Andrew Meikle

1719 - 1811

Agricultural Engineer. According to his tombstone, Meikle was 'descended from a line of ingenious mechanics' and his father had invented a winnowing machine (1710), although this had not been well received at a time when mechanical contraptions were regarded with great suspicion.

Meikle was the inventor of the threshing machine (1789), which proved rather more successful. He worked as a mill-wright at Houston Mill, on the family estate of John Rennie (1761 - 1821) at Phantassie, East Lothian. Rennie collaborated with Meikle installing his machinery in other mills.

Meikle suffered from poverty in his old age, but Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, who had been President of the Board of Agriculture, appreciated the importance of Meikle's contribution to that industry and raised £1500 to help him.

Meikle died at the age of 92 and is buried in the churchyard of Preston Kirk, East Linton. He has a street in Livingston named in his honour.

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