Ruston, Proctor & Co
Joseph Ruston was born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire in 1835, his father, Robert, was a farmer
Joseph became apprentice to an engineering firm in Sheffield. When his father died and left him a small inheritance he saw the opportunity to buy a partnership in a engineering firm
Theophilus Burton and James Toyne Proctor of Burton & Proctor, were millwrights and implement makers, in they had been in business since 1840. Joseph saw an opportunity and became a partner in the firm in 1857.
Burton was unhappy with Joseph as a partner and, in 1858, sold his shares to Joseph, the name of the firm was changed to Ruston Proctor & Co. The company became a major agricultural engineering firm.
In 1861 the firm was employing 156 men. James Proctor retired in 1872 and Joseph Ruston became the sole proprietor.
The business continued to grow. building traction engines, steam locomotives, by 1881 over 1,000 employees. The firm was incorporated as a limited liability company in 1889 and had 1,600 employees
The firm was one of the first to manufacture steam-powered excavating machinery - in the 1890's producing the "Dunbar & Ruston" Steam Navvy Excavator. 71 of these 12 cubic yard machines were used in the constructionb of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Joseph Ruston died 10th June 1897 aged 62. By this time Ruston, Proctor & Co Ltd employed over 2,000 people and their products could be found in many countries of the world.
In 1906 the "Ruston Light Steam Shovel" was built, and exhibited it at the Royal Agricultural Show of 1907 held in Lincoln, the machine being of 3/4 cu yd capacity.
During World War I most of Ruston's production was turned over to building aircraft for the Royal Flying Corps.
In 1918 Ruston, Proctor & Co merged with Richard Hornsby & Sons of Grantham, becoming Ruston & Hornsby Ltd.
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