In 1896 Henry Tasker handed over ownership of the firm to shareholders. Tasker & Sons became Tasker & Sons Ltd.
Henry was still a director of the company, but it was the end of an era. Things should have got better now - especially as the government was beginning to encourage road transport by easing speed and weight regulations.
In 1902 Taskers stepped in with the first of a standard class of 'light' (just under 3 tons) engine called the Little Giant. Eventually over 300 of these were built, and when enthusiasts today hear the name Tasker, it's the Little Giant they think of.
Unfortunately the success of the Little Giant did not come quickly enough. There was a company liquidation in 1903 and a reformation in 1907, between which two events Henry Tasker retired, ending the Tasker family's involvement with the company that bore their name.
The end of Steam
Then came the First World War, followed by a slump in which the only steam engines called for were road rollers. The very last steam engine built by Taskers was a road roller completed under the shadow of a second company liquidation in 1926. Staff of Tasker & Sons Ltd gathered in front of the company's last steam vehicle, a C Class road roller, in 1927. The man third from the right in the front row is the company receiver.
The new company, Taskers of Andover Ltd, made no effort to revive steam. At some time in the 1930's a last relic of it, a note book with drawings used for making spares, came somehow to be burned in a heating stove, and with that the age of steam at Taskers ended.
Henry Tasker (standing at right with hat in hand) photographed in 1871 with his parents, sisters, other relations and 'Furry' the dog.