Monday, 18 November 2013

Entrepreneurs and Innovators - Part 2

Andrew Briosi welding in his shop. Galt Archives 19752990127.
On now until February 2, the Galt Museum and Archives presents an exhibit celebrating southwestern Alberta businesses, inventors and researchers. Entrepreneurs and Innovators features photos from the Galt Archives's holdings, and can be seen in the lower gallery, outside the archives. This blog post is the second in a series based on the exhibit.

This week's post features two Alberta Agricultural Hall of Fame inductees whose innovations contributed to the viability of farming in the dry regions of southwestern Alberta. Asael Palmer's research at the Lethbridge Experimental Station led to improved dryland farming techniques that limited soil erosion and conserved water. Andrew Briosi was a lifelong farmer who spent his spare time tinkering on inventions that would make farm work easier.

Asael Palmer

Asael Palmer at the Lethbridge Experimental Station. Galt Archives 19752910483.
Asael Palmer dedicated his life to agricultural research that made dry land farming possible in southern Alberta. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in soil science at Utah State Agricultural College, he obtained a second science degree from the University of Alberta. In 1921, he was appointed assistant superintendent of the Lethbridge Experimental Station and engaged in research, publishing research papers and books on dry land farming, irrigation, soil erosion and water conservation. During the drought of the 1920s and 1930s, he was active in promoting stubble cover on fields to prevent erosion in his role with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration. In 1945 he was promoted to superintendent of the station, and after his retirement in 1953 he conducted research at the Peshawar Research Station in Pakistan. Asael Palmer was awarded an honourary doctorate from the University of Lethbridge in 1970.

Andrew Briosi
Andrew Briosi with one of his inventions. Galt Archives 19754021026.

Andrew Briosi spent his life in agriculture, first in sheep ranching and then in irrigated farming. Briosi’s farming was aided by his inventive genius, and he worked on developing machines to make his work easier. He often stated he invented things to make his life easier because he considered himself to be lazy. His most notable inventions were a front-end loader for tractors and a sugar beet harvester. In 1975 Briosi was named a member of the Order of Canada “for his role in the mechanization of sugar beet harvesting, which has been a great boon to the industry in Canada and elsewhere.” Later he developed the River Valley Golf Course in Lethbridge, where he invented a machine for retrieving balls from the driving range.

By Sven Andreassen

Sven Andreassen is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia's Master of Archival Studies program. He has been volunteering in the Galt Archives since the summer and curated this exhibit.

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