Thelnetham tractor display reveals how technology has changed

PUBLISHED: 20:44 27 July 2014 | UPDATED: 20:44 27 July 2014

Youngster Freddie Dunning has a go on one of the tractors at the Vintage Tractor Display at Thelnetham

Youngster Freddie Dunning has a go on one of the tractors at the Vintage Tractor Display at Thelnetham


Imagine having to turn a heavy flywheel for 20 or 30 minutes to start a tractor engine on a freezing cold December night?

Nowadays, farmers only have to turn a key to start their machinery before they head off to plough their fields, but back in the early 20th century life was not quite so simple and the Vintage Tractor Display at Bridge Farm, Thelnetham revealed some of these older machines and how much technology has changed over the course of the century.

The display on Sunday was organised by Jamie Davey and his father Brian, who has collected 100 of the historic tractors and about 300 horse drawn implements.

The oldest vehicles dated back to 1916-1919 and included a 1916 Mogul, which was the oldest on show and a Fordson that Brian Davey bought for £12, which boasted a two speed gearbox.

As well as having start up engines, the older models also lacked basic safety features, with a back-less metal seat and no foot rest, suspended between two giant wheels at the rear of the engine.

However, in later models produced a few years later, many of these design faults had been rectified, with a wooden shelf under the seat for feet and metal coverings on the tyres to prevent legs getting trapped.

Proceeds from the event were set to go to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

“It has been good. We have had lovely weather and people have come from as far afield as Scotland and Devon, while somebody is coming down from Nottingham this afternoon,” Brian Davey added.

Kevin Dunning, from Sutton, was visiting with his son Freddie, five.

He said: “It has been good. We just love anything that is outside and anything to do with agricultural machinery.”

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