Opposed Piston pioneer powered ships for 70 Years


by: A.Verheijden (Retired Chief Engineer Dutch Merchant Navy) For remarks mail to:

I sailed more than 2 years with DOXFORD's, the LB type as second and Chief Engineer

Owner: Phs. van Ommeren, Rotterdam. Ship's names "mv Kieldrecht", N.E.M - DOXFORD : 60LB5 (15 months second Engineer)

"mv Loosdrecht", BARCLAY CURLE - DOXFORD : 67LB6 (14months as Chief Engineer)

The mv Loosdrecht was the ex mv Langleeclyde from the Medomsley Steam Shipping Co Ltd.

Pictures: Doxford Engine Works, Sunderland, ± 1957-1958

More Intern + Extern Links

Short History

  • By 1840 at Cox Green he started to build wooden ships
  • In 1857,William Doxford moved to Pallion (Sunderland), where he began operation on a much larger scale.
  • In 1870 a larger site was purchased and five new berths were laid down. William Doxford and Sons began building marine steam engines and steam boilers in 1878
  • In 1902 the original five berths were scrapped to make room for three berths of greater length and breadth, which enabled the firm to build vessels up to 540 feet in length and of 20,000 tons capacity
  • . In 1906, Doxfords began to consider the possibilities of the diesel motor for ship propulsion. When the WWI ended they resumed work on the four-cylinder engine, and after further research and the completion of successful trials it was felt justified in putting this into production.
  • In 1921 the engine was installed in the Swedish ship Yngaren' this was the first motor ship to be built by Doxfords. From that day the name of Doxfords became world famous, a total of £100,000 had been spent on developing this new engine. A further five units were built during the 1920-23 depression.
  • Doxfords continued with research and development, overcoming problems of vibration. Then during the grim thirties' when hardly a keel was laid in Sunderland yards, important changes took place in the design and construction methods of the engines. Using steel welded fabrications of the superstructures and supporting frames obtained substantial size and weight reduction.
  • Cast-iron bedplates were still in use until 1936 when fabricated construction was extended to these also During World War II they turned their whole production over to a three-cylinder 2,500 bhp unit. It later earned the title of the economical'; because of its low fuel consumption, only six tons a day. Ships with heavy loads had to run this engine at or near to its limiting rpm to keep up with a convoy in the North Atlantic.

William Doxford & Sons, (Engineers) Ltd.


These photographs are from an album lent to the Doxford Engine Friends’ Association in 2003 by Jim Duncan. 

Evidence from work in progress suggests that they were taken in 1957 and 1958.

Anyone who can further identify people featured in the photographs, or who wishes to provide other additional  information, is asked to contact the Doxford Engine Friends’ Association, c/o Keeper of Science & Industry, Tyne & Wear Museums, Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4JA.

The Doxford Engine Friends Association was formed in January 2003. The Association's aims include:

  • working with Tyne & Wear Museums to care for the preserved DOXFORD 58JS3 engine of 1979, which is housed at the Regional Museums Store at Beamish:
  • preserving and promoting the history of the Doxford Engine Works, its products and the people who designed and made them:
  • bringing together people who have an assosciation with Doxford's or an interest the history of the works and its world renowed opposed-piston marine oil engines.

Membership of the Doxford Engine Friends Association is open to all who are interested in supporting these objectives. Contact The Membership Secretary. DEFA, c/o Keeper of Science & Industry. Tyne & Wear Museums, Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4JA.

Index to Departments

The Engine Works was mostly concerned with machining and building the DOXFORD DIESEL ENGINES.

Castings and Forgings were bought from outside companies and machined in the works.

Crankshaft Shop, Part 1 Crankshaft Shop, Part 2

Erecting & Fitting Shop Fabricating Bay

Copying Lathes / Stockyard

Machine Shop,Part 1, Machine Shop, Part 2

Cylinder Liner Bay

Sub-Assembly Shop

Severe DOXFORD Damages


Different Types of DOXFORD Engines

(Click for full screen Image)

1921L/1926LB/1956LBD”,Long, Long Balanced and Long Balanced with Diaphragm

1961“P”: as a tribute to Percy Jackson
± 1972 “SEAHORSE Never in production or entered service

1965“J”: as a tribute to Percy Jackson

"J Engine" on test bed

Several Intern Links

Sun DOXFORD's (Chester, Pensylvania, U.S.A).
Doxford Engine built in Holland by Wilton-Fijenoord or N.D.S.M.
Doxford Engines built by SUN
Dutch Ship's with DOXFORD Engines NOT built in Holland
French Ship’s equipped with DOXFORD ENGINES
Argentinian Ship's which were equipped with DOXFORD ENGINES pdf




Doxford Engines "China Navigation Co" and TAIKOO DOCKYARD built DOXFORD"s

NEM-STOP on some DOXFORD Engines

(NEM = Nort Eastern Marine Engineering Co.)

C.S.M. Lloyd's, Lever Driven Scavenging Pump
The Doxford Engine: its Development and Decline by Denis GRIFFITHS
Barclay Curle-Doxford British Marine Industrie and Diesel Engine by Denis GRIFFITHS
Motor Ship Doxford Marenostrum




Doxford Engine Friends Association
William Doxford/Pallion Shipyard Index.
La Marine Marchande au jour le jour (French Site)
Doxford, les moteurs Diesel par Thierry Bressol(French Site)
Royal Belgian Institute of Marine Engineers
Doxford 76 J9
Imarest Sydney Branch MARINE NEWS
My Photostream on flickr YAHOO