Ronaldson Tippett Engines

Ronaldson Brothers & Tippett were a large manufacturing company based in Ballaarat, Victoria, Australia. They were founded before the turn of the century and made just about everything from engines to cast iron oddities. They made the Austral Engines, a popular collector's item now.

Later they created the Type 'N', an extremely reliable engine that followed in the tradition of ruggedness and durability that Ronaldson Tippett had become renowned for. The Type 'N' is a hopper or tank cooled vertical engine, available in petrol and kerosene models in a choice of 2, 3, or 4 horsepower. An interesting point to note is the fact the intake and exhaust manifolds were combined in one solid bronze unit. They were available with a variety of accessories, including spark plug covers, air filters, mufflers, drive couplings and bases. The very early models were also known as the Austral engine. Click here to hear it run!

The Type 'N' variety was produced from about 1927 into the 50s, remaining virtually unchanged except for minor improvements in the valve and bearing areas. Ronaldson Tippett sold engines under a total of 68 different names for various companies. They came in many colours, but all Ronaldson Tippett marketed 'N's were painted Mid Brunswick Green.

The first Type 'N' I acquired was an extremely early one, serial number 9995, and is labeled an Austral engine, 3hp.

Austral 'N' ID plate.

The engine has a 1/8" crack in the water hopper, and was totally ceased. I found it on a junk heap in White Cliffs, NSW, Australia. It was out in the open, and had no spark plug or valves, and hadn't for a long time. However, there was a slurry in the crankcase that consisted of about 50/50 old oil and dust, and the bearings are all in good condition.

Drive side and base.

Each flywheel weighs in at 22.4 kgs, and neither wanted to come off in a hurry. It took 3 hours to remove the two using wedges and shims.

Side showing both flywheels.

The Magneto is a BTH, and sparks very well. I do not know anything of this magneto, and am interested to hear from anyone who knows anything of it, especially it's age.

The second Type 'N' I obtained was a much later engine, and is a 4 horsepower engine. This means in runs faster and has a slightly larger bore, but most parts are interchangeable. It was badged as an Alfa Laval, which are an entirely black engine, except for the flywheels, therefore sometime in it's past it has had a different cylinder head fitted.

Alfa Laval as I found it.

This engine now runs, but the big end is very badly worn. The previous owner had already replaced it, it had apparently been in even worse condition than it was now, which is hard to believe.

I also have now another Type 'N' engine, incomplete, however, it is missing the governor side and intake\exhaust manifold. It is a much later engine, possibly mid 40's. It is serial number 115076. It is in excellent condition, and I hope to make one good one out of the three above.

Ronaldson Tippett almost together again.

and another view. . .

Ronaldson Tippett was a very versatile company, and I have also a Type 'CR' Vertical Diesel. Although it is not yet operational, it is not far off it, and will make a good project for me. There are some very unusual features on it that I am not familiar with. The piston and cylinder head are conical shaped to increase the compression ratio. The entire combustion chamber is only about a single cubic inch in volume, and the valves enter the head from the side towards each other, with the injector in between. Even with the massive flywheel on it (solid, 26" diameter), it comes to a jerking halt when you spin it onto the compression stroke.

  Type CR Vertical Diesel.

the CAV injector system.

Under the head casting cover

Note the valve rockers so that the valves open inwards towards each other.


I have one other Ronaldson Tippett engine, although it is far from being in operating condition. It is a model NHA, a 3 - 4 horsepower, aircooled petrol engine. It is a heavy creation for such a small engine!! The interesting feature on this engine is the reduction drive on the engine. The power take off shaft is driven from the camshaft, having the effect of a 2:1 reduction gearbox built in. The engine is missing many parts which i am trying to find, including petrol tank, carburettor, muffler and starting handle, otherwise it is complete, free and has good compression. I have never had any experience with this engine before, and will need all the help i can get!!

If anyone has any interesting information that I haven't included here, I'd love to hear from you.

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