Historical information

The Moffat Virtue Company was founded by John Moffat (1841 – 1918) and William Virtue (1863 – 1926) in Sydney. Both men were born in Scotland, John Moffat was a mining entrepreneur who migrated to Queensland in 1861 and began mining in the far north of Queensland. William Virtue was a talented mechanical engineer who became acquainted with John Moffat through their mutual involvement with the New Jerusalem Church and the teachings of theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. Moffat invited Virtue to migrate to Queensland, which he did with his young family but they finally settled in Sydney.

Moffat had become interested in shearing machines and Virtue’s engineering skills enabled the registration of several patents in 1891 – 1894. The Moffat Virtue alliance grew and prospered and by 1911 all the entrants in the first sheep shearing competition at the Sydney Royal Show chose the company’s machines. By 1914 Moffat Virtue was a household name in rural Australia due to manufacture of agricultural machinery and household appliances.

The company began making petrol engines in 1920 at 205 Clarence Street, moved to 11 – 25 Palmer Street in 1929 and later moved to Rosebery.

The petrol-kerosene engine was popular as the use of kerosene made it very cheap to run. The motor starts by using petrol and once the engine is warmed, the vaporiser is activated which enables the use of kerosene as the running fuel. The carburettor and cylinder head are designed to ensure thorough vaporisation and complete combustion of fuel, resulting in maximum horsepower at lowest fuel consumption The serial number indicates 1944 as the approximate date of manufacture.

Physical description

Green petrol engine with red trim and crank handle. Attached to green grain grinder

Inscriptions & markings

“Moffat Virtue

Petrol Kerosene Engine No. 9142

1000RPM 3HP

Change oil every 90 working hours SAE 40

For severe service and in Summer SAE 30

Warranty void unless above instructions followed”