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ANDERSON, James of Hermiston (1739-1808)

James Anderson of Hermiston, FRSE, FSA(Scot) (1739-1808), a Scottish agriculturist, journalist and economist invented the Scotch or Scots plough. Some historians believe he was the root source of Marx’s critique of capitalist agriculture. The plough was taken to North America by Scottish farmers and is credited with opening up much virgin territory. See also Canals.

BELL, Patrick. (1799-1869)

Invented the Scissors Harvester. The first reaping machine, fundamental to and precursor of the combine harvester.

Clyde Valley Tomatoes

In the earlier part of the 20th century there were in excess of 200 commercial tomato growers operating in the micro climate of the Clyde Valley. They supplied the whole of Scotland and much of the north of England.  By the end of the seventies there were virtually none left due to foreign imports, and that situation has persisted for the last 30 years. In early 2013 the regeneration of the industry began with a crop sown under glass. Heritage varieties including Ailsa Craig are among the varieties grown. First produce went to market May 2013.

MEIKLE, Andrew (1719-1811) Inventor of the Threshing Machine

An early mechanical engineer, invented and built the first threshing machine in 1789.

MENZIES, Archibald (1754-1842) Botanist

Among many new plant species found by him were the Brazil Pine (Monkey Puzzle Tree) in 1795  and the Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in 1791. David Douglas, another Scottish botanist, sent seeds to Great Britain in 1827.

OLIVER, James (1823-1908)

An inventor b. Liddesdale, Scotland, who emigrated to the United States where he invented a number of improved ploughs including the Indiana Plough. Eventually his company was manufacturing in excess of 300,000 units a year and was the largest plough-maker in America.

Scottish Malting Barley

Malting barley is grown principally for production of Scotch Whisky. Total annual production in Scotland is approximately 650,000 tonnes, off which around 500,000 tonnes is required by the industry.

SINCLAIR, Sir John of Ulbster (1754-1835)

Born Thurso, Scotland. He was responsible for creation of the Board of Agriculture, of which he was the first president. It was the precursor of what is known today as the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. His Statistical Account of Scotland was compiled during the years 1791 to 1799 in 21 volumes. It was based on returns of formulated questionaires from the ministers of every parish in Scotland, and was the beginning of today’s census. During that mammoth task he was the first to use the words statistics and statistical in the English language. In 1793 the UK government adopted his plan for the issue of Exchequer Bills, saving the possibility of financial ruin. He was also one of the first to record details of certain Scottish archaeological sites.

Sir Hew Dalrymple, Lord Drummore (1700-1753)

Inventor of Hollow pipe drainage.  This innovation allowed the drying of water-logged land, bringing large areas into agricultural production.

SMALL, James (1730-1793)

Inventor, b. Berwickshire, Scotland. In 1763, using scientific methods, he invented an advanced plough by introducing a series of curves on the mould board. It could efficiently cut into the soil, and simultaneously turn over the turf creating the type of furrow we would recognise today. Small did not patent his design, believing that he should not profit from an invention intended to make life easier for farmers. Others were not so charitable, and patents were eventually filed elsewhere, particularly in North America. It was the true precursor of the modern plough in all its varieties.

SMITH, James (1789-1850)

James Smith (1789-1850) was a Scottish inventor who produced a sub-soil plough. It worked below normal plough depth, and was used to drain waterlogged ground. He also invented a reaping machine which won him a medal from the Imperial Agricultural Society of St Petersburg. See also Textiles.

The Fresno Scraper

James Porteous (1848-1922) was a Scottish inventor who served his time in his father’s business, making and repairing carriages, wagons and agricultural equipment,  before emigrated to America in 1873. There he started up on his own account making buggies and heavy wagons.  Later he was to invent the Fresno Scraper, the basic design of which forms the basis of most modern earth moving equipment. It was one of the most important agricultural and civil engineering machines ever made, and was designated as an International Historic Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. See also Civil Engineering.

The Tuley Tree Shelter

Invented by Graham Tuley of Inverness-shire. A tube used to shelter immature trees during their first years of growth.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress