Photograph of a tractor-drawn rigid-tyne Clyde Engineering cultivator, 1941

Made 1941

This is a photograph of a tractor-drawn rigid-tine cultivator, improved model, made in 1941 by The Clyde Engineeering Co. Ltd, at Granville, a Sydney suburb. This firm made agricultural implements and machinery, engineering equipment, and railway rolling stock during the first half of the twentieth century.

A cultivator was generally used after a plough to break the soil up and prepare the field further for the crop. In America, cultivators and hoes are considered to be the same implement. Earl...

Summary

88/289-1275
Photographic glass plate negative, tractor drawn rigid tyne cultivator, improved model, side view, made by The Clyde Engineering Pty Ltd, Granville, New South Wales, Australia, 1941

A rectangular black and white silver gelatin glass plate negative in landscape format. The image depicts a rigid tyne cultivator, improved model, side view. Handwritten text on envelope reads '1686 / RIGID TYNE CULTIVATOR / IMPROVED MODEL / SIDE VIEW' and in bottom right corner '20-5-41 / KW'.

Dimensions

164 mm
215 mm
1.5 mm

Production

The Clyde Engineering Company photograph collection is made up of around 1300 half plate glass negatives and approximately 4000 triacetate negatives.

The origins of the collection can be dated back to 1855 when William Henry Hudson set up the firm of Hudson Brothers in a small shop in Redfern, Sydney. Initially the company specialised in woodworking and the first major contracts undertaken by the Hudson Brothers included woodwork for the 'Great Hall' at Sydney University and building the Sydney 'Garden Palace' in 1879.

In 1876 Hudson Brothers won a lucrative contract to build rolling stock for the New South Wales government and as a result the business began to move toward metal-work rather than wood-work. The business was a success and twenty five years later had expanded to such a degree that a new work shop was needed to accommodate staff and equipment. In 1881 Hudson Brothers moved onto two hundred acres of land at Granville in the Western suburbs of Sydney and the new factory opened two years later in July 1883.

Unfortunately the recession of the 1890s hit Hudson Brothers hard and by 1898 it was forced into receivership. It was then that the newly formed Clyde Engineering Company took over the Hudson Brothers, although William Hudson continued to remain a board member and motivating force behind Clyde Engineering. Given the new company arose out of the old Hudson Brothers it is not surprising to find Clyde Engineering adopted a phoenix as its logo. The choice was apt for the new company did rise out of the ashes of the old and by 1950 Clyde Engineering had become the largest engineering enterprise in New South Wales.

In 1901, soon after it had become Clyde Engineering Ltd., the company began making carriages for the Federal Government and in 1903 began making them for the West Australian Government as well. In 1905 Clyde won a major contract with the New South Wales State Government to make railway locomotives.

Clyde Engineering was a large operation and took on contract work for major state government projects, mainly in New South Wales. These included prefabricated steel work for the Hawkesbury Bridge and the northern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In 1932 the company also built and supplied steel work for the Clarence River Bridge at Grafton and the Manning River Bridge at Taree.

Clyde Engineering made agricultural equipment for many parts of New South Wales, continuing the work of Hudson Brothers who began to manufacture windmills and ploughs made to their own unique designs in 1884.

During the Second World War it was an integral part of 'Workshop Australia'. In this period Clyde Engineering took on a new field, the repair of Hudson and Wirraway aircraft. In addition it provided munitions; 25-pounder field gun parts; locomotives and rolling stock to the war effort.

The triacetate collection appears to date from the late 1930s through to 1960s the glass plates from around 1900-1950. Most of the photographs are commissioned works taken around the Clyde Works in Granville, Sydney. Others are copies of original photographic prints, blueprints and pages from books. These are hard to accurately date it is almost certain that the collection is the work of numerous photographers; unfortunately their identity is at present unknown.

Glass plates were first used to support photographic emulsions in the late 1840s and remained in continuous use right through until the middle of the twentieth century. While the earliest plates supported 'dry' and 'wet' collodion emulsions these were replaced with silver gelatin emulsions in the 1880s. Unlike earlier plates these were mass produced on a huge scale and were capable of fast speeds even at half and full plate sizes.

One drawback of this process was that larger plate sizes required a correspondingly large camera to fit the plate. These were relatively cumbersome and when you take into consideration the weight of the glass plates it is no surprise to find they were mainly used for studio and commercial work. However they were still favoured by many professionals for a long time after roll film was introduced by Kodak in the late 1880s. This was because the large plates could be more easily worked on for masking and their contact prints provided better results than some of the early enlarging equipment

Geoff Barker, Assistant Curator, Total Asset Management Project, February, 2008

References
Gernsheim, H. and Gernsheim A., The History of Photography from the Earliest Use of the Camera Obscura in the Eleventh Century up to 1914. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1955.
1941

Cite this Object

Photograph of a tractor-drawn rigid-tyne Clyde Engineering cultivator, 1941 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 September 2017, <https://ma.as/376176>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/376176 |title=Photograph of a tractor-drawn rigid-tyne Clyde Engineering cultivator, 1941 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 September 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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