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Retired 1998


Ervin G. Humphries is a native of North Carolina and a triple graduate of the department earning his BS in 1958, MS in 1960, and PHD in 1964. He worked in the area of machine design and processing equipment for horticultural crops, primarily for pickling cucumbers. He initiated and sustained the multiple-pick approach to harvesting cucumbers (Harvester shown right) and was involved with sweet potato, cabbage, pepper and tomato harvesting equipment. Humphries also contributed to the materials handling and processing aspects of many horticultural crops developing methods to reduce the physical damage sustained by these commodities by conveying, transporting, cooling and storage operations.

In the processing area, Humphries was instrumental in the introduction of fiberglass and polyethylene bringing in tanks for the pickling industry. These large (10,000 gal.) tanks replaced wooden tanks that were prone to leaking and required high maintenance; leaking tanks contaminated the processing areas with high concentrations of salt brine. The runoff from processing areas into nearby streams or waste treatment systems was a major problem for the pickling industry. New and novel methods of cucumber processing to upgrade the food quality aspects of brined vegetables, the processing /handling equipment for “closed tank” fermentations, and the mechanics of loading and unloading closed containers were developed (see closed tank to the right) in association with USDA personnel.

Humphries teaching responsibilities were in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Departments where he taught statics, dynamics, solid mechanics, and machine design courses for over thirty years. Thus, his teaching and research activities have been mutually beneficial. He has also served as a consultant to industry and advisor to several commodity groups.


Ph.D. Agricultural Engineering NC State University 1964

M.S. Agricultural Egineering NC State University 1960

B.S. Agricultural Engineering NC State university 1958