Carroll, Thomas

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b. 1888 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
d. 22 February 1968 Australia
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Australian engineer responsible for many innovations in combine-harvester design, and in particular associated with the Massey Harris No. 20 used in the "Harvest Brigade" during the Second World War.
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Carroll worked first with the Buckeye Harvester Co., then with J.J.Mitchell \& Co. In 1911 he was hired by the Argentinian distributor for Massey Harris to help in the introduction of their new horse-drawn reaper-thresher. Carroll recommended modifications to suit Argentinian conditions, and these resulted in the production of a new model. In 1917 he joined the Toronto staff of Massey Harris as a product design leader, the No. 5 reaper-thresher being the first designed under him. Many significant new developments can be attributed to Carroll: welded sections, roller chains, oil-bath gears, antifriction ball bearings and the detachable cutting table allowing easy transfer of combines between fields were all innovations of which he was the source.
In the 1930s he became Chief Engineer with responsibility for the design of a self-propelled harvester. The 20 SP was tested in Argentina only eight months after design work had begun, and it was to this machine that the name "combine harvester" was applied for the first time. Improvements to this original design produced a lighter 12 ft (3.65 m) cut machine which came off the production line in 1941. Three years later 500 of these machines were transported to the southern United States, and then gradually harvested their way northwards as the corn ripened. It has been estimated that the famous "Harvest Brigade" harvested over 1 million acres, putting 25 million bushels into store, with a saving in excess of 300,000 labour hours and half a million gallons of fuel.
Carroll retired from Massey Ferguson in 1961.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
American Society of Agricultural Engineers C.H. McCormick Gold Medal 1958.
Bibliography
1948, "Basic requirements in the design and development of the self propelled combine"
Agricultural Engineer. 29(3), 101–5.
Further Reading
G.Quick and W.Buchele, 1978, The Grain Harvesters, American Society of Agricultural Engineers (provides a detailed account of the development of the combine harvester).
K.M.Coppick, 1972, gave an account of the wartime effort, which he mistakenly called "Massey Ferguson Harvest Brigade", presented to the Canadian Society for
Agricultural Engineers, Paper 72–313.
AP

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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