(1900 - 1992)
One of Alberta's many agricultural innovators, Max Bradshaw, in creating
his Bale Booster and Stacker, took part in the mechanization of farming in
the middle of the last century.
In the late 1940s, Max Bradshaw, owner of the Birdseye Ranch at Mountain
View, Alberta, was tired of struggling to find a crew of men to load and
stack hay bales. It seemed such strenuous work that, even with the help of
an "Iron Man" stacker, which lifted the bales into stacks with hydraulic
power, workers were not interested in returning for a second season.
born in Lehi, Utah in 1900, was a life-long farmer, and having immigrated
to Canada with his family when he was only one year old, was farming full
time by the time he had completed grade eight. Similar to other
agricultural innovators of the time, he witnessed the advent of
mechanized farming implements during the first half of the 20th century
and understood that there was no point doing work manually if
one could create a machine to do it. There was, he realized, a
need for a machine that could both pick up and stack hay bales.
In 1948, as autumn descended upon the prairies and his ranch slipped into
dormancy, Max Bradshaw retreated to the den in his basement. He had
recently procured a toy truck that could be wound up for power as well as
a few Meccano sets. With these tools, he was determined to design a
small-scale working model of a machine able to lift and stack hay bales.
By springtime, Bradshaw had completed his task. He took his model to
George B. Davies at the Lethbridge Iron Works where they began
constructing the first full scale prototype. Finished in time to use in
the fields that season, Bradshaw soon had proof his invention was highly
Without wasting any time, Bradshaw
travelled to Vancouver and convinced
Mid-West Equipment Ltd. to manufacture 30 unitsthey all sold. However,
shortly thereafter, a machine able to deal with the large, round hay bales
was put into production. As Bradshaws machine was designed to only handle
the smaller, rectangular bales, no more were manufactured.
Bradshaws inventive streak was not limited to the bale booster and
stacker. He also built a wooden calf squeeze long before others were on
the market. While he never received a patent for this, it is still being
used by the family. In addition, he created a board game patented under
the name of Roll-o-Max.
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