Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Andrew Meikle

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Andrew Meikle (1719–1811) was an early mechanical engineer credited with inventing the threshing machine.

1719 Born in East Lothian, son of James Meikle

Meikle worked as a millwright at Houston Mill in East Linton, East Lothian, and inspired John Rennie (the elder) to become a civil engineer.

c.1772 He invented windmill 'spring sails', which replaced the simple canvas designs previously used with sails made from a series of shutters that could be operated by levers, allowing windmill sails to be quickly and safely controlled in the event of a storm.

c.1786 He is thought to have invented (though some say he only improved on an earlier design) the threshing machine (used for removing the outer husks from grains of wheat, etc; occasionally also known as a 'thrashing machine') - this was regarded as one of the key developments of the British Agricultural Revolution in the late 18th century.

1811 November 27th. He died at Houston Mill and is buried in East Linton's Prestonkirk kirkyard (close to Rennie's father, George, who farmed the nearby Phantassie estate).

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