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Austin Alexander Scales was born 4 January 1886 in St. Eleanor's, Prince Edward Island to Henry Scales and Gulielma Lefurgey. Austin’s father died when Austin was ten years old, so Austin stayed home from school to help his mother run the farm and to support the four children. Educated at home, with the assistance of a school teacher that boarded with the family, Austin later studied at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in 1910, and in 1918 he received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Guelph, Ontario.
In 1914, seeing how silver fox pelts were selling for $1,000, he and five others formed the Willow Hill Silver Black Fox Company, selling pairs of breeding stock for up to $25,000. In 1919, Austin worked for the PEI Department of Agriculture for a short time, before becoming involved in the seed potato growing and marketing business. On 19 July 1925, Austin Scales married Lillian Dobson at Summerside, PEI.
In 1928 Austin bought a small grist and power plant, generating and distributing electrical power from waters of the Dunk River near his Freetown home under the name Scales Hydro Electric Company Limited. Also in 1928, he established the well-known PEI company Island Fertilizers Limited. The original fertilizer plant was located west of the railway wharf on the Charlottetown waterfront. In 1946, following a fire, Austin had to re-establish Island Fertilizers, and in 1949 he purchased two wartime airplane hangars and moved the business to Riverside Drive. Management of Island Fertilizers was later passed on to family members.
Associated Shippers Incorporated was established by Austin and others in 1946 to ship potatoes nationally and internationally. At the time of the Second World War, he contracted to supply dehydrated potatoes in the United Kingdom, opening the 250-employee Island Foods Inc. in Summerside. The plant packed large brown tins of chipped potatoes to be sent by the Canadian Government to feed allied troops during World War II.
Austin Scales was a director of the Bank of Canada, chairman of Industrial Enterprises Inc., board member of the Prince County Hospital, member of the Charlottetown Rotary Club and supporter of the PEI Rural Beautification Society. He received an honourary degree from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1972. In 1985, Austin was inducted into the Atlantic Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Austin Alexander Scales died at age 103 on 19 February 1989. Austin and Lillian Scales had six children: Lillian Joan, David Austin, John Henry, Alan Kent, Brian Dobson (d. 6 Sep 1962) and Nora Eleanor.