John Fowler

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

John Fowler was born in Melksham, Wiltshire, England back in 1826. When he left school, he worked for a local corn merchant. However, in 1847 he joined an engineering firm in Middlesbrough where he was working with steam locomotives and winding machines.

In 1849, on a business trip to Ireland during the potato famine he noticed something that he worked on for the remainder of his short life. He demonstrated his invention at the Royal Agricultural Society of England in 1854, and as they say the rest is history. In 1856, he received a patent for his invention. His work took a toll on his health. He was advised to take some time off and he retired to Ackworth, England to recuperate. While on a hunting trip he fell sustaining a compound fracture to his arm. As a result, he developed tetanus and died in 1864, he was 38.

What you may not know about John is that he invented and developed the first steam powered tractor used for plowing and digging drainage channels.

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Comments (18)

Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Good morning, James Dray and from there, we have our present powerful heavy equipment of all types....

Jan 21, 2020 03:20 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi James - that certainly transformed farming but it must have been large and heavy.

Jan 21, 2020 04:22 AM
Donald Urschalitz
Lubeck Realty Group - Jupiter, FL
P.A. Realtor ABR RSPS North Palm Beach County

It sure was a short life no telling what other inventions he coulld have come up with.

Jan 21, 2020 04:46 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

Without drainage, there would be many lost acres of farmland in my area.

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Jan 21, 2020 04:49 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi James... shame he died so young... one can only imagine what other wonderful inventions would have come about if he hadn't.

Jan 21, 2020 05:09 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello James - a rather sad story but indicative of the times.  I also imagine what could have been...if only...

Jan 21, 2020 05:16 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Can you imagine how much a steam powered tractor would cost when people were used to using horse drawn plows. Still a very great invention James Dray 

Jan 21, 2020 05:35 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning again James. I think it is so sad to die from an odd accident. Too bad.

Jan 21, 2020 06:03 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Our work often takes a toll on us, so it is always important for us to be mindful and make sure that we are taking care of ourselves along the way.

Jan 21, 2020 06:47 AM
Gwen Fowler-864-638-3599 SC Mountains Lakes Homes
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

A short life, yet he made an impact on the farming lives of many. 

Jan 21, 2020 06:50 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

James Dray as you may know I have posted about one of the world's largest steam engine gatherings/displays in the world held in Rollag MN. They are fascinating machines. They were also HUGE in size. It is really awesome to see these machines in action.

Jan 21, 2020 07:08 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Wow, drainage vehicles are very important.  We need them to keep channels clear.  Happy Tuesday.  A

Jan 21, 2020 09:06 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

OMG James- what a much-needed invention!!!  With the flooding that our area has, we need it. 

Jan 21, 2020 11:03 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

The machine age advanced us in so many ways and John did his part.

Jan 21, 2020 01:20 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi James, Thanks for sharing John's story.  Couldn't imagine where agriculture would be without his invention.

Jan 21, 2020 08:57 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

John Fowler provided a tool that advanced civilization. Who knows what more he could have done if his life was not cut so short.

Feb 10, 2020 09:26 AM
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Inventors without Google.  I love it.  Thanks for the interesting stories that made a mark in history.

Feb 19, 2020 08:08 AM