Archive, Features

Friday video: The prince and the excavator

In 1927 the Prince of Wales visited the Ruston & Hornsby factory in Lincoln, eastern England, and got his hands dirty at the controls of a massive steam shovel.


Or, as the caption to this silent British Pathe newsreel says: “Prince of Wales … excavator! During crowded day’s tour, the Prince enjoys novel experience of operating mighty excavator.”

Though the prince was heir to the throne — he  become King Edward VIII in 1936 when his father, George V, died, and subsequently abdicated when wishing to marry the American divorcee Wallace Simpson — his hosts didn’t seem to think much of his safety.

He stumbles over uneven ground, climbs metal ladders to the cab of the shovel and swings it around a bit, then is taken over to stand close to a smaller machine as it swings around.

In fact, watch the background just after the two-minute mark to see one of the onlookers tripping quite spectacularly.


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