Garretts became renowned for their steam tractors. Like the Garrett portable engines, their tractors were exported all over the world.
Steam tractors were less powerful, but more versatile, than portable engines. They were developed to do a number of jobs for the farm and for road haulage.
This photograph, taken in New Zealand in 2008, is of a Garrett No.4 single cylinder steam tractor built in 1907. Registration number 26432. The original owners bought the tractor directly from Garretts and shipped it to New Zealand themselves. Most engines were purchased through an agent in New Zealand and so this would have been a large undertaking for the family.
The Garrett 4CD Steam Tractor
The Garrett 4CD became England’s most popular tractor in the early 20th century. The 4CD was the brainchild of designer Emerich Schmach. It is said that he worked out its key principles in only a week. The 4CD went on to become a best seller in the years before the First World war. In total, Garretts made 560 of these engines on this site, here at the Long Shop, in the years 1907-27.
A 4CD number 27886, built in 1909, working at Blythburgh Hall. Photograph reproduced from RA Whitehead, 'Garretts of Leiston'
Garrett Steam Tractors
Destination for exports 1906 -14 – year of first exports
Princess Marina is a 4CD Tractor that can be seen in the Long Shop.
Marina was supplied in 1916 to John Abbot of Debenham Hall for haulage and threshing on the farms of Charles Abbott and Son of Sated.
Marina weighs in at a hefty 5.5 tonnes and does a top speed of 5mph. She stands at an impressive 10 ft 1 ins tall with a length of 14 ft 5 ins!
A farming revolution – from horsepower to steam power
In under half a century, steam power overtook British farming’s reliance on horsepower – which had lasted for nearly a thousand years. And the firm of Richard Garrett and Sons in Leiston was at the forefront of this revolution in farming.
1860-1920 Chief Designer
In 1884, Garretts recruited me from my homeland of Austria-Hungary to work in the Drawing Office as a Civil Engineer.
My role was to design improvements to the engines. Garretts made their popular Type 4CD tractor to my design.
I became part of the community in Leisten. I married Martha, from Knodishall and, by 1908, I was living in the Works House, a large property next door to the factory. I also enjoyed being a member of the local tennis club. In 1914, I invested in the building of Leiston Picture House.
The Leiston Tennis Club in 1912. The bearded man circled on the left is Emerich Schmach
The Design Drawing for the Garrett Type 4CD Tractor.
A line of Type 4 Ministry of Munitions tractors on delivery to Kempton Park in 1918
However, I never took out British citizenship and, when World War I broke out, I was treated as an enemy. I was sent with my wife to Surrey, where there was an internment camp.
Emerich Schmach returned to Leiston at the end of the war, and lived in a house he owned in Station Road. He died two years later.