Andrew Briosi (1912-1982)
Although Andy Briosi's inventions are specific to the sugar beet
industry of southern Alberta, he remains a vital example of an innovative
Albertan. In fact, some of his designs are still being used today.
According to Andy Briosi, necessity is the mother of invention, but
laziness is a close cousin. He believed if one could design a machine
to make work easier, then it made no sense to do it by hand. It was
exactly that mentality that led this well respected Alberta farmer to
create a machine that would revolutionize sugar beet harvesting the world
Born in 1912 to Italian parents who immigrated
from Trieste to Purple Springs, Alberta, Briosi spent most of his life in the agricultural
community. By the age of 15 he was working full time in the field. He
began with sheep farming and years later moved over into irrigation
Briosi created nearly 150 inventions by the end of his life, only
four of them were patented. His most significant of these was the lifter
wheels used on sugar beet harvesters. Receiving the Canadian patent in
1952, Briosi decided that the invention would be viable in the United
States market as well. However, as he applied for the American patent 13
months after he was granted its Canadian equivalent, he was rejected on
the basis that he had applied one month late. Briosi sold the patent to
Lethbridge farm implement manufacturers Kirchner Machine Ltd. The company
continues to use the lifter wheels on their sugar beet harvesters today.
While Briosis success as an inventor was somewhat atypical, he remained
an advocate of improving the inventors process. Similar to many
inventors, Briosis number of inventions were not accurately represented
by the patents he managed to obtain. He
was known to comment on the disparity among inventors and the lack of
inventions going into production. He believed a government agency should
be created not only to review proposals of inventions but also fund them if
they were worthwhile.
Briosi was named as a member of the Order of Canada in 1974.
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