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Seeking out to celebrate 100 YEARS of Manufacturing of the HOWARD ROTARY HOE.
I sought help from the Howard Family. This is the Family findings.


Philip Howard has Family writings that say Cliff Howard formed the first syndicate in early 1921, and it is known that the 15 footer was patended in 1920. But Cliff did not register the Company till January 1923, and his diary extracts say that in the first week of January 1923 he was drawing up plans, and in the second week he registered the Company and arranged to have castings made and wheels purchased.
In the third week his diary says he finalised Dr Watt's order.

Philip would guess that factory production started maybe 1923, as before this Cliff was mucking about with prototypes and demonstrations, and doubts he would have had enough money to pay employees, until he started selling machines, which was in 1923.


ARTHUR CLIFF HOWARD (Inventor - Rotary Hoe)

Born on April 4th 1893 at Crookwell NSW, Cliff was only 3yrs old when his mother, Mary Ellen, passed away in 1896. In 1908 his father, John, returned to the family farm at Gilgandra NSW. It was here whilst on holidays in 1912 as a 19yr old, that young Cliff noticed the steam plough driven by Dad, wasted power by pulling a plough. Instead of wasting energy on pulling an inert plough (which tended to compact the soil), Cliff after several attempts, with his unit, applied power directly in a rotary motion through his machines to the soil.

His first model failed to attract the attention of Australian farmers as it was powered by a motor cycle engine, but Cliff, who studied engineering by correspondence whilst living with his aunts at Moss Vale (due to the death of mum), pushed on. By 1920 he had patented a prototype of the rotary hoe, and finally convinced farmers to try it out.

In 1921 with the financial backing of friends, he established Auto Cultivators with production beginning in 1922 at Moss Vale.

In 1927 he expanded his range to include tractor driven hoes, but not before establishing a plant at Northmead NSW, to begin the first mass production of the highly successful DH22 model. The factory later became known as Howard Auto Cultivators. (The "D" in DH represents Cliff`s wife "Daisy" Howard).

Based in England from 1938, Cliff continued to design Rotavator models for specific terrains including orchards, vineyards, sugar cane and Prickly Pear.

War pushed Howard Auto Cultivators into production of weapons being awarded the Enfield No2 Mk1 revolver contract in 1941 in Australia. The No2 Mk1 was the current service revolver. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan, and by 1945 only 350 H.A.C. Enfield revolvers had been produced, due to interference by inspectors of the Lithgow Arsenal, rejecting most revolvers for trivial imperfections. As it was, most of the revolvers failed the interchangeability test.

In 1966 Cliff`s company Rotary Hoes Ltd. Received the Queen`s Award to Industry, with him also being awarded in 1970 the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He is further accredited at the Academy of Technological Science and Engineering.

Sadly he passed away on the 4th of January 1971.

A truly great Australian Pioneer.



(Courtesy of Daily Telegraph - June 3, 2009)