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Davleco Rollers

Discussion in 'Rollers' started by Ben 555, Dec 4, 2022.

  1. Ben 555

    Ben 555 Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Australia
    roller.jpg

    I have acquired a couple of what I believe are both Davleco rollers

    One 60 inch smooth drum powered by a ST2 lister and one 72 inch Padfoot which has been repowered with a Cat 4 cyl engine.

    There is very little available on the web, so keen for anything from the collective brains trust as to things to look out for, parts availability etc

    Keen to keep this old Aussie iron going for use around the farm.
     

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  2. OzDozer

    OzDozer Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired ..
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia.
    Ben - Davleco Industries got their start during WW2, as with many Australian manufacturers. The company was started by a Mr W. G. Davies. The company kept a low profile in the 1940's and I can't even find when the company was originally registered. The first mention I found was Davleco advertising for a requirement or a lathe with a 15' bed in 1949.
    They got a Govt Supply contract for "jigs" in 1951, but their roller product line didn't receive much advertising until the early 1950's.

    They were a favourite supplier to councils, and produced a lot of equipment over the decades from the mid-1940's to the late 1970's, until poor economic conditions for manufacturing, such as high inflation, large wage and salary increases, a major reduction in import tariffs, and strong competition saw Davleco fall into liquidation.

    They merged with Braemar Industries in 1974, but the merger was obviously a major blunder, as Braemar-Davleco then started losing lots of money, with over $500,000 loss reported in 1976.

    I'm not sure what happened to the company. I understand they were claiming that they had organised a takeover by Vulcan Industries around 1977, when they were being put into liquidation by Tricontinental Corporation, but I can find nothing that came from that claim. It appears that Davleco's assets were sold, but the company shell survived.
    Davleco was suspended from the Melbourne Stock Exchange in 1979 for failing to supply annual company records, but it must have been re-instated some time later, as I found a notice that Davleco had changed its name to Victor Petroleum in 1980, and the company was going into mining and oil and gas. Victor Petroleum was delisted in 1987, so it looks like they achieved little.

    In the late 1960's, they were going great guns, even arranging sales to the U.S. Of course, in the late 1960's and early 1970's, the USD$/AUD$ exchange rate was quite favourable.

    https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-96433429...bj-964428937#page/n14/mode/1up/search/Davleco

    Davleco even went into a Joint Venture in the late 1960's with an American gent by the name of Mr W. J. Weller, who was formerly sales engineer for the George J Meyer Manufacturing company.
    Davleco and Weller formed Meyer-Davleco Pty Ltd, a subsidiary company of Davleco and they talked about Meyer-Davleco producing bottling equipment. The subsidiary operation seems to have folded with no indication they ever produced anything.

    https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-96532914...bj-965348688#page/n16/mode/1up/search/Davleco

    The Morawa Historical Society can provide you with a copy of the operating instructions for the 72" Davleco roller. See under the "Rollers" heading.

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~caladenia_new@westnet.com.au/miscman.html

    There's a full list of the Davleco Roller range on Page 31 of this Feb/March 1975 Hire & Rental News publication.

    https://www.hireandrentalnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/magazine-archives/no1/025 Hire - Feb-Mar 1975.pdf

    Roller Parts Australia can supply belts and a centrifugal clutch assembly, but these parts are quite likely to be readily available from the likes of bearing suppliers or industrial product suppliers.

    https://www.rollerparts.com.au/

    Most rollers are pretty simple and basic, the areas to keep an eye on are the rubber isolator pads, and the vibratory mechanism bearings. The vibratory action is hard on the drive bearings, and they must be well greased.
    Otherwise, belts and pulleys and pulley bearings, and engine maintenance are the regular things to keep up.

    Here's a bloke who has a neat old ride-on Davleco in good operating condition.

     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2022
  3. Ben 555

    Ben 555 Member

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    OzDozer - WOW amazing research - thanks very much for the information and hugely interesting

    I couldn't find anything (bar the brochure you had the link for) advertising the machinery.

    They must have been popular at a time as I see Davleco machines popping up for sale regularly.

    We have installed all new drive bearings (they were flogged) and was about to start on the drum but didnt know where to look for parts - thanks for the tip

    From your tip, I reached out to Morawa Historical Society (Helen and Mal responded within minutes) and have a manual on its way.

    Thanks OzDozer - your help has made my day
     
    OzDozer likes this.
  4. OzDozer

    OzDozer Senior Member

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    Perth, Western Australia.
    Ben - That's good to hear that I could help out. Yes, the Davleco rollers were produced in very sizeable numbers, and supplied a wide range of models, and they were very popular in the '60's and '70's and 80's.

    As with a lot of Australian manufacturing, they collapsed with some poor management decisions, and the onslaught of competition from global manufacturers. They were a good product, and rollers are possibly the most overlooked construction machine around. After all, no-one ever wanted a roller-driving job! - it was the most boring, hated job around! Been there, and done that! LOL

    Cheers, Ron.
     
  5. OzDozer

    OzDozer Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Occupation:
    Semi-Retired ..
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia.
    Ben, I've found more Davleco gold for you! Mr W. G. Davies has actually written a book about the Davleco company and its history. The book is called "Davleco - A Memoir", and it's 92 pages long, and was published in 2020 by Memoir Publishing in Victoria.

    Unfortunately, it seems copies of the book are not easy to acquire. Two libraries have it in stock, the State Library of Victoria and the National Library in Canberra. Unfortunately, neither library will let the book go outside the Library, so it can't be borrowed, it must be read in the Library.

    I cannot find any listing for the book on any bookseller site, nor on the Memoir Publishing site, but I've included a link to their website, so you can contact them to find out if a copy of the book is available for sale.

    http://memoirpublishing.com.au/

    I also found out that Victor Petroleum did not get liquidated, it changed its name to Victor Properties in 1987, and thus company appeared to change tack again, to go into real estate.
     
  6. Ben 555

    Ben 555 Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Thanks OzDozer - thats a great bit of detective work
    I am in NSW, but in the ACT on a fortnightly basis for work, so if I can wrangle a few hours I will get in there to read and take a few snaps - Looking forward to it - Huge thanks

    Re - your summary re local manufacturing in the late 70/ early 80's
    I know we live in a global economy / Australia is small volumes for equipment manufacturers and that protectionism of industries via high import tariffs can lead to low productivity / poor development, but local manufacturing means so much for local skill development, downstream supplier growth and regional economies.
     
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