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British Industrial History

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Clarence Herbert Smith

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Clarence Herbert Smith (1855-1901) of Clarence H. Smith

Clarence Herbert Smith (10 August 1855 in Alma, Victoria - 25 July 1901 in Ardrossan, South Australia) was an Australian agriculturalist, engineer, blacksmith and inventor.

Under the direction of his brother, Richard Bowyer Smith, he created the first stump-jump plough, entitled the Vixen, in 1876. The South Australian government had offered a reward of £200 to anyone who could develop an effective mechanical stump puller due to frustration with lack of productivity efficiency on its farms with current equipment.

The plough consisted of any number of hinged shares: when the blade encountered an underground obstacle, it would rise out of the ground. Attached weights forced the blade back into the ground after the root was passed, allowing as much of the ground to be furrowed as possible. Although a little unorthodox, it proved remarkably effective, and was dubbed the "stump-jump" plough. Plan of the original single-furrow plough.

Smith worked on improving the plough, and demonstrated the improved model at the Moonta Agricultural Show with much success. Both the single and triple plough model were awarded first prize. He took out a patent in 1877 for the design, he allowed it to lapse.

1880 He established a factory in Ardrossan, South Australia and started producing ploughs. He was later credited as the inventor of the design by the Parliament of South Australia in 1882, however C.H. continued manufacturing them because his brother had allowed the patent to lapse. R.B. Smith relocated to Western Australia two years later.

1879 Married Emma Sarah Beck

Upon his death in 1901, C.H. Smith's business was transferred to his two sons, Glen and Alma. The company, Clarence H. Smith Ltd, ceased operations in 1934, during the Great Depression.

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