The company was started by Roger Dowdeswell who farmed on heavy Blue Lias Clay in Warwickshire and wanted to be able to upgrade from his crawler and trailed plough. He initially designed a linkage for the rear of his Caterpillar crawler so he could use more modern ploughs. The success of this linkage resulted in neighbours asking him to build linkages for them. Eventually linkages were made for other crawlers including Track Marshall, Fiatallis and also for large tractors such as the TW & FW30 range Fords and MF1505 & 1805. Production of these linkages was licenced to Turner Engineering Co at Alcester. Having solved the problem of the 3 point linkage for the crawler Roger then moved on to designing a plough specifically for the crawler as one did not exist on the market at the time.
The result was the DP1, a 3-4 furrow fully mounted offset plough, which by using an A-frame that went underneath the plough allowed it to be pulled from the middle. This allowed more power to be used on a lightweight frame.
Encouraged by support from other local farmers, and also Essex based Track Marshall distributers Ernest Doe & Sons, Roger and his wife Diana started Dowdeswell Engineering in May 1970 initially working from the farm buildings with a five year industrial licence. Further specialist models for large tractors followed until the decision to enter the volume plough market with the DP7 launched at the Smithfield show in 1974.
The success of the business meant that they soon outgrew the facilities on the farm and had to look for a new site. Purchase of the Blue Lias Works, a former Aluminium smelting works at the side of the Grand Union canal allowed production to be increased by 1982 to over 2000 ploughs in that year, mainly DP7’s and DP8’s. In the same year the company won the Burke Trophy for the development and manufacture of reversible ploughs. Mr Dowdeswell had previously won the trophy as an individual for the DP1 in 1970.
Purchase of forging plants in Birmingham in 1980 and 1981 allowed more control over the development of plough body parts. This was completed in 1993 with the addition of mouldboard manufacturing equipment from the ex-Ransome’s Steel Case plant in Wales. This enabled the development of Dowdeswell’s own body, the DD as well as continued in-house production and development of the Ransomes range of plough bodies.
Other purchases of Disc harrow manufacturer F.W Petit in 1984 and the former Howard Rotivator manufacturing facility in Norfolk in 1985 moved Dowdeswell on as a 'tillage' machinery manufacturer rather than just a plough manufacturer.
In 1986 the sad and unexpected death of Roger left Diana Dowdeswell heading the company until 1992 when their eldest son, Tim Dowdeswell took over as Group managing Director.
In the late 1980’s a new generation of ploughs came on the market, the “Delta Furra” range which had adjustable furrow widths and a patented parallel link alignment system which ensured the plough could run straight behind the tractor. This design laid the basis for the later range of ploughs which were designed on the principal of supplying the farmer with well built, easy to use equipment that is suitable for the job.
Dowdeswell’s produced ploughs from 3 to 9 furrows, the DF170 being the largest fully mounted on-land plough in production in the world. At the other end of the scale the DF 100 from 3 to 5 furrows is still a very popular tried and tested plough for tractors up to 140HP. The DF 105 launched in 2010 from 4-6 furrows for tractors up to 190HP is an ideal replacement for ageing DP7 models which can have difficulty coping with the larger tyre sizes on current tractors.The DF 141 new in 2012 replaced the DF 140 for in furrow ploughing and was available up to 8 furrows with a maximum HP rating of 320. For those who would like the option of in furrow or on land ploughing the DF 145 can cope with both, with conversion only taking a couple of minutes. As with the DF 141 the DF 145 was upgraded to 8 furrows in 2012, therefore replacing the DF 150 and DF 155 models.
Sadly Dowdeswell Engineering the machinery production side of the company closed in June 2015 .Spare parts are still available through "Dowdeswell Parts Sevices". A staff with 30 years experience of supplying parts and millions of pounds of stock helps to ensure you get the correct part you require.