Tripods for the hay and grain harvests

In the late 1920s and the early 1930s collapsible iron tripods started to appear on the hay and grain fields in Scotland as a way to try to help dry the crop and also act as a labour-saving device. They were developed by Alex Proctor of Blairgowrie and manufactured by Pedigree Flax Development Ltd. They became multi-award winning, for example by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society which awarded them a silver medal in 1930, and the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland which awarded them £100 as part of its invention awards in 1934. This latter society regarded them as an “important improvement on the types of tripod formerly used. They had the advantage of durability and therefore of low depreciation. They were also able to be easily adjusted and were easy to transport and store.

By the early 1930s Mr Proctor took his invention around the country and arranged demonstration events. One was held at Seton Mains, Longniddry, East Lothian, in September 1933. Another demonstration was held at The Bent, Laurencekirk, in September 1935.

The tripod system was also widely advertised. The Perthshire advertiser of 28 August 1929 included an extensive advert:


Collapsing iron crop securing tripods for combining risk free labour-saving harvesting, and use as excellent stack centres or “bosses”

Broken weather threatens your harvest, and may destroy the quality of your grain and straw,

Ensure perfect condition of at least a portion of your grain crop by testing the well-tried Tripod Crop Securing System, first invented to secure in faultless condition valuable Pedigree Flax Sowing seed irrespective of harvest weather conditions.

Hay and grain can be securely ricked, hutted, or “frandied” if it is dry on the day it is cut.

Exposure on the ground or in stooks has been proved needless, and in broken weather very harmful.

Hay ricked dry, loose, lightly and narrow on the afternoon of cutting in 4-6 cwt ricks around the Proctor (Patent no. 312,102) Collapsable Iron Crop Securing Tripod preserves the valuable vegetable juices, is superior feeding, and weighs much more than hay secured by usual methods.

Only prime quality hay and grain will be got, even in a wet season, if instructions are followed, and farmers can also reduce their harvesting costs by use of these cheap, handy, strong tripods, which, in addition, make far better stack centres or bosses than the cumbersome, easily broken, and easily burned wooden ones now in use. If “lodged” grain is prematurely cut it will be found most advantageous to mature and ripen it in hollow centred “huts”, built upright around the tripods.

For pamphlets and particulars of and instructions for use, as well as prices, farmers should apply to any of the following agents:

John Doe Ltd, Errol, Perth & Dundee

Jas. Steele, Harrison Road, Edinburgh

Jas Gray & Co., Stirling

D. Irons & Sons, Forfar

J. Milne & Sons, grain merchants, Montrose.

Alexander Proctor, Blairgowrie, the inventor and patentee, or his representative, will also gladly reply to all enquiries, arrange demonstrations, and give assistance in demonstrating the Tripod Crop Securing System. Messrs Wm Bain & Co., Ltd, Lochrin Iron Works, Coatbridge, the manufacturing Concessionaries, have issued, and will continue to issue, a limited number of Tripods to farmers for demonstrations without obligation to purchase, and may quote special terms for large orders.

Neither the Tripod nor the Tripod Crop Securing System is experimental; it has already been proved a success, and the Northern Irish Ministry of Agriculture are closely following the development of this method of harvesting in Ulster, where the hutting of grain in solid huts is common practice.

Solid hits are usually futile, drying is slow and ineffective, and, like stooks, they frequently get blown over or their heads blown off entailing damage and much extra work.

Tripod built “Huts” are weatherproof, ventilated and indestructible.

Any farmers willing to consider growing Pedigree Flax in 1930 on tonnage basis at £1 per ton over price being paid in England, should communicate with Alexander Proctor, Blairgowrie. Phone 84.”

Did you ever use tripods?