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TO THE EDITOR. Sic,—New Zealand has just lost one of its greatest benefactors, since Edward Gibbon Wakefield, in the person of Johnstone Dougol, the inventor of the flax-stripper in common use throughout the colony. Mr Dougal died of : heart disease, at Maungatawhiri Valley, «', Pokeno, Auckland, on the 9th current, aged 70 : years. ! : Many and various were the instruments used in preparing the fibre of the phormium tenax, from the mussel shell of the Natives to (he hackle and beaters used by Europeans, when Mr Dougal, in 1868, constructed the machine that gave the settler the complete command of '. this plant. lv this flax-stripper "the leaf" is held between horizontal feed-rollers, revolving at a certain speed, while, as ihe leaf passes out from them, a drum armed, in its circumference with iron beaters, and revolving more rapidly than the feed roller?, strips the epidermis and tissue away from the fibre, means being provided for adjusting the beating drum to a proper distance from the roller or bar against which the phormium leaf is stripped, so that the leaf may neither on the one hand pass through without beingl crushed, nor on the other have the fibres cut. v Another contrivance common to all the machines is vulcanised indiarubber cushions or spiral, springs placed over the journals of the upper > feed-roller, so as to allow different thicknesses of leaf to be passed through." J Mr Dougal, was born at Newburgh, in Fife,-' on the Firth of Tay, and, when able to| work, went to the flaxmill of Mr D. Youle,! at Dura Deu. In 1852 he arrived in Melbourne, and, after staying there 18 months, came to Raglan, Auckland, in 1854. When the troops went into the "Waikato District in 1863 and the settlers were called in, Mr Dougal left Raglan and came to Onehunga, where he invented the flax stripper in 1868.1 With some of his new machines he tooli^ a mill and farm at Waitangi, Waiuku, 1 and some years afterwards he removed to Maungatawhiri Valley, Pokeno, where he resided till his death. For his invention no patent was ever taken, and the ' machine was soon in general use throughout ' the- colony. In 1878 the writer of this notice visited Mr Dougal, but had not time to inspect ) his mills. He talked then of the jmrposes to i which the fibre could be applied, but Mr ! Dougal was of opinion that for many years it would be most profitable to use it in the manufacture of twine and rope.—l am, &c, April 18. J. L. Sinclair.

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DEATH OF AN INVENTOR., Otago Daily Times, Issue 9405, 19 April 1892

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DEATH OF AN INVENTOR. Otago Daily Times, Issue 9405, 19 April 1892