The Darby Digger

January 04, 2015

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.