[WORLDKINGS DISCOVERY] P12. Andrew Meikle ( 1719 - 1811, Scotland): The engineer invented the first thresing machine in the world.


(WorldKings.org) Andrew Meikle (1719-1811), Scottish millwright and inventor of the first threshing machine for removing the outer husks from grains of wheat

Andrew Meikle was born in May 1719 in East Linton in East Lothian, Scotland. He followed in his father's footsteps as an inventor by developing the design of the windmill in 1750. In 1772, Meikle invented "spring sails" for windmills, allowing canvas designs that were very prone to storm damage to be replaced by a series of shutters operated by levers, allowing each shutter to be turned to offer little wind resistance in high winds or storms.


The portrait of Andrew Meikle



Series of shutters for windmill


His most remarkable invention was a drum threshing machine that could be powered in a variety of ways.

In 1778 he constructed his first threshing machine, probably basing its design on a device patented in 1734 by Michael Menzies. The machine was a failure, as was a second, developed from a Northumberland model. Meikle analyzed these threshers and constructed a strong drum with fixed beaters that beat rather than rubbed the grain. The drum that made Meikle’s machine a success may have been copied from the flax-scutching machine used to beat the fibres from flax plants. He took out a patent in 1788 and probably began manufacture a year late. He did not seem to have realized a fortune from his invention, inasmuch as a subscription for his relief was started in 1809.


The thresing machine in 1881

Andrew Meikle’s Threshing machine is regarded as a key development for the British agricultural revolution in the late 18th century. According to the Household Cyclopedia, Meikle’s machine caused significant improvements in the quality and quantity of labor: “By the addition of rakes, or shakers, and two pairs of fanners, all driven by the same machinery, the different processes of thrashing, shaking, and winnowing are now all at once performed, and the grain immediately prepared for the public market.”

According to Britannica; National Records of Scotland and SciHi Blog.

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