The Sentinel Steam Lorry

Jim Hatfield – 14th March 2006

In his talk Jim gave us a very interesting broad outline of the development of Steam Lorries from 1896 when the first Road Lorry Act was passed right through to the present day preservation scene.

He showed the types of boilers used, including a flash steam unit, plus the various designs of engines and transmissions used by the various makes with numerous drawings and pictures to illustrate his points.

Amongst the interesting facts quoted were the standard 6o HP 230 psi unit could achieve 20 mph whereas the 80 HP super at 275 psi could achieve 30 mph all on an 8 inch stroke and 6 inch bore engine. Whereas solid tyres would give 20 mph while on pneumatics 45 mph could be achieved.

Jim then divulged his own love for his personal lorry, which is a Sentinel DG type which started life as the first ready mix concrete lorry, complete with picture to prove it. Although it is now converted to a normal open lorry behind the cab in case you should wish to have a side. This lorry uses about 7 gallons of water per mile and does about 15 miles per hundredweight of coal so not exorbitant on fuel costs. He runs on solid tyres with a showerhead over each, dripping water to keep them cool, thus ensuring no puncture problems.

Jim concluded his talk with an extremely interesting batch of slides showing his own and other preserved lorries around in the present preservation scene and gave us many amusing stories about his activities with his lorry.

His enthusiasm for his subject came over loud and clear and judging by comments I heard afterwards, kept the whole of his audience thoroughly enthralled throughout the afternoon.

Ray Parsons