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Patrick Bell (1799–1869) by unknown engraver, pubd 1868 (after E. Strachan) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bell, Patrick (1799–1869), Church of Scotland minister and inventor of agricultural machinery, was born in April 1799 at mid-Leoch, in the parish of Auchterhouse, a few miles north-west of Dundee. He was one of at least two sons of George Bell, a tenant farmer at ...

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Common, John (1778–1868), agricultural engineer, was born in High Buston, Warkworth, Northumberland, on 25 January 1778, the second child in the family of five sons (one died in infancy) and four daughters of Robert Common of High Buston, a millwright and cartwright from a family of skilled mechanics, and his wife (probably ...

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Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton (1803–1899) by Sir William Hamo Thornycroft, 1880 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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A. J. Arbuthnot

revised by Peter L. Schmitthenner

Cotton, Sir Arthur Thomas (1803–1899), army officer and irrigation engineer, was born on 15 May 1803 at Woodcote, Oxfordshire, the ninth son of Henry Calveley Cotton (d. 1837) of Woodcote House, who served in the royal guards (postal service), and his wife, ...

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Ferguson, Henry George [Harry] (1884–1960), designer of agricultural machinery, was born on 4 November 1884 at Growell, near Hillsborough in northern Ireland, the third son and fourth of eleven children, three girls and eight boys, of James Ferguson, a hill farmer, and his wife, ...

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Henry George Ferguson (1884–1960) by A. J. Tanner, 1948 © Science & Society Picture Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Fowler, John (1826–1864), agricultural engineer, was born on 11 July 1826 at Melksham, Wiltshire, one of at least two sons of John Fowler, merchant. His father was a leading member of the Quakers in Melksham. Fowler was at first engaged in the corn trade, but in 1847 he entered the works of ...

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Howard, James (1821–1889), agriculturist and manufacturer of agricultural implements, was born on 16 October 1821, the eldest son of John Howard, maker of agricultural implements, of Bedford. He was educated at Bedford School, and as a boy he also gained much practical knowledge of agriculture from visiting his grandfather at ...

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Macdonald, Duncan George Forbes (1827/8–1884), agricultural engineer and writer, was the youngest son of John Macdonald (1779–1849) and his second wife, Janet, eldest daughter of Kenneth Mackenzie, of Millbank. Initially he devoted himself to the study and practice of agriculture on his father's extensive glebe, before starting business on his own account in 1848, as an agricultural engineer in ...

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Andrew Meikle (1719–1811) by A. Reddock, c. 1790–1800 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Meikle, Andrew (1719–1811), millwright and inventor of the threshing machine, was born on 5 May 1719, probably at Saltoun, Haddingtonshire. He was one of at least two brothers. His father, James Meikle, wright in Nether Keith, Haddingtonshire, working on behalf of Henry Fletcher...