The International Steam Pages


Penang's Rubber Rollers
Part 4

This is part of a series of pages on relics of Penang's rubber industrial heritage. The others are:

We have seen several machines with an arched top where the screw presses on a set of springs. This is the finest example seen above Jalan Chai near Balik Pulau. It bears the inscription "Im(por)ted by Sime Darby & Co Ltd GEN Straits Settlements". Alongside it was a standard roller with (inter alia) "Tan Ewe Aik" which also has Singapore on it.

This pair was also found in the same area. The 'curved' one has '20 IN' and 'G16' cast on it as does the Sime Darby one.

This is another Sime Darby example found above Pondok Upeh with identical markings to the one above:

Here is another pair from above Gertak Sanggul, the one with a curved top has 'Pluto' on it. The other one is anonymous.

We have found some extraordinary survivors but this must be near the top of that list. Found above Pulau Betong, cast on it is "The Cherry Tree M/C Co Ltd Blackburn England'. This company survives to this day, http://cherrytreemachines.co.uk/.  Note 'Pluto' at the top under the screw, presumably the model name like the example above. Its other half is anonymous.

This pair is also above Gertak Sanggul, that with the curved top has "Kuala Lumpur" cast on it.

Near the 1200 Step Temple, Yuehong spotted this pair which I had missed. The 'curved' one has '20 IN' and 'G16' cast on it like the two above, the other is anonymous..

We saw this group of very rusty machines on the north side of the Balik Pulau valley.

The first example with the curved top has 'McAlister & Co Ltd', the lettering on the right side would need better tools than I had available. This was a Singapore company with branches in mainland Malaya. The second roller has Tan Ewe Aik, Singapore on it. The final two rollers are in a sad state, minus the parts which might have carried some identification.

In the same area we found three more machines, the first one has no identifying mark and was unlike any others we have seen. The second one looks 'ordinary', except for the 'box' enclosing the gears - like the pair above near the 1200 Steps Temple. I need to make time to compare these anonymous machines with those that have an ID. There is a third machine buried in the pineapples and near it was probably the top of another one. It bears a plate which reads (H)ock Cheong Foundry, 19, Market Lane, Penang.

A more complete example of the first one immediately above was found above Pondok Upeh.


This anonymous pair is on the north side of the Sungai Ara valley. Once these machines lose their 'tops' any identification marks tend to disappear. Maybe one day I'll be able to recognise designs but right now I don't have the time to check my pictures closely.

This anonymous pair was found above Pulau Betong.. 

This anonymous pair was found near Anjung Indah:

This heavy duty pair of anonymous machines was seen at Sungai Rusa (5th March 2019).:

Finally an anonymous machine seen on the north side of the Balik Pulau valley, quite unlike anything else we have seen. There was no sign of its 'other half'.


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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