Towable digger, excavator and backhoe website. Features Fleming Micron, Powerfab, Mantis, Benford, Roughneck, Gopher, Smalley, Tow-hoe, Standard Muscleman, Termite, Mitchell Cotts, Mini Gigant, Baromix, Euromach, Bronco, JPB, Digger 50, homemade and other small diggers. Links to current manufacturers such as Groupe-FCM and suppliers of plans for the Ground Hawg Homebuilt Backhoe and CDP Excavator. Includes other plant and mechanical information, Digger Bucket Page, Plant Photo Gallery, Dumper Restoration Project and useful links for Digger Spares and Repairs. Extra information and pictures to add to the site always appreciated. Also includes a section dedicated to preserving information about Johnson Machinery Limited.
The Termite was designed and built in Scotland by T. J. Products Company Ltd who were based at Unit 5, Castlehill Industrial Estate, Carluke, ML8 5BN. The company was started by two friends, Tom McIlwain and Jim Sneddon who were temporarily unemployed and combined their engineering skills to design and build the prototype machine working mainly in their respective garages.
This original picture shows a Honda powered Termite outside the Carluke workshop.
And here's the rear view of the same machine.
The company was started in 1984 and there was lots of initial interest from local building firms who recognised the benefits of a small digger when compared to a man with a pick and shovel.
Finance was obtained to rent and equip a proper workshop which allowed the complete digger to be fabricated in-house with only the engine, hydraulics and metal profiles being out-sourced. The workshop also had a good paint shop so that the excavators could be painted to customer's requirements although the standard colour was Highlight green.
Over the two year life of the company, it is estimated that between 150 and 200 machines were built with the majority staying in the UK. Interestingly, a batch of 12 were exported to Jordan.
Here's a Termite outside the dealers in Amman in Jordan.
After a time, it was realised that tracked machines would mark the end of the towable digger and both of the friends returned to roles in major engineering companies.
The Termite was fitted as standard with a Honda G300 7HP engine. Lombardini diesel engine and electric motor options were also offered.
This is a Lombardini diesel powered Termite. Note the starting handle.
The Alfasud shown in the brochure towing the digger belonged to Tom McIlwain and he recalled that it did not tow very well with the bucket fitted and produced some exciting "tank slappers"!
The Termite below belongs to another Jim who acquired it in 2011. In the picture, you can see the engine has been removed and that is why the digger is tipped up. I have only heard from two Termite owners since the website was started.
Jim P's Termite digger just after it was delivered to his house. The engine has been removed temporarily.
The Termite has a removable tow bar.
The Termite's hydraulic controls.
Barry's Termite digger
Barry's Termite looks in good useable condition with just a few jobs needed
I am extremely grateful to Tom for taking the time to write to me about the history of T J Products and for providing the original pictures and operators manual. Thanks also to Jim, Adrian and Barry for the photographs and brochure.
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