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INDUSTRIES: Business History of Agricultural Machinery
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1784 - Andrew Meikle invented threshing machine.

March 14, 1794 - Eli Whitney, of New Haven, CT, received a patent for "Ginning Cotton"; cotton gin to separate inland cotton (vs. long-staple cotton grown only along coast) from its sticky green seeds; made growing of cotton profitable, especially with declining tobacco profit due to over-supply, soil exhaustion; reduced labor-intensity of harvesting cotton, which quickly spread as a newly valuable cash crop for farmers across the southern states; replaced much processing by hand labor, revolutionized textile industry.

Eli Whitney - inventor of cotton gin (

June 26, 1797 - Charles Newbold, Chesterfield, NJ,  received first US patent for "Ploughs", cast-iron plow; farmers won't buy it, fear effects of iron on soil.

January 25, 1799 - Eliakim Spooner, of Vermont, received  patent for a "Machine for Planting Corn and Beans"; seed-planting device (seeds fed by gravity); also received patent for a "Machine for Cutting Corn, Beans"; August 25, 1840 - Joseph Gibbons, of Adrian MI, received a patent for a "Grain Drill" ("Improvement in Seed Planters"); first truly practical seeding machine (combined a grain drill with cavities to deliver seed and a device for regulating the volume).

May 17, 1803 - John Hawkins and Richard French received patent  for a machine for "Cutting Grain and Grass"; reaping machine.

March 31, 1814 - John Lineback. of Salem, NC, received a patent for a "Machine for Hulling Cotton Seed".

July 1, 1814 - Jethro Wood, of Scipio, NY, received a patent for "Ploughs"; 1819 - sold almost 4,000/year.

February 3, 1819 - Stephen McCormick, of Faquier Court House, VA, received a patent for a "Plough"; cast iron plow with detachable components; introduced concept of replaceable and standardized parts; January 28, 1826 - received second patent for a "Plough"; December 1, 1837 - received third patent for a "Plow"; cast-iron mould board had an adjustable wrought-iron point mounted beneath, able to decrease the draft, while deepening the furrow, and breaking up the soil more effectively.

June 13, 1831 - Cyrus Hall McCormick (22), of Rockbridge County, VA received a patent for a "Side-Hill Plow"; July 1831 - demonstrated reaping machine at public trial in a field near Walnut Grove, VA - did work of six men, cut six acres in half a day; November 19, 1833 - received a patent for a "Self-Sharpening Plow; June 21, 1834 - received a patent for an "Improvement in Machines for Reaping Small Grain"; 1841 - sold first two machines; liberated farm workers from hours of back-breaking labor; first step in a transition from hand labor to the mechanized farming; eventually replaced by the self-propelled combine; 1846 - formed partnership with William, Leander McCormick (brothers), formed C. H. & L. J. McCormick & Bros.; October 23, 1847 - received a second patent for an "Improvement in Reaping-Machines" ("placing the driving-wheel farther back than heretofore"); 1848 - renamed McCormick Harvesting Machine Company.  

May 3, 1831 - William Manning (Plainfield, NJ) received a patent for a reaper (mowing machine), though designed by Ann Harned Manning, his wife; first to mechanize harvesting of hay and grain.

December 31, 1833 - Obed Hussy, of Cincinnati, OH, received a patent for a "Improvement in Machine for Reaping and Cutting Grain" ("for reaping or cutting all kinds of small grain and grasses"); drawn by horses hitched in front, and had a side cut and a platform on which the operator stood who raked off the grain.

October 14, 1834 - Henry Blair, of Glenross, MD, received a patent for a "Seed Planter"; corn planter; first black man to receive a patent.

November 23, 1835 - Henry Burden, of Troy, NY, former superintendent of the Troy Iron and Nail Factory, recieved a patent for "Making Horsehoes"; horseshoe manufacturing machine capable of making sixty horseshoes a minute, produced shoes more rapidly and uniformly than the hand production method which had been used prior to this invention; made nearly all the horseshoes used by the Union calvary during the Civil War.

August 31, 1836 - African-American inventor, Henry Blair of Glenross, MD, received a patent for a "Cotton-Planter"; cotton seed planter.

1837 - John Deere developed, manufactured first cast-steel plow in Grand Detour, IL; 1855 - sold more than 10,000 plows; February 21, 1865 - John Deere, of Moline, IL, received a patent for "Improvement in Plows" ("Improvements in Landside and Share Plates for Plows"); 1868 - John Deere's business incorporated under the name Deere & Company; September 21, 1897 - Deere and Company registered "John Deere" trademark first used in 1847 (wagons); September 10, 1912 - registered logo first used in 1873 (deer leaping over log, "John Deere" arching above, "Moline, Ill." below).

January 9, 1838 - Julius Hatch, of Great Bend, PA, received patent for a "Grain Drill"; planter.

August 25, 1840 - Joseph Gibbons, of Adrian, MI, received patent for a "Grain Drill" ("new and useful improvement in the manner of constructing a machine for the planting or sowing of seeds of various kinds...the manner in which I determine and regulate the capacity of the cavities in the cylinders for the reception of the seed").

1842 - Jerome Increase Case founded the J I Case Company; gained recognition as the first builder of a steam engine for agricultural use; known in manufacturing circles as the "Threshing Machine King"; 1964 - bought by Tenneco.

1847 - Edward P. Allis began as small burr millstone maker; 1861 - acquired Milwaukee’s Reliance Works; produced steam engines, flour-milling equipment; 1863 - changed name to Edward P. Allis and Company; 1889 - employed nearly 1500 men; 1890s - Milwaukee’s largest industrial employer; built heavy machinery for factories, mines, power plants, public utilities (heating plants; pumps, pipes for Milwaukee Water Works); 1901 - merged with Fraser & Chalmers Company, Gates Ironworks, Dickson Manufacturing Company, formed Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company; 1985 - acquired by Klockner-Humboldt-Deutz of the Deutz Corporation of Germany.

1847 - Daniel Massey opened workshop in Newcastle ON, to build simple farm implements; 1857 - Alanson Harris established A. Harris and Son implement works at Beamsville, ON to make, repair farm machinery; 1891 - Massey, Harris merged; 1938 - produced world’s first commercially successful self-propelled combine; 1953 - Massey-Harris merged with Harry Ferguson Limited of Coventry, England; twin skills in harvesting machinery,  tractor - produced one of world’s most powerful forces in farm equipment; 1995 - acquired by AGCO Corporation.

October 21, 1852 - John Fowler of Temple Gate, Bristol, UK, received Royal Letters Patent for "Improvements in Machinery for Draining Land"; first steam cultivation of land, commercialized land drainage (had exhibited Mole Drainage Plough, horse-drawn mole-draining tackle to drain subsoil, in 1851; helped Irish peasants drain peat bogs).

May 8, 1855 - George W. Brown, of Galesburg, IL, received a patent for a "Seed Planter"; April 5, 1864 - received a patent for a "Corn-Planter"; first successful mechanical corn planter.

December 1, 1857 - Ephraim Ball, of Canton, OH, received a patent for a "Harvester" ("Improvement in Mowing-Machines"); known as "Ball's Improved Ohio Mower" (grass harvester); first widely successful of two-wheeled flexible or hinged bar mowers; influenced change from single driving-wheel machines to double drivers.

December 3, 1861 - Wilkenson Furnas, of Ononwa, IA, received a patent for a "Wheel-Cultivator" ("Improvement in Plows...designed for cultivating growing plants in bilts or drills-such as corn, potatoes, etc."); riding cultivator; first John Deere plow adapted to riding; February 16, 1864 - received a patent for a "Wheel-Cultivator" ("Improvement in Cultivators").

June 17, 1862 - W.H. Fancher and C.M. French of Waterloo, NY, received patent for a "Plow" ("Improvement in Combined Plow and Gun"); combination proposed to give those in agribusiness an "efficient weapon of defense at very slight expense in addition" to that of a plow; added elements of light ordinance, designed for "especially when used in border localities, subject to savage feuds and guerrilla warfare" to metal plow with wooden handles of ordinary construction; share served as anchor in the ground to resist recoil; wooden handles used to set direction.

January 12, 1864 - John Deere, of Moline, IL, received a patent for Improvement in Molds for Casting Steel" ("to cast in a perfect manner the shares, moldboards, landslides, and other articles of steel"); casting steel in shapes in dry-sand molds; April 5, 1864 - received patent for "Improvement in Cast-Steel Molds" ("for coating the interior surfaces of molds of dry sand to be used in casting steel into shapes").

February 16, 1864 - Jacob Behel, of Earleville, IL, received a patent for "Improvement in Grain-Binders" ("to bind gavels of grain or other materials into sheaves or bundles with cord bands, and to knot the ends of the bands together").

February 2, 1869 - James Oliver, of South Bend, IN, received a patent for "Casting Mould Boards" ("new arrangement of mould-board pattern and chill for plows"); removable tempered steel plow blade.

1872 - Thomas Chalmers founded Fraser & Chalmers Company (Chicago, IL), manufacturer of mining machinery, boilers, and pumps; 1890 - headed by William Chalmers, one of world's largest manufacturers of mining equipment.

April 7, 1874 - Edward H. Sutton, of Edenton, NC, received a patent for "Improvement in Cotton-Cultivators"; plows.

June 29, 1875 - Gilpin Moore, of Rock Island,. IL, received a patent for "Sulky-Plows" ("simple in structure, free from complicated systems of gearing, or levers being operated by a single lever, and which will possess strength, durability, and ease in operation...the wheels will be exactly balanced in their movements...the driver, in raising or lowering the plow, does not raise or support any portion of his own weight...with a given movement of the single operating-lever, a greater degree of vertical movement or travel of the wheel-centers of the axle is secured than is accomplished in ordinary plows, maintaining the plow at all times in a level of horizontal position...angle of the bottom of the sole-plate may be readily adjusted"); one of most outstanding 19th-century sulky plows; April 4, 1882 - received a patent for a "Cultivator" ("shovel-beams arranged in pairs and each pair manipulated by a single handle"); a power-lift; assigned to Deere and Company.

1876 - James Porteous established Fresno Agricultural Works in Fresno, CA; manufactured, sold construction and farm equipment; July 25, 1882 - received a patent for a "Dirt-Scraper" ("...buck-scraper, in which the power of horses is applied to drag along the ground a vertical or slightly-inclined board, which scrapes the dirt and carries it before it to any required place..."); April 3, 1883 - received a second patent for a "Dirt Scraper" ("...simple, light, and effective scraper for leveling land"); January 31, 1889 - acquired 1883 scraper patent from William Deidrick; February 7, 1896 - acquired 1885 scraper patent from Frank Dusy and Abijah McCall; gained sole rights to 'Fresno Scraper' - basis for modern earthmoving equipment, able to scrape, move load of soil, discharge it at controlled depth with blade which ran along bottom of C-shaped bowl, adjustable to alter angle of bucket to soil so that dirt could be dumped into low spots; sold throughout West; developed reputation for efficiency, reliability, ease of operation; shipped to practically every state, South America, India, The Orient, South Africa, Australia, Europe; played vital role in construction of Panama Canal; transformed labor of land leveling, ditch digging, road and railroad building (designated as International Historic Engineering Landmark in 1991 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers); focus shifted to retail hardware; name changed to Fresno Ag Hardware; 2010 - full-service hardware store with 86,000 square feet under roof; largest independently owned hardware store in area.

James Porteous - Fresno Scraper (

February 18, 1879 - John F. Appleby, of West Depere, WI, received a patent for "Improvement in Grain-Binding Harvesters"; established a class of binding machines.

March 23, 1880 - John Stevens, of Neenah, WI, received patent for a "Grain-Crushing Roll"; flour rolling mill.

July 4, 1882 - Sylvanus D. Locke, of Hoosick Falls, NY, received a patent for a "Grain-Binder" ("devices for holding the binding material and governing it in its passage as it is payed out in the operation of binding").

1883 - Charles Henry Holt, Benjamin Holt established Stockton Wheel Company in Stockton, CA (Charles had formed C.H. Holt and Co. in 1869 in San Francisco, a West Coast branch of family’s New Hampshire-based wagon-making business; William Harrison Holt, Ames Frank Holt joined Charles in 1871, formed Holt Brothers Manufacturing; produced wagon wheels made from imported, seasoned Eastern hardwood but climate too cold, damp for wheel fabrication; William and Ames Holt sold ownership to brothers); expanded into agricultural, mechanical implements; 1886 - produced 'Link Belt Combined Harvester', first combine (used flexible chain belts rather than gears to transmit power from ground wheels to working parts of machine); 1892 - incorporated as Holt Manufacturing Company; November 24, 1904 - Benjamin Holt invented first successful track-type tractor (crawler track, with tracks to disperse weight, provide better traction; used later for tanks, moving heavy artillery); made first 'caterpillar' tractor (chosen because motion of track as it traveled resembled movement of caterpillar); December 17, 1907 - received a patent for a "Traction Engine" ("improvement in vehicles, and especially of the traction engine class; and included endless traveling platform supports upon which the engine is carried"); 1910 -Stockton, CA plant manager, Clarence Leo Best, left Holt, resurrected his father's (Daniel Best) tractor company, acquired by Holt in 1908 (had acquired rights to manufacture Remington steam engine, produced range of steam-driven farm machinery, including steam tractors and combine harvesters); named reestablished company C.L. Best Gas Traction Company; February 16, 1910 - Holt Caterpillar accepted deed to bankrupt Colean Manufacturing Company plant in East Peoria (10 1/2 acres of field on which plant stood, later became Caterpillar's first proving ground, selected by Pliny Holt, nephew of Holt Manufacturing founder Benjamin Holt); 12 employees began building track-type tractors; 1913 - introduced crawler tractor patterned after Holt design; 1920 - restructured, renamed C. L. Best Tractor Company; April 15, 1925 - Chickering and Gregory (law firm) filed articles of incorporation for merger of Holt Caterpillar and C. L. Best Gas Traction Company of San Leandro, CA; name changed Caterpillar Tractor Co. (Clarence Leo Best as CEO, headquarters in East Peoria; both businesses had suffered after WW I because military flooded market with used tractors, competition from Fordson, agricultural machinery division of Ford Motor Co.); 2010 - more than 16,000 employees in Peoria area (more than 90,000 employees).

Caterpillar Tractor -  1904; first successful crawler tractor, equipped with a pair of tracks rather than wheels  (

May 20, 1884 - Lockrum Blue, of Washington, DC, received a patent for a "Hand Corn-Shelling Device" ("for rapidly and effectually removing the grain from ears of corn").

May 11, 1886 - Black Inventor Willis Marshall, of Chicago, IL, received a patent for a "Grain-Binder" for grain harvesters; designed to remedy objections to the "construction of the tripping-dog and spring and their mode of connection".

June 1, 1886 - Black American inventor W. H. Richardson, of Baltimore, MD, received a patent for a "Cotton Chopper".

February 23, 1892 - Black American inventor, Peter D. Smith of Springfield, OH, received patent for a "Grain-Binder", way to form a binding-rope for sheaf from wisp or portion of cut grain and mechanism to be applied to reaper to perform this, knot the rope around the sheaf and eject it.

September 6, 1892 - John Froelich of Froelich, IA, built, sold first gasoline tractor in U.S. to Langford, SD (lacked easy access to a wood or coal supply for steam-powered unit); geared for both forward and reverse motion; powered by a Van Duzen vertical single-cylinder gasoline engine mounted on wooden beams upon a Robinson running gear - powered a J.I. Case threshing machine and propelled the vehicle; January 10, 1893 -  formed the Waterloo Gasoline Tractor Engine Company; 1918 - taken over by the John Deere Plow Co. (mass-produced gasoline-powered tractors based on Froelich's designs).

April 10, 1894 - George W. Murray, of Sumter, SC, received a patent for a "Combined Furrow-Opener and Stalk-Knocker" ("to open center furrows, and simultaneously therewith knock or break stalks at each side thereof, said stalks being left upon the ground for the purpose of enriching the same"); received second patent for a "Cultivator and Marker" ("improvements in cultivators and to that particular class thereof employed for opening furrows for the reception of seed").

June 5, 1894 - George W. Murray, of Rembert, SC, received six patents: for a "Planter";  for a "Cotton Chopper"; for a "Fertilizer Distributor"; for a ""Planter" ("to discharge broadcast various kinds of seed; to provide for a regulation of the discharge; and for a feed for the hopper");  for a "Combined Cotton-Seed Planter and Fertilizer Distributer"; and a patent for a "Reaper" "(machine adapted to reap small grain, to gather the same into bundles, and to automatically dump the bundles at proper intervals upon the ground, whereby said grain may be readily gathered").

August 28, 1894 - Black American inventor, Robert H. Gray, of Lexington, KY, received patent for a "Baling Press".

March 24, 1896 - Clement A. Hardy, of Dallas, TX, received patent for a "Rotary Disk Plow"; designed to be drawn into the earth by their own action and by the weight of the soil lifted by the disks and carried on their faces and have a cutting action on the bottom of the furrow instead of scraping, thereby reduced weight of the machinery.

1897 - Brosnahan & Olson Company began selling John Deere Plows in Grafton, ND; 1931 - Farup Auto Company acquired John Deere line (became largest volume John Deere dealer in nation); early 1940s - acquired by Overbye & Scidmore, local Chevrolet dealer; 1949 - acqiuired by Oliver Gorder and Paul Torgeson; experimented with first rubber tires; 1975 - acquired by Lloyd Holy,Deere & Co. Territory Manager (Minneapolis, MN); November 1, 1975 - formed Grafton Equipment Co. (8 employees); introducing row crop tractors; April 1, 2006 - John Oncken, Territory Manager for Deere & Co. for 18 years, becam shareholder and Company Vice President; 2010 - one of largest John Deere dealers in Red River Valley, over 100 employees, sales in excess of $120 million per year.

February 16, 1897 - Peter Walker, of Friar's Point, MS, received a patent for a "Machine for Cleaning Seed-Cotton" ("automatically delivering cotton containing the seed, freed from dust and various foreign matter, to the gins").

1901 - Edward P. Allis and Company merged with Fraser & Chalmers Company (Gates Iron Works of Chicago and Dickson Manufacturing Company); formed Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company; 1914 - built first farm tractor; became a leading manufacturer of farm equipment; 1979 - $2 billion corporation; 1985 - sold farm equipment division to K-H-Deutz AG of Germany; 1990 - acquired by AGCO Corp. (Georgia), farm equipment maker.

August 12, 1902 - C.H. McCormick & Bros. merged with other leading farm implement manufacturers (Deering Harvester Co., Plano Manufacturing Company, Milwaukee Harvester Company, Warder, Bushnell and Glessner), formed International Harvester Company; 1910 - $100 million in annual sales, over 17,000 workers; February 28, 1922 - registered "McCormick" trademark first used in 1848; 1985 - sold farm equipment, construction businesses; 1986 - name changed to Navistar International Corporation. 

October 7, 1940 - A U.S. 1-cent stamp commemorating inventor Eli Whitney was issued, with first-day-of-issue ceremonies in Savannah, GA. Whitney had been employed in Savannah to tutor the children of the owner of Mulberry Grove Plantation when he learned about the difficulty of separating seed from the cotton fibres.

1958 - Melroe Manufacturing Company (Gwinner, ND) introduced Melroe Self-Propelled Loader, machine conceived by blacksmith brothers, Cy and Louis Keller, to help a Minnesota farmer work tight areas of his turkey barns; four-wheel drive and "Bobcat" name added over next few years.

January 1958 - J.E. Hancock established Yellowhouse Machinery Co. in Lubbock, TX; 1991 - acquired by John Kritser, Amarillo businessman; oldest John Deere construction equipment dealer west of Mississippi.

(AGCO), Norm Swinford (1999). The Proud Heritage of Agco Tractors. (St. Joseph, MO: American Society of Agriculural Engineers, 279 p.). AGCO Corporation--History; Tractors--United States--History; Allis-Chalmers tractors--History.

(Allis-Chalmers), Walter F. Peterson; with an epilogue by C. Edward Weber (1978). An Industrial Heritage, Allis-Chalmers Corporation. (Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Historical Society, 448 p.). Allis-Chalmers Corporation--History.

  Edward Phelps Allis - Allis-Chalmers (

(Allis-Chalmers), Charles H. Wendel; editing and design by George H. Dammann (1988). The Allis-Chalmers Story. (Sarasota, FL: Crestline Pub., 372 p.). Allis-Chalmers Corporation--History; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History; Machinery industry--United States--History.

(Allis-Chalmers), Walter M. Buescher (1992). Plow Peddler. (Macomb, IL: Glenbridge Pub., 320 p.). Buescher, Walter M.; Allis-Chalmers Corporation--History; Businessmen--United States--Biography; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History.

(B. F. Avery), Luther D. Thomas (2003). B. F. Avery: B. F. Avery & Sons Pioneer Plowmakers. (Yellow Springs, OH: Antique Power Publishing, 62 p.) Avery, Benjamin Franklin.; B F Avery & Sons Pioneer Plowmakers. Manufacturing empire created by B.F. Avery; its rise, eminence, eventual demise.

(J. I. Case), Stewart H. Holbrook; updated by Richard G. Charlton (1976). Machines of Plenty: Chronicle of an Innovator in Construction and Agricultural Equipment (New York, NY: Macmillan, 269 p. [Reprint of 1955 ed. with new chapters]). J. I. Case Company; Agricultural machinery--United States--History; Agriculture--United States--History.

J. I. Case ( images?q=tbn:47rAwA-v98TYEM:

(J. I. Case), C.H. Wendel (1994). 150 Years of J. I. Case (Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 336 p. [orig. pub. 1991]). Case tractors--History.

(Caterpillar), general editor, Walter A. Payne (1982). Benjamin Holt: The Story of the Caterpillar Tractor (Stockton, CA: University of the Pacific, 102 p.). Holt, Benjamin, 1849-1920; Caterpillar Tractor Company--History; Businesspeople--United States--Biography; Stockton (Calif.)--History. 

It’s All in the Family Benjamin Holt (Caterpillar's Largest Predecessor) (

Daniel Best - Best Tractor Company - later Caterpillar (

(Caterpillar), Michael Zinman (1986). The History of the Decline and Fall of the Caterpillar Tractor Company: A Modern Business Saga. (Adsley, NY: Haydn Foundation, 231 p.). Raterpillar Tractor Company--History; Caterpillar Tractor Company; Tractor industry--United States; Consolidation and merger of corporations--United States.

(Caterpillar), Eric C. Orlemann (2000). Caterpillar Chronicle: The History of the World's Greatest Earthmovers. (Osceola, WI: MBI, 168 p.). Caterpillar, Inc.--History; Caterpillar tractors--History; Earthmoving machinery--History.

(Deere), Wayne G. Broehl, Jr. (1984). John Deere's Company : A History of Deere & Company and Its Times. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 870 p.). Benjamin Ames Kimball Professor of the Science of Administration Emeritus, Amos Tuck School of Business Administration (Dartmouth College). Deere, John, 1804-1886; Deere & Company--History; Industrialists--United States--Biography; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History. Classic business history.

John Deere (1870)  ( johndeere_founder.jpg)

Charles Deere ( chasdeere.jpg)  

(Deere), John Gerstner (2000). u> Genuine Value: The John Deere Journey. (Moline, IL: Deere & Company, 286 p.). Editor and Creative Director (Deere). Deere & Company -- History -- Pictorial works; Agricultural implement industry -- History -- Pictorial works; John Deere tractors; Tractors; Agricultural machinery industry -- History -- Pictorial works.

(Deere), Bold Games (2004). John Deere American Farmer.. (Plymouth, MN: Destineer Publishing). Publisher of Mass-Market Electronic Entertainment for Personal Computers. Mass-market electronic entertainment; impulse-oriented mass market games.

(Deere), Neil Dahlstrom and Jeremy Dahlstrom; introduction by David Vaught (2005). The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere. (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 224 p.). Deere Reference Archivist. Deere, John, 1804-1886; Deere, Charles; Deere & Company--History; Industrialists--United States--Biography; Plows--Illinois--History; Agricultural machinery industry--Illinois--History. /font>

(Deere), David Magee (2005). The John Deere Way: Performance That Endures. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 256 p.). Former Newspaper Columnist and Editor. Deere, John, 1804-1886; Deere & Company--History; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History. 

(Fowlers of Leeds), Michael R. Lane (1980). The Story of the Steam Plough Works. (London, UK: Northgate Publishing Co., 410 p.).

(J. Furphy & Sons), John Barnes (1998). Made in Shepparton: The History of J. Furphy & Sons, 1873-1998. (Shepparton, Vic.: J. Furphy & Sons, 99 p.). --History; Metal trade--Auistralia--Shepparton (Vic.); Agricultural machinery--Australia--Shepparton (Vi.).

(Gehl Company), Bill Beck (2008). Three Generations of Success: Gehl Company, 1859-2009. (Virginia Beach, VA Donning Co., 152 p.). Corporate historian. Gehl Company --History; Agricultural machinery industry --Wisconsin --West Bend --History; Construction equipment industry --Wisconsin --West Bend --History. Gehl Company history.

(Harvester), Cyrus Hall McCormick (1931). The Century of the Reaper: An Account of Cyrus Hall McCormick, the Inventor of the Reaper; of the McCormick Harvesting Company, the Business He Created; and of the International Harvester Company, His Heirs and Chief Memorial. (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 307 p.). McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1809-1884; Harvesting machinery.

 Cyrus H. McCormick ( Cyrus_McCormick_engraving.jpg/220px-Cyrus_McCormick_engraving.jpg)

(Harvester), Clara Ingram Judson (1948). Reaper Man, The Story of Cyrus Hall McCormick. (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 156 p.). McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1809-1884.

(Harvester), Norbert Lyons; With a foreword by Robert Hall McCormick III (1955). The McCormick Reaper Legend; The True Story of a Great Invention. (New York, NY: Exposition Press, 217 p.). McCormick, Robert, 1780-1846; McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1809-1884; McCormick, Leander James, 1819-1900; Harvesting machinery.

(Harvester), William T. Hutchinson (1968). Cyrus Hall McCormick. (New York, NY: Da Capo Press, 2 vols. [orig. pub. 1930]). McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1809-1884; Harvesting machinery. 

(Harvester), Robert W. Ozanne (1968). Wages in Practice and Theory: McCormick and International Harvester, 1860-1960. (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 161 p.). International Harvester Company; Wages -- United States.

(Harvester), Herbert N. Casson (1971). Cyrus Hall McCormick: His Life and Work. (Freeport, NY: Books for Libraries, 264 p. [orig. pub. 1909]). McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1809-1884; Harvesting machinery.

(Harvester), Fred V. Carstensen (1984). American Enterprise in Foreign Markets: Studies of Singer and International Harvester in Imperial Russia (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 289 p.). "Kompaniia Zinger (Firm)--History; International Harvester in Russia--History; Corporations, American--Soviet Union--History--Case studies; International business enterprises--United States--History--Case studies; International business enterprises--Soviet Union--History--Case studies.

(Harvester), Barbara Marsh (1985). A Corporate Tragedy: The Agony of International Harvester Company. (New York, NY: Doubleday, 324 p.). International Harvester Company; Agricultural machinery industry--United States.

(Harvester), Allen Wells (1985). Yucatán's Gilded Age: Haciendas, Henequen, and International Harvester, 1860-1915. (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 239 p.). International Harvester Company--History; Henequen industry--Mexico--Yucatán (State)--History; Haciendas--Mexico--Yucatán (State)--History.

(Harvester), C.H. Wendel (1993). 150 Years of International Harvester (Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 416 p. [orig. pub. 1981]).

(Harvester), Esko Heikkonen (1995). Reaping the Bounty: McCormick Harvesting Machine Company Turns Abroad, 1878-1902. (Helsinki, Finland: Finnish Historical Society, 319 p.). McCormick, Cyrus Hall, 1809-1884; McCormick Harvesting Machine Company--History; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History.

(Harvester), Kenneth Durr and Lee Sullivan; introduction by Hugh Downs (2007). International Harvester, McCormick, Navistar : Milestones in the Company that Helped Build America. (Portland, OR: Graphic Arts Books, 252 p.). Director of the History Division (History Associates Incorporated). International Harvester Company--History; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History. Until 1831, grain still harvested as in time of Pharaohs; McCormick invented reaper, pioneered modern sales, marketing techniques, created industrial powerhouse ranked with U.S. Steel, Standard Oil. 

(Hesston), Billy M. Jones (1987). Factory on the Plains: Lyle Yost and the Hesston Corporation. (Wichita, KS: Center of Entrepreneurship, W. Frank Barton School of Business Administration, Wichita State University, 237 p.). Yost, Lyle Edgar, 1913- ; Hesston Corporation--History; Industrialists--United States--Biography; Agricultural machinery industry--United States--History; Industrial equipment industry--United States--History.

(Massey-Ferguson), E. P. Neufeld (1969). A Global Corporation; A History of the International Development of Massey-Ferguson Limited. (Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 427 p.). Massey-Ferguson, ltd.

Daniel Massey - Massey Ferguson (

(Massey-Ferguson), Colin Fraser (1973). Tractor Pioneer; The Life of Harry Ferguson. (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 294 p.). Ferguson, Harry, 1884-1960.

(Massey-Ferguson), Peter Cook (1981). Massey at the Brink: The Story of Canada's Greatest Multinational and Its Struggle To Survive. (Toronto, ON: Collins, 288 p.). Massey-Ferguson Ltd.--History; Massey-Ferguson Ltd.--Finance--History; Agricultural machinery industry--Canada--History.

(Massey-Ferguson), Merrill Dennison (1949). Harvest Triumphant; The Story of Massey-Harris. (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead, 351 p.). Massey-Harris Company; Harvesting machinery; Agriculture--Canada.

(Massey-Ferguson), James S. Duncan (1971). Not a One-Way Street; The Autobiography of James S. Duncan. (Toronto, ON: Clarke, Irwin, 262 p.). Duncan, James S. (James Stuart), b. 1893; Businesspeople--Canada--Biography; Agricultural machinery industry--Canada.

(Melroe Company), Robert F. Karolevitz (1968). "E. G.," Inventor by Necessity; The Story of E. G. Melroe and the Melroe Company. (Aberdeen, SD: North Plains Press, 160 p.). Melroe, E. G., 1892-1955; Agricultural machinery industry--United States; Inventors--United States--Biography.

(Minneapolis-Moline), Norman F. Thomas (1976). Minneapolis-Moline: A History of Its Formation and Operations (New York, NY: Arno Press, 318 p. [Originally presented as the author's thesis, University of Minnesota, 1953]).

(Oliver-Hart-Parr), C.H. Wendel (1993). Oliver Hart-Parr (Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 296 p.).

(Peterson Tractor), Eileen Grafton (1998). Peterson Tractor Co.-- the First Sixty Years (San Leandro, CA: Peterson Tractor Co., 227 p.). Peterson Tractor Co.--History; Tractor industry--United States--History. November 16, 1936 - incorporated as Caterpillar Dealership for five bay area counties.

(Pratt Cotton Gin Factory), Curtis J. Evans (2001). The Conquest of Labor: Daniel Pratt and Southern Industrialization. (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 337 p.). Pratt, Daniel, 1799-1873; Industrialization--Alabama--Prattville--History--19th century; Industrialists--Alabama--Prattville--Biography; Prattville (Ala.)--Biography.  

R. L. Ardrey (1894). American Agricultural Implements; A Review of Invention and Development in the Agricultural Implement Industry of the United States. (Chicago, IL: The Author, 236 p.). Agricultural machinery; Agricultural machinery industry--United States.

Craig Canine (1995). Dream Reaper: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Inventor in the High-Tech, High-Stakes World of Modern Agriculture. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 300 p. [orig. pub. 1995]). Underwood, Mark; Lagergren, Ralph; Harvesting machinery--United States--History; Agriculture--United States--History.

Donald Holley (2000). The Second Great Emancipation: The Mechanical Cotton Picker, Black Migration, and How They Shaped the Modern South. (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas, 284 p.). Professor of History (University of Arkansas at Monticello). Cotton farmers--Southern States--History--20th century; African American agricultural laborers--Southern States--History--20th century; Farm mechanization--Social aspects--Southern States--History--20th century; Cotton-picking machinery--Southern States--History--20th century; Migration, Internal--United States--History--20th century; African Americans--Employment--History--20th century.

Angela Lakwete (2003). Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America. (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 232 p.). Teaches History (Auburn University). Cotton gins and ginning--United States--History--19th century; Inventions--United States--History--19th century. Slave labor–based antebellum South innovated, industrialized, modernized.

Arthur Pound (1931). The Reaper, A History of the Efforts of Those Who Justly May Be Said to Have Made Bread Cheap. (New York, NY: Greenberg, 382 p.). Harvesting machinery--History.

Leo Rogin (1931). The Introduction of Farm Machinery in Its Relation to the Productivity of Labor in the Agriculture of the United States During the Nineteenth Century. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 260 p.). Agricultural machinery; Agriculture--United States; Agricultural laborers--United States; Wheat--United States.


Business History Links

Images from the McCormick-International Harvester Collection            

Cyrus McCormick was one of the great successes of the American Industrial Revolution; invented first commercially successful reaper in Virginia; his real triumphs began when he moved to Chicago and formed what would later become known as the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company; produced thousands of various publications, advertising materials, and short industrial films; online collection, created by materials donated to the Wisconsin Historical Society, includes thousands of images that date from the 1840s to the 1980s.

Timeline in the Development of Agricultural Field Implements,
Related Apparatus, and Equipment


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