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Packer Revolution

By Collections Curator Ruth Bitner
October 2009

Flexi-Coil air seeder and packers, Mennon, 2008.
Ruth Bitner photo

Child’s Play Inspired Invention
In the late 1940s, an observant Emerson Summach, a farmer from Asquith was fascinated watching his young son play with an old coil spring in the family garden patch. It was the diagonal pattern left on the soil that caught his attention. What if, Summach thought, the same principle was applied to the conventional land packer?

A coil design packer could be pulled behind conventional equipment and not need a separate set of wheels. There would be no spokes to clog up with moist soil. The diagonal pattern in the field would slow the spring run-off or a heavy rain.

Herringbone pattern created by the coil packer
CNH Flexi-Coil

Inspiration Leads to Innovation
The experts told Emerson Summach that it couldn’t be done - but he did it! - Country Guide, March, 1957

Undeterred by the big implement companies who told him they had no machine to make the big coils, Summach made his own machine. Finding the right kind of steel and the best way of welding was a process of trial and error. In 1952, Emerson and his brother Kenneth set up a shop in Saskatoon. By 1957, they had produced 4000 packers.

Farmers responded by buying the new Flexi-Coil packers which did not pulverize the soil. Stony land was not a problem for the coil design, and the packer easily followed the contours of the land.

Manufacturing the coil packer, Saskatoon, 1950s.
CNH Flexi-Coil

From Farm Shop to World Acclaim
The company founded by the Summach brothers did not stop at making packers. Innovations in tillage equipment, air seeder systems and sprayers have made Flexi-Coil an international success. In 2000, CNH Global bought Flexi-Coil and the company in Saskatoon continues to manufacture leading edge machinery for the agricultural industry here at home and around the world.

And what became of the Flexi-Coil packer? You can still see new and improved versions behind today’s sophisticated direct seeding equipment.

View the Original Patent Documents Online

Click on the patent number below to view the original patent documents on the Canadian Patent Office Patents Database.

Land Packer
Emerson Summach, Asquith (Also Harvey and Kenneth Summach)
Patent No. 522495  1956

Related WDM Research Papers:

Get Adobe ReaderResearch Documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Reader to view.

Changes in Farming Practices in Saskatchewan by Amy McInnis (WDM)

Innovative Implements: The Strength and Legacy of Saskatchewan's Manufacturing Industry by Amy McInnis (WDM)

Saskatchewan InnovationYou might also be interested in:

- More Saskatchewan Innovations

- About the WDM Collection

- How to donate an artifact