Joseph Cocker

Joseph North Cocker (18641912), farmer and inventor, was the son of Devonport pioneer David Cocker. Joseph and his brother started farming at Lower Barrington during the 1880s and Joseph realised the need for mechanical help for digging and harvesting potatoes. He invented a horse-drawn potato digger, carving the gears out of timber, and took out a patent. After a successful trial in 1895, Joseph took a scale model to America to try to sell his machine. He spent two seasons demonstrating it, and sold the manufacturing rights to the Moline Plough Company for $4 royalty for each digger sold. (There is no evidence of any sales.) Joseph was back in Tasmania in 1898. He returned to America six years later to pursue sales of the digger and a harvester that he had invented.

Further reading: Examiner, 20 March 1896, 28 March 1896, 5 March 1898.

Peter Cocker