in at 6 tons. The first production tractor, however, did not appear until 1924 - this was the Ronaldson & Tippett 'Super-Drive', which was based on the US-built Illinois 18-30 'Super-Drive' with its four-cylinder Wisconsin engine. At first R & T imported most of the parts for these tractors, but as time went on they began to build more of it themselves (although the engines were always imported); one feature which distinguished the R & T tractor from the Illinois was the enlarged radiator to cope with Australian conditions. In the late 1920s R & T converted the Wisconsin engines to run on diesel fuel, and in the 1930s an uprated 20-36 'Super-Drive' was introduced, with rubber tyres as an option. The company abandoned tractor manufacturing at the end of the decade, but continued to build stationary engines for many more years, and went on to become the largest engine producer in the Southern Hemisphere during the 1940s.

(Click on images below to enlarge)

Ronaldson-Tippett 18-30 'Super Drive' at the Pioneer Settlement Museum, Swan Hill, Victoria, Australia in 2007.


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