« AnteriorContinuar »
and may stack-burn if stacked. This confines the use of the header largely to the western part of the United States, where peculiar conditions exist which make it possible to let wheat ripen completely without much danger of loss, though the machine is used to some extent in the Mississippi valley. Some wheat growers cut with binders until the grain is ripe, and then use the header. It cuts from 12 to 20 feet in width, and from 15 to 50 acres a day. In Washington three headers and one threshing machine usually work together. From 50 to 75 acres a day are thus harvested. Three header-boxes, or barges, are usually used with one header. These are often unloaded at the stack or machine by horse power. A peculiarly arranged netting is laid in the box, and by means of ropes and a derrick the whole load is hoisted to the stack or feeder.
The header was used very extensively on the Pacific coast before the combined harvester came in use. Sixteen-foot headers drawn by six mules were used. The grain was usually threshed as fast as it was headed. The ordinary crew for a 44-inch cylinder thresher and 26-horse-power engine was as follows: Seven headers operated by 42 animals and 14 men; 21 header-boxes, requiring 42 animals and 21 men; and at the machine there were 11 animals and 32 men; this made a total of 95 animals and 67 men. In 1880 such an outfit averaged 3,800 bushels per day in California. Many headers are in use in South America, and a machine similar to an American header is also being used in Russia. The stripping header is still used in Australia. About 20 per cent of the headers manufactured in the United States are sold in foreign countries.
The Reaper.—Under the reaper are included all machines designed to cut the grain and gather it in bunches, gavels, or rows. While the header was the first harvesting machine that was invented, it was not the subject of so many improvements, nor did it have, in modern times, such wide and early practical utility as the reaper. The ingenuity of man is well shown by the numerous devices that were invented to accomplish the two objects of the reaper. Nearly all of these inventions were made in England. Two forms of motion were utilized in cutting the grain, circular and rectilinear. Both forms shared the continuous advancing motion of the machine to which they were fastened. The type now universally used, except in stripping headers, is a reciprocating rectilinear motion. As perfected, this type involves the principles of both the saw and the shears.
In Pitt's "rippling cylinder" were combined the first use of the circular motion, the first forerunner of the reel, and the first utilization of the principle involved in transmitting power from the wheels of the machine to operate some of its parts. The latter principle has been utilized in practically all harvesting machines ever built, excepting some of the combined harvesters constructed since 1903. Some form of the reel is also found on every harvesting machine which has had any success. In consideration of these facts, Pitt's name holds high rank among inventors of harvesting machinery.
The first patent on a reaping machine was granted in England to Joseph Boyce in 1799. Its only title to fame is priority.
A year later an unsuccessful attempt was made to adopt shears as a cutting apparatus. This machine was unique in being operated by human power. Outside and inside dividers to separate the swath from the grain left standing, now found on all harvesting machines, were apparently first used in 1805. With Gladstone's machine (1806), the first to be drawu instead of pushed, appeared the side cut and the platform upon which the severed grain falls. Salmon (1808) first utilized the reciprocating cutter combined with the advancing motion of the machine. His reaper was also the first to have a self-delivering apparatus for the grain. Dobbs, a theatrical genius, invented a reaper (1841) and introduced it to the public in a play adapted to this purpose. The stage was planted with wheat which was harvested by the machine during the course of the play. While English genius invented the essential contrivances of the reaper, American ingenuity must in the main be accredited with the rapid perfection of the machine for practical use. The first patent issued in the United States on an invention in this line was in 1803. The inventions of Hussey and McCormick came before 1835. McCormick's machine (patented 1834) was first used in the harvest of 1831. It was drawn by one horse, and seems to have possessed in crude form all of the essentials
of a modern reaper. The grain was raked from the platform by a man walking behind the machine. Developing the reaper of today consisted solely in perfecting contrivances for utilizing the principles already discovered. The devices for automatically removing the grain from the platform were many, and they varied greatly in principle and crudeness. The revolving vane, the first form of which was invented by Hoffhein (1852), finally became established as the most advantageous method.
The reaper was virtually perfected by 1865, but in the United States other forms of harvesting machines soon entirely supplanted it in cutting wheat. It is widely used in Europe at the present time, especially in Russia and France, and nearly all machines of this kind manufactured in the United States are sold abroad. A reaping attachment is often used with a binder to drop the grain in bunches, and it is also widely used with a mower by small farmers in Europe.
The Self-Binding Harvester.—All machines which deliver the grain bound in sheaves, whether it is bound automatically or otherwise, are considered as binders. The reaper cut and collected the grain. This is only a part of the harvesting problem, and before this part was fairly solved, inventions began to appear seeking by means of an automatic binder to do away
with the slow and laborious process of hand binding. In the case of the binder, discovery and invention must both be credited to the United States. Better economic and social conditions, dearer and scarcer labor, and more level and extensive grain fields were the conditions that made all agricultural machinery very profitable in the United States, and caused this country to outstrip England in the development of harvesting machinery.
Binders have been divided into two classes: Those in which the binding device is attached to a machine of the self-rake pattern, called the "low;down" class; and those in which the grain is elevated to the binder. Straw, metal strips, wire and twine were the four types of band with which experiments were made. Some machines carried an attendant to do the binding; others required an attendant to aid in this; otht-rs were automatic, but the power had to be furnished; while still others were automatic and received their power from the machine. The first effort to bind grain by machinery was made by John E. Heath of Ohio. His patent (1850) was on a twine or cord binder of the low-down type. Next (1850-1851) appeared the first machine with men riding on it to bind the grain as it was cut. It had a box for carrying the sheaves, the first forerunner of the bundle-carrier. Other contrivances that now appeared were: The cord knotter (1853); the wire twister (1856); the straw braid twister (1857); the automatic trip regulating the action of the binder and the canvas to elevate the grain over the drive wheel (1858); and the knotting bill and revolving cord holder (1864).
The Marsh machine began its successful career on the market in 1864, and from this date the "low-down'' type of machine had a minor popularity. There is, however, still a successful binder of this type on the market which is unique and very popular for certain classes of grain harvesting on smaller farms. The Lake wire binder (about 1873) was perhaps the first commercially successful automatic binding machine brought out. There were, however, serious objections to wire binders, for pieces of wire were carried into threshing machines, and even into flour mills, where they occasioned fires by coming in contact with rapidly moving machinery.
The name best known among persons interested in harvesting machines is that of John F. Appleby. He had the genius to combine the advantages of preceding inventions with some of his own inventions in such a manner as to attain success. The Appleby binder on the Marsh frame was an irresistible combination that outstripped all competitors, and at once sprang into such popular favor that it swept over the world with overwhelming rapidity. The problem, at the solution of which many inventors had aimed in hundreds of patents during 30 years, was solved.1
1 Ardrey, Amer. Affr. Implements, pp. 64-77; Miller, Evolution Reaping Machines, pp. 34-37.