Revised 2 November, 2010

Great Britain

Howard Rotavator

Howard & Other British Pictures

J.A.P. Engine Chart

British Links

The best known Australian and British rototiller manufacturer is Howard Rotavator, Ltd.

Arthur Clifford Howard was born on the 4th of April 1893 in Crockwell, New South Wales, Australia. He built his first model in 1912 at the family farm at Gilgandra. He was study engineering by correspondence while an apprentice at Moss Vale, a town on the southern highlands of New South Wales, Southwest of Sydney. Of course the Australians credited Cliff Howard with the invention of the Rotary Hoe. Rotary Tillage dates back to the 1850's.
Photo Courtesy of J. Blair

After working in England during WWI he returned to Australia in 1919 and started to design, test and patent his rotary hoe cultivator. At first his machines were large using 40 to 60 HP engines as prime movers. Then he started making rotary hoe attachments for tractors such as the Fordson.

In 1921 Howard formed Austral Auto Cultivators Pty Ltd. Howard made a variety of different size tractors and crawlers from 1922 to the 1960's including the DH22 series tractor that was made for 30 years and the Platypus crawler.

Howard turned his attention to a walk behind machine and by 1924 he produced the 6hp Howard 'Junior' rotary hoe. A model 8 and 12 was also reported to have been made.

Photo Courtesy of J. Blair In 1928 Capt. E. N. Griffiths visited Australia, like the Howard and arrange to have one exported to England. He then had Howard's of Bedford, England manufacture the machine. Howard's of Bedford was not connected to Cliff Howard. About 100 units were made.

In 1930 Howard formed the Howard Cultivators Ltd. in England to manage export orders outside of Australia. And in 1938 Cliff Howard and Capt. E.N. Griffiths formed Rotary Hoes Ltd. in East Horndon, Essex for the production of Howard's machines in England. The facility was located on Station Road and the telephone number was HERONGATE 26 and 96. In the early 1950's the local authority changed the name from East Horndon to West Horndon the factory stayed at the same facility.

Rotohoe Models

In 1940 the pedestrian controlled Rotohoe GEM was introduced to replace the Australia designed and East Horndon built Rotohoe 5, 6, 10, and 12. During WWII a variety of engines were used to keep the permitted level of production going. Even motorcycle engines from scrap yards were used.

GEM Series II

Then in 1947 the Series II GEM model was introduced with either a Howard BJ (British Junior) or a J.A.P. 6hp petrol (that's gasoline to us yanks).
J.A.P. stands for J. A. Prestwich & Co. Ltd. motor works of Tottenham. Both of these engine used a dry sump oil system with the oil tank being located next to the fuel tank. The GEM now had three forward and one reverse gear. The Series II has a single dry clutch controlled by a handle on the handlebar. A 20" miller was standard but a 18" and 24" was available.

In 1949 Howard's Rotary Hoes, Ltd. began importing his GEM machines to the United States. In an advertisement from 1949 it states their machines have been used in Australia for many years and some 20,000 units were in operation.

This is supported by a 1949 letter I have from Rotary Hoes Ltd. to the man who's estate I purchased my Bantam and some of the literature I have on the Howard's, it mentions an agent in Chicago:

The Chicago Fence & Equipment Co.
4400 Addison St.
Chicago 44, Ill.

This letter states that in March, 1949 there was not an agent in Pennsylvania, but one would be appointed soon.

Clifford Aero and Auto Ltd. produced rotary cultivators under the name Clifford Cultivators Ltd. from 1946/47 to 1956/59. Howard's Rotary Hoes Ltd. purchased the line of machines and tooling and the logo Howard-Clifford was used for a few years. Like Howard's of Bedford, Clifford Cultivators was not related to A.C. Howard. Howard-Clifford became Howard Rotavator Co. in 1959. The names and dates don't always match between the different sources or they actually overlapped so a clear cutoff date is not evident.

No Cliffords models have been reported to me making their way to the U.S.A.

GEM Series III and IV

In 1950 the Series III and IV was introduced. I have some sales literature and owner manuals dated 1950. They had car type controls as described in the sales literature. The gearshift is a 4-star quadrant with neutral in the middle. It looks like a plus sign. The handlebars could be adjusted for height and laterally.

They had a differential lock that automatically disengage when the miller (tine rotor) was place in neutral to make turns.

The Series III has a 600cc 6hp J.A.P. engine and came with either a 18" or 20" miller. The Series IV has Howard's own 9.8hp 810cc twin cylinder engine and came with a choice of 20", 24" or 30" miller. A single-cylinder 9hp Sachs water-cooled diesel was added as an option in 1957. Attachments could be hitched to the miller cover. A furrower, furrower cover, roller, belt pulley, soil shredder, leaf guard shields and extension rims was offered. A PTO pulley was standard and used for the soil shredder attachment.

One piece of literature from 1952 listed the 600cc engine as 11hp and the 810cc engine was listed as 15hp. The same flyer shows steel wheels with the extension rims and has a picture of dual rubber tires installed in another.

Wisconsin single-cylinder and twin-cylinder engines were fitted to some GEM imported to the U.S. The Wisconsin engines were rated at 3600 R.P.M. whereas the J.A.P. 600cc at 1800 R.P.M. and the Twin 810cc at 2000 R.P.M. Two versions were required, a slow-speed and a high-speed model. The slower version has a distance of about 1.5 inches between the starter shaft and the reverse idler gear shaft, the shafts come through the transmission case on the right side. The higher speed version is about 2.5-3" apart

Series V

By the time the Series V was introduced in 1960 some 50,000 GEM had been sold. A Howard 810cc twin-cylinder 12hp engine powered the unit and has a 2.8mph top speed. A twin dry-disc clutch was design. In the early 1970's new engines choices were introduced. Kohler K301T 11hp or a Hatz E780 9hp diesel.

GEM Standard and Super GEM

The Series V basically became the GEM Standard with little change. The Super GEM had a choice of a Kohler K341T 15hp or a Hatz E785 11hp diesel.

The GEM became the Dowdeswell 650 in 1985 when Howard went into receivership and some models were sold to Dowdeswell Engineering.

The Other Howard Models

A collector in Australia has a Terrier with a Howard L-series 4.2hp engine made approximately 1948. Other Terrier owners has Villiers engine on them.

The Junior was another model not imported to the U.S. but I believed it was the bases for the Yeoman introduced in 1955.

In 1950 the Bantam was introduced. It has a 10" wide miller and was powered by a 1.95hp Villiers two-cycle engine. A variety of engines was used but I have never seen any literature mentioning them, in the U.S. a Briggs & Stratton model 5 2hp four-cycle engine also a four-cycle Clinton was installed. I have a Briggs powered unit. It has 4 forward speeds, low-high transmission with twin V-belt grooves on the engine input pulley. Solid rubber tires are used. A 4" flat-belt pulley is mounted to the side drive shaft. The miller is removable and attachments such as a toolbar(cultivators), sprayer, seeder units, hedge trimmer, cutter bar and cylinder mower could be attached.

A sales literature I have from 1955 has a $350 price written next to it. A price list from England in 1956 listed the Bantam at £99.

In 1956 three engines choices were offered in England, Villiers Mark 15 1.9hp or B.S.A. four-cycle or a Villiers Mark 25c 2hp two-cycle.

Joining the line in 1954 was the Bulldog and in 1955 the Yeoman. The Bulldog was renamed Bullfinch after a dispute with Lanz, a German tractor manufacturer who already used the Bulldog name. The Bullfinch was a less expensive then the Bantam still having a 10" miller but a smaller engine 1.25hp J.A.P. and the handlebars did not swing to the side. The Bulldog/Bullfinch would be in direct competition with the American Roto-Ette. On both the Bantam and Bulldog/Bullfinch models the engine was tilted to tighten the V-belts to the gearbox just like on the Roto-Ette models T, 2 and 3 series.

The Yeoman is a mid-size model with a Wisconsin 8.2hp AEN model. And two-speed gearbox provided 4 forward gears, two reverse and two speeds on the 15" wide miller. A U.S. sales flyer with the Wisconsin engine shown has hand written on it a price of $795.

Using the same quick disconnect system on the miller unit as the Bantam, the Yeoman offered several attachments including front and rear tool bars, cutter bars, sprayer and seeder units. A Terrier model was also made, but I don't have any specs on it.

Cliff Howard died in January 1971.

At the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, Richmond, New South Wales, Australia in the Stable Square is a 'Historic Engineering Marker" The plaque text reads:

Howard's Rotary Hoe
Arthur Clifford Howard (1893-1971) developed the first commercially viable machines for soil cultivation using powered rotors. His first model was built on the family farm at Gilgandra in 1912. Marketing his 'Rotavator' began in 1922 from factories established in New South Wales and later overseas. The principle of rotary cultivation has been adopted on farms worldwide from the smallest holdings to home gardens and the largest enterprises.
Cliff Howard also developed tractors and other farm equipment over a long and productive career. His name endures on a range of machines sold.

Dedicated by The Institution Of Engineers, Australia, 1988

Also located at the University is an early model Rotary Hoe, but not the original. It's located at the Machinery Pool Shed on Clydesdale Lane.

After this we get into the "Modern Era" as I call it and I won't go into any great detail. The Bullfinch had a more powerful engine installed and renamed the Demon. The Bantam became the 200 series, the Yeoman the 300/350 series. The 8hp Dragon was introduced.

The West Horndon facility was outgrown and closed in 1974. A new plant was opened in Ipswich and the name changed to Howard Machinery Ltd..

The GEM as mention earlier had been sold to Dowdeswell during the receivership in 1985. The rest of Howard was bought by Farmhand and traded as Howard-Farmhand. The Farmhand name was later dropped, Howard Rotavator Co. is still in business but only make tractor mount models from 40" to 180" wide and rated from 12hp to 250hp.

Trivia fact, the word Rotavator is a palindrome, it reads the same forward and backward, see rotavatoR.

I have collected some Sales Literature from Howard used in the U.S.A. This literature not only described the machines but also mention the company sales offices used at various times in America from 1949 to the mid-1950's.

There is two distributors listed on one color sales literature I have. This flyer doesn't have a date printed on it, but it states "Rotavator, back by 27 years of experience."

Howard Rotavator Company, Inc. of Maryland
3916 South Hanover St.
Baltimore 25, Md.


Howard Rotavator Company, Inc. of California
274 Brannan St.
San Francisco 7, Calif.
YUKON 2-2887

This piece of literature was stamp by local agent:
Geo. M. Yocum, Inc.
Sales - FORD - Service
Cars, Trucks & Tractors
Phone 3333
Lansdale, Pa.

This flyer shows a 147 c.c. Villiers 2-cycle British engine, but mine has a Briggs & Stratton model '5' engine. One Australian reported having a Villiers powered Bantam.

The Bantam model I have has Yocum's decals on it. The price of $350.00 was written next to the Bantam on the front and back of this flyer.

Another flyer I have, a color tri-fold has no dates and was printed in England. It's on the "GEM" with a 6 h.p. single cylinder, 600 c.c. engine.

Another color tri-fold flyer dated 9/52 describes the "GEM" Series III, 11 h.p., single cylinder 600 c.c. engine. And the "GEM" Series IV, 15 h.p., twin cylinder 810 c.c. engine.

A single sheet color flyer dated 1955 describes the Howard Rotavator "Yeoman." Powered by a Wisconsin Model AEN single cylinder engine rated at 8.2 h.p. The price of $795.00 was written on the flyer. The flyer was printed in the USA. Geo. M. Yocum, Inc had their name stamped in the agent box. But this flyer had a new U.S. office printed on it:

Howard Rotavator Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 38, 1600 E. Davis Street
Arlington Heights, Illinois

I have two different GEM "Instruction Book & Spare Parts List" manuals.

The first printed 2/50 only shows the single cylinder 600 c.c. engine. It was in a envelope marked "Model AENL, Issue MM-283-B" and written on it was "GEM Rotavator 1962 3-1-1962". The AENL is a 9.2 h.p. single-cylinder Wisconsin engine.

The other printed 11/51 covers the "GEM Series IV Model" has only the Howard twin cylinder engine shown. This manual has a reprint marking of RG4-TSP-17-3-750 if anyone can decipher that.

The last piece of literature I have for the Howard's is "J.A.P. 600 C.C. Mark III Type Number 4., Rotary Hoe, Engine Reference Book." The printers mark is MB/W/04 and was marked "Price 1/-". There is a part number list but no illustrated drawings. J.A.P. motor works was established in 1895 and located at:

J. A. Prestwich & Co., LTD.
Northumberland Park,
Tottenham, London, N. 17

It appears that Howard installed engines that were common to the country the unit was exported to, this way engine parts were more readily available. This was not a strict rule because J.A.P. engines were on American Rotavators and Clinton engines showed up in Australia..

Howard Rotavator were made in Australia also. Their address there was:
Howard Auto-Cultivators Pty. Limited
Windsor Road
Northmead, N.S.W.

On literature provided to me by Brian Gall the information was marked:
Distributed By:
Sole Distributors for Victoria & Southern Riverina:

E. Hassett & Sons Pty. Ltd.
Whitehorse Rd., Ringwood
Tel. WU6651
626 Bourke Street, Melborne MU 6891
8 Lansdale Street, Dandenong - 4301

Sold and Serviced by:-
S.G. Winkler
"A" Grade Automobile Engineer
147 Mercer St.
Phone No. 5676

Models that were found in Australia included the Farmette that was an detachable 2-3/4 h.p. power plant and controls that could be used on accessories such as a rotavator (single-wheel). Two-wheel attachments included a rotary mower, a prime mover for a garden cart or fertilizer spreader. There was also a front tine rotary tiller, a swing saw, or a reel mower. Also it could used as a stationary engine to operate a spray pump, mobile post borer (drill), or a shearer to shear your sheep.

The Foxie is a single-wheel rotavator, powered by a 2-1/4 h.p. engine. The miller comes in both 6&qout; and 9" versions, the same as the Farmette. The undated sales flyer for the Foxie states that "The Howard 'Junior' and 'Terrier' are household words".

  Recently a couple sent me pictures of a Rotary-Hoes model Roteho, never heard of it. It is powered by a V-Twin J.A.P. 1100cc engine model LTZ/G/S. Pictures are on the Howard & Other British Pictures page. Each cylinder is 550cc's and was made in 1959. The U.S. Patent on the data tag is also new to my research, number 1,574,654 for a Power Driven Cultivator, awarded on Feb. 23, 1926 to Arthur CLifford Howard.

Top of Page

British Rototillers That Didn't Cross The Big Pond

Clifford Aero and Auto Ltd.

Precision engineers Clifford Aero and Auto Ltd. were established in 1912. This company later renamed Clifford Cultivators, started making garden cultivators in 1947. There were three versions of Clifford Model A rotary cultivator. The Model B was designed for greenhouse and row-crop work. Implements included a plough, cutter bar mower, 18 gallon pump & sprayer, ridger, hoes, potato spinner, large steel wheels, and four wheel trailer.

The Model A Mark I had a 5 hp air-cooled J.A.P. engine with dog clutches to engage the single speed worm and wheel drive to the land wheels and direct drive to the spring tine-cultivating rotor. The one-gallon petrol tank held enough fuel for about 2-½ hours' work. The Mark I with a 16-in. wide rotor cost £100 and a 22-in. rotor added £5 to the price.

The Mark II had the same 5-hp J.A.P. engine but it was more sophisticated with a friction clutch operated by a lever on the handlebars and a gearbox provided forward speeds of 1 and 2 mph. The standard machine with a 22 in. working width cost £137 10s 0d and there was a reduction of £1 15s 0d for the Mark II with a 16 in. rotor. Reverse gear and wheel clutches for power turning were optional extras.

The Mark III was the most expensive Clifford Model A rotary cultivator. Standard equipment included a hand-operated friction clutch, a two forward and reverse gearbox and independent wheel clutches for easy turning on headlands. A gearbox lever was used to select forward speed, and reverse was engaged with a separate lever on the handlebars. The 24 in. Mark III Clifford rotary cultivator cost £160.

Larger diameter steel wheels, which increased the forward speed by 50%, were an optional fitting for Model A rotary cultivators and recommended for use with the potato spinner. The steel wheels cost an extra £11 15s 0d and the potato spinner £22 10s 0d in 1950. The potato spinner made picking crops grown on allotments and market gardens a little easier than it was behind a potato plough. A wide share loosened the ridge and the spinner rotor, driven by the rotary cultivator power shaft, moved soil and potatoes sideways on to fresh ground for the hand pickers.

The 5 hp Clifford Model B was a combined rotary cultivator and inter-row hoe with a friction clutch, two forward speeds and a 12 in rotor. A gallon of petrol was said to be sufficient for about three hours' work. In 1950 the Model B cost £126 10s 0d.

A second generation of rotary cultivators was made by Clifford Cultivators at West Horndon in the mid 1950s. The Mark I with a Villiers two-stroke power unit was a compact gear-driven machine that could dig, hoe, ridge and cut grass and trim hedges. In 1958 the Mark I made at West Horndon cost £101 10s 0d. Similar to the earlier models, the 7 ½ hp Mark IV Clifford rotary cultivator introduced at the 1953 Smithfield Show had a worm drive to the 16 or 22 in. rotor with rigid blades or spring tines. There was a choice of power units, either a J.A.P. 600 cc or B.S.A. 500 cc, both with dry sumps. Lubrication was by means of an oil tank beneath the engine hood with a pump to force feed oil to the moving parts.

A diesel-engined version of the Clifford Mark IV was launched at the 1959 Chelsea Flower Show. By December of that year Clifford Cultivators had been amalgamated with Howard Rotavators and their machines carried a Howard-Clifford logo.

Top of Page

Geo. Monro
British SIMAR

Geo. Monro Ltd. distributed SIMAR's in England, a manufacturer of various garden machines from 1929 to 1949. Then in 1949 they started producing SIMAR's under license to the Swiss specification.

Information and some spares are available though the Vintage Horticultural and Garden Machinery Club of England. One of the members even have the books containing records of machines dispatched, where, when and to whom.

Top of Page

British Anzani Engineering Co. Ltd.

"The British Anzani Engineering Co. at Hampton Hill in Middlesex, manufacturers of aeroplane, automobile, motorcycle, and speed boat engines, introduced the British Anzani Iron Horse in 1940. It had a 6-hp J.A.P. four-stroke air-cooled engine, oil bath air cleaner and Wico magneto. A centrifugal clutch engaged the drive to the steel wheels through a three forward and reverse gearbox when the engine reached a speed of 750 rpm. The Iron Horse was not a rototiller but a noteworthy garden tractor to include here.

Hand-lever-operated independent dog clutches in the drive to the wheels enabled the Iron Horse to make very sharp turns on the headland. Caution was required as the engine power would swing the handlebars round with some force and could easily knock the operator off his feet. Spade lug wheels were standard equipment and track width was adjustable from 24 to 36 in. for ploughing and row-crop work. Optional extras included a side-mounted belt pulley suitable for a saw bench and other stationary equipment. The British Anzani Iron Horse cost £107 16s 0d in 1940, and pneumatic tyres were an extra £10; the price had increased to £130 by 1945.

Hire purchase terms for the British Anzani in 1948 required a £35 deposit with two years to pay the the balance. Alternatively the Iron Horse and a selection of implements could be hired for £3 10s 0d per week."

On a undated ad, the 6-hp Iron Horse was £140 and the smaller 1-hp Motor Hoe £44-10, supplied with Hoeing Blades and Grubbing Tines.

The British had many famous and popular rotary cultivators that were export to other European countries but not America. Names included Trusty and the Landmaster were among them.

Top of Page

Vendors, Clubs, & Collectors

My Antique Rototiller Forum


Howard U.S.A.
Steve Mundy
Phone: 1+ (519) 235-0840
Fax: 1+ (519) 235-2931

Howard International
Kongskilde Industries A/S
Skælskørvej 64
DK-4180 Sorø, Denmark
Phone: +45 57 86 50 00
Telefax: +45 57 86 51 00
14213 Washington St.

Mainline of North America
81 U.S. Route 40 S.W.
P.O. Box 526
London, Ohio 43140
Tel: (614) 361-5343
Parts for GEM, Bantam, and Bulldog Rotavator; also parts for Howard Twin and J.A.P. engines.

Guy Farm Machinery
14213 Washington St.
Woodstock, Ill 60098
Tel: 815-338-0600

Clay Dirt and Clover
4 Kenneth Rd
Bayswater 3153
Melbourne, Australia

Standen Engineering
Pedestrian Rotary Hoes Models
UK 01363 661111
Ask for Keith

G & S Tiller Sales
Specializing in commercial tillers for the Nursery and Landscaping Industry.
Supplying both walk-behind and tractor-mounted equipment. Also parts and service available.
Nationwide Plus 1-800-573-7921
2031 4th Ave
Joliet, IL 60433

Howard Rotavator (Gem), Kohler, Dowdeswell (650), Wisconsin, SEP/Valpadana, Lombardini, Grillo, Acme, BCS, and Maschio

Plough Book Sales Australia
Has 21 pages of Howard books , Howard instructions, Howard rare books,
Howard Sales cat., Howard Transfer & Decals

Yetman's Lawn & Garden
Norm Yetman
A must see Website

Down Loadable Manuals

J.A.P. 600cc Engine Manual

R. M. Wade & Co.
Howard Distributor
Check the history page.
1+ (503) 641-1865

Dowdeswell Engineering Co Ltd
Blue Lias Works, Stockton. Southam.
Warwickshire. CV47 8LD England
Telephone N° (01926) 812335 Fax N° (01926) 817494
Contact Paul Wilkinson for Parts
"We still do offer some parts and infomation on the pedestrian rotivators ( the models which were not taken on by Standen Enginering) and some tractor mounted rotivator ( E-series, H-series etc). We also have a large selection of parts manuals, instruction books and leaflets on many of the Howard models. "


Vintage Horticultural and Garden Machinery Club
Tel: 01406 362524

British Collector Charlie R. Moore's Website

Vintage Garden Tractor Club of America
Email: Jim Cunzenheim


Yetman's Lawn & Garden

Brian Foster
Auto-Culto Rotavators

The British Anzani Archive 11/21/2004
History and Pictures of Alessandro Anzani firm.

Still Looking for more Private Collector Websites


"Fifty Years of Garden Machinery"
by Brian Bell 1995

For more information order my book:

The Rototiller in America

You can ordered the book directly from the publisher,
Infinity Publishing, website,
a Print On Demand (POD) publisher.

Howard history I'm working on:

Hello, what handguns did australia use in WWII and how do you identufy them?

S&W Victory model(38-200),Webley(.455),and Hi-Power(9mm)come to mind.

I think you'll find we also used British-made Enfields (and possibly Mk IV Webleys), in .38/200 (.38 S&W). The HAC (Howard Auto Cultivator Co., New South Wales), was an Aussie-made No. 2 Mk I**. Very, very rare today, even here in Australia.

and a couple guys might have had one of those illusive HAC no2 mkI** revolvers that im still looking for with little hope - only a few hundred made
Don't see what you are looking for or want more information do a Google Search.


Home  American  Suisse  German  British   French   Other Europeans

Copyrighted 1998-2009 Donald A.Jones

I don't have the time to answer everyones email so I started a forum where you can ask your questions, receive answers from other collectors, even make new friends. You don't have to join the forum to post a message but to get an email reponse it helps. Check back often to see what is being discussed.

Antique Rototiller Forum

Top of Page