Dorman could also boast that by the early thirties they were selling diesel and
petrol engines to six of the country's leading manufacturers for use in shunting
and industrial locomotives, rail inspection cars and overhead electrical equipment
repair wagons of standard and narrow gauge; needless to say, these manufacturers
included Motor Rail, of Bedford, whose connections with Dorman dated back to 1916
and continues unflagging today.
A similar outlet was for Dorman in 1936 when in that year the company made its first formal overseas agency agreement with Kelly and Lewis (Pty.) Limited of Melbourne, Australia; no doubt this was a direct reflection of the growing use to which Dorman engines were being put in export markets. In addition to selling Dorman engines direct, Kelly and Lewis installed them in their own narrow gauge locomotives, of which an example is illustrated wending its way through the Australian outback.
Like Dorman's in England, Kelly &-
miles through country hitherto considered impassable for motor transport as routes were impeded by a variety of hazards including sand hills, gullies, dry creek beds, quagmires, natural skid pans, boulders and undulated desert where in many places the sand was very fine and apparently bottomless'. However, whenever progress was incommoded interested aboriginal onlookers would suddenly appear from nowhere and could be induced by transactions involving tobacco and tinned food, to lend a willing hand.
As well as this welcome expansion of their overseas markets, and their ever increasing
use in earthmoving and rail traction applications Dorman's engines were cropping
up in all manner of pumping, welding and generating set applications, and in sundry
other types of equipment including motor mowers, tractors, land cultivators, concrete
mixers, and crushing and loading plant for the gravel and associated industries.
Dorman marine applications had also proliferated from the late twenties onwards most marine engines being supplied for use on canal barges small workboats and pleasure launches although a
Narrow Gauge in Australia
King Edward VIII
Booklet home page Page index Pages 30 & 31 Pages 34 & 35
customers amongst manufacturers of compressors, generating sets, pumping equipment and construction plant, were now so numerous, that, in 1938, the decision could be taken to cease the production of automotive engines the following year and concentrate on those other fields, Dorman had successfully advertised the purely industrial capabilities of their diesels as early as 1934, when seven of the company's own engines had been installed in both Foregate Street and Tixall Road works to provide power in the tool room, capstan shop and milling department. This experiment was so successful — one 8 b.h.p. diesel engine could drive up to thirty two large capstans of assorted sizes without difficulty and at less expense than the mains electricity supply — but was terminated following the alarmed reaction of the local electricity company who were more concerned with their own profit margins, rather than industrial progress. However, a precedent had been created, and Dorman engines came to be frequently used in such fields as the sand and gravel industry to replace steam engines as the source of power in self contained plants.
significant number regularly went for Admiralty use. Many barges and narrow boats
ply up and down the British canals to this day; as for the many yachts and cruisers
powered by Dorman engines, their owners tended, at times, to become almost poetical
in their praise. More than one referred to the soft purring of their Dorman engines,
comparing it favourably with the remorseless chug-
Apart from winning praise Dorman marine engines won prizes; thanks to his Dorman
engine Mr. J. J. Quills motor cruiser Ladye Dora won one race in 1933 from Brightlingsea
to Ostend, and, on her other competitive event that season was awarded a gold medal
in the race from London to Cowes.
Thus, as the thirties drew to a close Dorman was left with no shortage of markets; indeed, their
Kelly and Lewis narrow gauge locomotive, fitted with Dorman engine, operating in
the Australian outback.
Typical road conditions often encountered; Dorman-
Typical river craft of the 1930s, fitted with Dorman engine.
George and Matthews long boat “King Edward VIII” fitted with a Dorman engine.