LAST year the mystery of the steam roller in Dorchester's King's Road playground was solved.

An information board was installed, providing people with information about this vintage vehicle.

The vehicle belonged to the Eddison company, a business started by Frank Eddison which moved south in 1870. In 1877, the Dorchester Steam Plough Works was established on Wareham Road. The company built steam rollers for road building, and by 1904 Eddison’s had 150 traction engines and steam rollers at its Dorchester base.

One reader, Ronald Adams, of Torquay, has offered up some further titbits of information about the Eddison company, for which he worked for almost half a century. Beginning as an apprentice at the tender age of 14, Ronald worked his way up to director and general manager throughout the decades.

Eddison became one of the principal employers in the area, and in 1965 moved to a purpose-built site on Poundbury estate. This depot did not close until the 1990s, when the holding company, BET - which had bought out Eddison in the 1940s - was acquired by Rentokil.

Ahead of its times, the company established a free pension scheme for all its employees, long before it was common practice. 50 year service awards were regularly presented to the workers, many of whom had family connections to the business.

Over the years, it became tradition for the company to donate redundant steam rollers to playgrounds throughout the country. King's Road received their own in 1960, which was presented to the Mayor of Dorchester.

With thanks to Ronald Adams for the information and photographs.