William Murray Mills
(1931 - 2018)
Inducted in 2020
Origin: Huron County
Nominated by: OAC 1955 and Art Bolton
Murray Mills devoted his career to the development of innovative equipment to facilitate the harvesting of millions of acres of field crops across Ontario and Canada, leaving a legacy without which the field crop sector could not have improved and expanded as it continues to do.
He improved the design and capability of field crop harvesting equipment at a time when Ontario and Canadian farmers were managing ever-increasing acreages of corn, soybeans and cereal crops. Murray helped to develop the rotary threshing and grain separation design with high speed cutting systems and stripper heads. This enabled growers to combine large acreages efficiently, and to produce better quality grain with high capacity grain headers and less shatter loss. He also designed self-propelled combines and completely re-designed operator cabs with electronic controls, better lighting and improved operator safety. All of this innovation helped to propel Canada into the position of being one of the largest commodity exporters in the world.
Murray was also an active member of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers where he helped to establish combine standards, many of which are still in use today.
The Waterford Heritage and Agriculture Museum has established the Murray Mills Archive which houses drawings, diagrams, manuals and pictures of the many agricultural implements and combines which he had a hand in designing and testing in his work with companies such as Cockshutt and White Farm Equipment, and later the Massey Combine Corporation and AGCO.
Murray’s lasting legacy to Ontario and Canadian agriculture was in the ongoing development and improvement of harvester combines, culminating in the successful launch of the White 9700 Axial Flow Combine utilizing rotary principle technology.
With his mechanical knowledge and ability, the legacy to Ontario agriculture left by Murray Mills makes him a welcome inductee into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame.