History of the Mechanical Reaper

David Revilak

THE INVENTOR

Cyrus Hall McCormick was born on February 15, 1809. He was the eldest son of Robert McCormick, a blacksmith, farmer, and inventor. Cyrus had limited education, but spent a mojority of his free time in his fathers workshop. He never liked farming, so he dedicated his hard work to inventing a machine to harvest wheat and grains mechanically. McCormick had invented several practical farm implements but, like other inventors in the United States and England, had failed in his attempt to build a successful reaping machine.

THE INVENTION

In 1831 Cyrus, aged 22, tried his hand at building the mechanical reaper. For farmers in the early 19th century, harvesting required a large number of labourers, and, if they could be found, the cost of hiring them was high. McCormick decided to make a machine to reap the fields much more effiently and quickly

HOW THE INVENTION WORKS

Resembling a two-wheeled, horse-drawn chariot, the machine consisted of a vibrating cutting blade, a reel to bring the grain within its reach, and a platform to receive the falling grain. The reaper embodied the principles essential to all subsequent grain-cutting machines.

THE PURPOSE OF THE INVENTION

The mechanical reaper was made to collect the grains and wheats for the farmer, allowing for more production and more harvest, thus earning more money to buy more seeds

WHERE AND WHEN WAS IT INVENTED

The mechanical reaper was created in Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1824. When McCormick’s reaper was tested on a neighbour’s farm in 1831, it offered the hope that the yield of the farmer’s fields would soon not be limited to the amount of labour available. The machine had defects, not the least of which was a clatter so loud that slaves were required to walk alongside to calm the frightened horses.

WHAT WAS THE NEED FOR THIS INVENTION IN PARTICULAR

This invention aided in a higher production rate in wheat and various grains grown on farms for sale. This was also the base for many other farm-hand inventions to come

HOW IS THIS INVENTION IMPORTANT

It boosted the production of necessary farm goods and resources by decreasing the time it took to harvest, leaving extra time and money to plant more

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