Clever Joe builds on creative flair

Headshot of Bob Garnant
Bob GarnantCountryman

When York resident Joe Naughton is not dreaming about his next invention he is putting the final touches to a work-in-progress idea that was thought out much earlier.

The 84-year-old retired Wyalkatchem farmer is a self-taught inventor who has spent a life-time reading books and visiting the patent office.

It was 70 years ago when Joe was just 14 that he caught the inventor bug.

"I was trapping rabbits for fur and needed a carrier for my bicycle," he said.

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His home-made multi-rabbit carrier, designed for two wheels, was to change his life forever and he would never look back.

After acquiring a neighbour's tractor on the basis that he would make it run again, his father said it would never be as good as the farm's 10-horse team.

But when Joe and his tractor planted 243 hectares in just one month, his father said: "The horses have to go".

So, what has 'Cogs' (Joe's nickname) been working on lately should be the question on every farmer's mind.

From the very successful Naughton seed cleaner, of which 3000 units were sold throughout Australia, to a one-of-a-kind tractor that now is on display at the Wyalkatchem museum, Joe has put together many useful contraptions to amazing engineering standards.

Last year at Mingenew Expo he displayed his Naughton easy open and close seal silo lid assembly.

"It takes the use of ladders away, so it is designed for safety and efficiency," Joe said.

The design is simple, using springs and cables to open and close the silo lid in just seconds from a standing position on the ground.

"Even a child could operate it," Joe said.

Manufacturing of the assembly will begin soon and Joe said he had about 160 interested farmers to follow up when orders could be finalised.

Joe has other well-thought-out ideas close to completion and a few others that will require more of Joe's inventive reasoning.

Whatever is around the corner, there is sure to be found a makers-mark by Joe Naughton.

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