GWHL – my Grandfather

1927 Trial of petrol engined roller unsuccessful. George W Linsley Hood brought in as new Chief Designer. Prototype of ‘A’ class petrol paraffin version of ‘Advance’ roller. Firm made overall loss.

1929 Recession affects demand for motor rollers, though the steam ‘Advance’ roller still sold well. Wallis & Steevens continued to trade at net loss. Welding adopted as manufacturing technique.

1930 Board meeting decides to concentrate on steam ‘Advance’ and small motor rollers. Batch of heavy diesel rollers had to be sold at cost.
Successful trial of 2 ton small roller with petrol engine

1931 Staff reduced to minimum by layoffs. National diesel engines adopted for large rollers
1932 Another poor year. Deficit £10,300. Other firms in similar trouble

1933 Firms surviving recession meet to consider setting minimum price for motor rollers.

1934 Profit of £1855 earned, though no dividend paid to shareholders. Francis Ashby Wallis dies in July. George Wilson becomes works manager. William Alfred Wallis dies in September. Extraordinary General Meeting called. Nominal capital valuation of the company reduced

1935 Herbert Wetham made a director. Deficit reduced to £6,000, but achieved only by decreasing stocks, deferring maintenance and foregoing new plant

1937 Sale of steam rollers reduced to two or three a year. Last pair sold to War Department in 1940. Motor roller production replaced steam sales.

1939 Wartime production mainly of small rollers

1940 Only major change was substitution of straight rear axle by cambering version

1944 Introduction of ‘Universal’ range of rollers. Good and trouble free

1945 Wallis & Steevens still agricultural dealers. Spares still required, and land pressers and mole drainers manufactured

1947 Francis Wallis joins board

1948 Staff recruitment dwindled. Production dropped to pre-war levels.

1951 Company under chairmanship of Arthur Wallis. Coventry 4-cylinder engine introduced

1953 Agricultural works and sales department added at Charlton Road Andover. Francis Wallis took over from Richard, and Albert Smallbone became Secretary

1955 George Wilson made director when Herbert Wetham retires. Choice of engines offered, and technical developments continue

1957 Enclosed cabs introduced

1959 Power steering introduced (George W Linsley Hood retires)



1927 – 1959

Basingstoke, Hampshire, England

Wallis & Steevens, Head Design Engineer

296 Wallis & Stevens Advance Diesel Road Roller (1956)



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