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The Wolseley Shearing Machine.

There was an interested gathering of farmers, shearers, and others m the Ashburton Saleyards yesterday to witness the Wolseley shearing machine m actual work, and m competition with the old hand shears. The machine was shown on Friday at the Show, but owing to the wet weather little work was dpue, and not many visitors had an opportunity of seeing the machine at its best. The expert m charge therefore, decided to give a full exhibition on Monday, should the weather prove suitable, Jwhich it did, and the attendance was good m consequence. There were two machines shown, the second one, however, more than anything to illustrate how a number can be rigged up m an ordinary shearing shed with'but little alteration of the arrangements. Jt strong plank is run along the uprights of the shed about Bfb from the Hoor. To thisj strong brackets are attached,' to carry the shafting and the arms that bear the machines. An ordinary pulley gives the motion to shafting from the steam engine or other power. On this shafting is also hung the main friction wheel of the machine, about fifteen inches m diameter, which conveys motion to a small friction pinion on a suspending arm. This pinion revolves at a rate of something like 500 revolutions per minute, and its spindle is the .more immediate agent m Avorking the shears. An attachment is made here of a long flexible shaft, down which runs a "core" of gut. This "core" is secured to the spindle at one end and at the other connects with the "shear.4" by a simple system of cogs, giving them the abovementioned number of revolutions, but owing tofthe flexibility of the shaft—which of course reaches the hand of the workman—leaving the workman m a position to turn the shears m any direction he chooses. The shears themselves resemble very much m form and action those used by horse clippers, and are applied to the wool of the sheep m much the same way, with the important difference, however, that beyond the simple act of holding the shears upon the work and pressing slightly forward m the direction m which he desires to cut, the operator applies no power to them. The shears, a trident working over a comb of six or eight teeth, are contained m a finely finished jacket, and can be adjusted to any cut, the whole tool the workman has to handle being no more than nine inches long, and not so heavy as an ordinary pair of >shears. The expert m charge had arranged with Mr Bonifant for a pen of heavily woolled sheep, and upon these he set to work. An experienced shearer sefc to work m the ring with the ordinary shears upon a big 601bs or 701bs jumbuck, and m; ten minutes relieved it of its fleece. The expert took a similar sized shaep, arid ran over it m just half the time. He <;hen took the shearer's sheep, and passing the machine shears over it, relieved it of from ten to twelve ounces more wool. The sheep shorn by the machine were turned out almost shaven—at least with no more wool left up on their pelts than a clipper leaves upon the hide of a horse. The machine makes no " second cut"—does not require to -and is equally at home upon the fleece* of a "cobbler" as that of a .sheep m prime shearing condition. A ten-horse power engine is said to be capable of driving a shed of forty machines. There can be no doubt whatever about t'ae quality of the work done by the new machine—it is the perfection of shearing; but the old shepherds m the crowd seemed to think that it would go hard with the poor sheep so shorn, if turned out to face a sou'wester without shelter. The machine is to be exhibited at the Christchurch Show.

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Bibliographic details

The Wolseley Shearing Machine., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2561, 4 November 1890

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The Wolseley Shearing Machine. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2561, 4 November 1890