The International Steam Pages


Penang's Rubber Rollers
Part 1

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

This page covers machines which appear to have a Singapore connection.

Leong Chuan, Singapore

The name survives as a building at 36 Phillip Street, the National Archives there has an invoice from the company which was described as a ships' chandler so no doubt they were agents and not manufacturers. There is one of this company's machines also show in Part 3 (link above).

Examples exist with Chinese and Roman script: This was the first Chinese one we saw above Sungai Rusa.

This pair seen above Telok Kumbar were in far better condition.

This is the 'Roman' version, seen between Pantai Aceh and the Tropical Fruit Farm, the second picture owed a lot to a little WD 40. I assume that the incomplete one is from the same maker.

There is another preserved pair shown in Part 5 this pair was found above Telok Kumbar:

Elsewhere, I have shown anonymous machines, but this pair above Gertak Sanggul may provide a clue to their origin as a Leong Chuan plate was found loose here.

This 'Chinese' Leong Chuan found above Pulau Betong, is not unusual, (it has 'Trademark' above the crocodile) but its other half an 'arched' machine from the same company is so far unique. It's completely different from the others (Cherry Tree Machinery Company design).

This pair are in a durian orchard above Pondok Upeh. Yuehong tells me that one of them was made by the 'Ling Nan' factory in Kallang, Singapore, the site of which will have long since been redeveloped as it's right in the middle of town. I have separately been told this company translates as the 'Southern Mechanical Factory'.

We walked up above Pulau Betong and Yuehong asked the farmer if he had any old rubber rollers, the reply was "Of course I do!". Someone had carefully covered them with corrugated iron to protect them long ago but that had now rusted through. Little did he know that his rollers had brought up our century. This pair was bought by his grandfather and are marked 'Singapore'.

Some rollers from Tan Ewe Aik in Singapore are shown in Part 2 as they accompany the arched machines which is the main subject. However, a late discovery above Titi Kerawang threw up some extra information on the company. The text from the second picture reads as follows  this to assist search engines:

"Tan Ewe Aik, 56 Upper Cross Street, Singapore, Sole Importers, Rubber Mangles, Made in Europe." The cable address in the last line seems to be 'PAMANGER Singapore'. This area of central Singapore will have changed out of all recognition...

On the same day, above Sungai Pinang we found an (almost) identical pair of rollers and I suspect that looking at the anonymous machines on these pages we will identify rather more. A durian tree had fallen on the the shed housing them and as they were disused they were just left as they were, the owner kindly cleared most of the debris away.


Rob and Yuehong Dickinson

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