Paxman (engines)

Paxman is a major British brand of diesel engines. Ownership has changed on a number of occasions since the company's formation in 1865, and now the brand is part of MAN Diesel & Turbo. At its peak, the Paxman works covered 23 acres (9.3 ha) and employed over 2,000 people. Early Paxman diesel engines (with "Comet" indirect injection cylinder heads, designed by Sir Harry Ricardo) carried the name Paxman Ricardo.[1][2]

IndustryDiesel engines brand
FoundersJames Noah Paxman
Henry Davey
Charles Davey
ParentMAN Energy Solutions


Davey PaxmanEdit

Davey Paxman & Co portable steam engine at Depot Monumentenhalle of Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin
Stationary Davey-Paxman engine from the 1890s.
Detail view of same portable engine, showing Paxman builder's plate (dated 1921) on the regulator handle support above the firebox.
Northern Chief of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway built in 1925

Paxman was founded by James Noah Paxman, Henry and Charles Davey as Davey, Paxman & Davey, Engineers in 1865, later Davey, Paxman & Co. which became a limited company in 1898. In 1920 the company became a member of the Agricultural & General Engineers (AGE) combine. In 1932 AGE collapsed and Paxman emerged as Davey Paxman & Co (Colchester) Ltd.[3][4]

Davey, Paxman and Davey conducted business as general engineers and ironworkers. The company manufactured steam engines, boilers, agricultural machinery, and mill gearing. By the early 1870s the company was supplying machinery to the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa.


In 1940, Ruston & Hornsby purchased a controlling interest in the company; this co-operation led to the formation of Ruston-Paxman Group.

During World War II Paxman supplied diesel engines for various naval vessels such as e.g., the British U-class submarine and the British V-class submarine.

In 1954, the engine controls business of Paxman was reformed as a subsidiary, Ardleigh Engineering. In 1962, Paxman acquired the engine controls division of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation and merged the two businesses under the Regulateurs Europa name.

English Electric and GECEdit

In 1966, the Ruston-Paxman Group was acquired by English Electric. The diesel engine businesses were merged into English Electric Diesel Engines Ltd (later English Electric Diesels Ltd). Paxman became the "Paxman Engine Division" of English Electric. In 1968, English Electric was itself acquired by GEC. In 1972, GEC renamed the engines division GEC Diesels Limited. In 1975, a reorganisation saw the creation of Paxman Diesels Limited as a subsidiary.


In 1988, GEC merged its Paxman, Ruston and Mirrlees Blackstone diesels businesses with the Alsthom division of Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) to form GEC-Alsthom. Paxman became GEC ALSTHOM Paxman Diesels Ltd. In December 1997, GEC Alsthom had its initial public offering as Alstom. The diesel engine businesses became Alstom Engines Ltd (AEL).

MAN B&W DieselEdit

In 2000, Alstom Engines Ltd. was acquired by MAN B&W Diesel to become MAN B&W Diesel Ltd. In 2005, MAN sold the Regulateurs Europa controls business to Heinzmann. In November 2020, MAN announced the Colchester factory would close with the remaining Paxman products to be supported by MAN Energy Solutions's Hazel Grove facility.[5]

Diesel enginesEdit


Pre-1934 designs:[6]

Post-1934 designs (indirect injection):[7]

Post-1952 designs (direct injection) [8]


Examples of Ruston-Paxman diesel engines:


  1. ^ "Anson Engine Museum Gallery - General - up to 2008/DSCF0050 renamed 28678". Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  2. ^ "Paxman History Pages - Paxman Diesel Engines Since 1934; Ricardo Comet Indirect Injection System". 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  3. ^ "History of Paxman's Ownership and Corporate Identity". Paxman History. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  4. ^ Paxman: a diesel pioneer Rail issue 924 10 February 2021 pages 50-53
  5. ^ Colchester's Paxman factory to shut after 150 years Daily Gazette 6 November 2020
  6. ^ "Paxman History Pages - Paxman Heavy Duty Diesel Engines". 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  7. ^ "Paxman History Pages - Paxman Diesel Engines Since 1934". 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  8. ^ "Paxman History Pages - Paxman Diesel Engines Since 1934: Direct Injection". 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2017-05-26.

External linksEdit