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19 February 1877 Stump jump plough

 19 February 1877   Stump jump plough

On 19 February 1877 Richard Bowyer Smith patented his invention, a new kind of plough called the 'Vixen'. He first exhibited the stump jump plough at the Moonta Agricultural Show on 9 November 1876 where it won first prize. The initial inspiration came from a broken bolt. Smith was ploughing in rough and stumpy ground when a bolt broke, but to his surprise the plough continued to work efficiently, riding easily over hidden rocks and roots. 

With the help of his brother, Clarence, he worked on developing a prototype and by 1876 the brothers had developed the first three furrow plough. Strangely farmers were not greatly impressed. In spite of this Richard Smith continued to produce his plough but ran into financial difficulties. Clarence took over the work, solved some of the problems, and began manufacturing his own version, in Ardrossan where the business expanded.

Richard was rewarded by the South Australian Government in 1882 with £500, a gold medal and 260 hectares of land at Ardrossan. But in 1884 he moved to Western Australia and set up an implement works there. Clarence continued in Ardrossan until his death in 1901; his sons carried on the business for another thirty or more years. An article in the Observer in 1907 stated that the factory was one of the largest and best equipped of its kind in the Commonwealth.

Robert Ingpen, Australian Inventions and Innovations,  Rigby, 1982, pp. 16-18.
The Observer, 2 March 1907.

The Smith Brothers and the Stump Jump Plough, National Trust, 1976

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