The Darby Digger

andygrove   January 4, 2015   3 Comments on The Darby Digger

My Dad told me about the Darby Digger many years ago and I just saw another mention of it today and I thought I’d share it here. The Darby Digger was a steam-driven machine for ploughing fields. It was invented around 20 years earlier than the tractor that we are familiar with today. My great grandfather, Robert Hasler, helped build it. Here’s a photo of Robert Hasler driving the Darby Digger (around 1879).


This next photo shows the Prince of Wales who came to see a later version of the Darby Digger. Robert Hasler is standing in front in this photo. Early versions of the Darby Digger actually walked on six or eight legs but later versions used wheels.


I was looking for more information online this evening about this and was amused to find that is was picked up by Make magazine back in 2006 (

I was also amazed to see that someone built a fully working scale version of one version of the Darby Digger back in the 1970’s and took a video which is now available to watch on YouTube.

I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it would have been to create a machine like this, driven by steam power, in the late 1800’s.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

3 thoughts on “The Darby Digger

  1. Melanie

    Hello Andy,
    As a member of the Steam Plough Club I am in the process of gathering information and pictures for some banners we are producing for our 5oth anniversary anniversary display. These banners will be in the National Traction Engine Trust marquee at the Great Dorset Steam Fair and then on display at the World Ploughing Championships in York. I notice on your website you have two photos of the Darby digger. One I have seen before but the one with the Prince of Wales is new to me. would it be possible to make use of this in our display? I would certainly credit you and make reference to your Great Grandfather.
    I look forward to hearing from you,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *