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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; others 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. Agr. Implements, pp. 64-77; Miller, Evolution Reaping Machines, pp. 34-37.
The standard binder combines the cutter and draft of the reaper with the reel and traveling canvases of the header, and adds the automatic device for binding the grain in sheaves, and the bundle carrier for collecting them in piles. The operator can adjust the reel at will while the machine is in motion. An endless canvas on the platform of the machine conveys the cut grain to two similar canvases, between which the grain is elevated to the opposite side of the drive wheel. It is there received and packed into a bundle by the binding device. As the size of the bundle increases, the resulting pressure trips the binder, which binds automatically as often as it is tripped. The pressure required for this, and consequently the size of the bundle, can be regulated. While in operation, the entire machine can be adjusted to variations in the grain and in the levelness of the field. The most usual width of cut is 6 feet, but machines cutting different widths are made. One man with three horses will harvest from 10 to 20 acres per day with the binder, and it requires two other men to shock what is cut. A bonanza farmer expects such an outfit to cut 250 acres in a season. On the Dalrymple farms of Dakota, binders with 7-foot cut are used, and about 15 are run in one crew. Each crew or gang has its overseer. A wagon follows with water, twine and other articles, while a gang of shockers set up the wheat as fast as it is cut. In the United States the binder is used in every state which raises wheat, while abroad it is used quite extensively in England, Russia, Germany, France and parts of South America, and to a less extent in other countries where wheat is grown.
The Header-Binder is the most recent development in binders, and is, as the name suggests, merely a binder attached to the header. It has the wide cut of the header and the grain can be cut in the same condition as with a binder or reaper. These machines ha-"e found quite extensive favor in the Dakotas, Kansas, Oklahoma, on the Pacific coast, and in Argentina.
In binding wheat, a 10,000-acre farm uses two carloads of twine in a single harvest, an amount that would lay a line around the whole coast of England, Ireland and Scotland. It is estimated that the United States consumes annually from 110,000 to 120,000 tons of binder twine.
Shocking.—We found in a previous chapter that the ripening process in wheat involves a transfer of material from the straw to the grain. If the grain is cut before it is dead ripe, as is usually the case, this transferring process is not completed at harvest. Under these circumstances the completion of the ripening process is greatly aided by prompt shocking and capping, and loss will result if the grain is not thus protected from the hot sun and wind. This purpose is best accomplished by round shocks with caps. If the sheaves are large, or if the grain is green or weedy, it is customary to put 12 bundles in a shock. Their disposition is as follows: Three pairs are placed in a row; two bundles are then placed on each side of the row; the eleventh bundle is placed on top of the shock, and the twelfth, after its ends have been spread fan-shape, is placed crosswise of the eleventh. In a shock of 16 bundles, the disposition is the same, only that four pairs are placed in the row, and three in each side. A method of shocking that is quicker and more advantageous when the grain is practically ripe at cutting consists of placing any convenient number of pairs of bundles in a row. In any method, efficiency and economy of time demand that two sheaves be handled at once.
Combined Harvesters include all combinations of machines designed to leave both straw and charf in the field and to deliver the wheat cleaned ready for market. The combined harvester is the culmination of the modern movement of discoveries and inventions pertaining to harvesting machinery. With this machine the wheat is cut, gathered, threshed, cleaned, and even sacked without a single touch from the human hand. On one side the grain is cut, and on the other side it is dropped at regular intervals in piles of filled and tied sacks, ready for the market. Every operation, except sewing up the sacks, is mechanically and automatically performed by the application of horse or steam power. In economy, in capacity and thoroughness of work, in perfection of mechanical construction, and in ease of operation, there is apparently little more to be attained. The combined harvester can be used advantageously in a dry climate only, where there is little fear of rain, and no great dews, which should be off before the middle of the forenoon. It also cannot be used where the grain is moistened by the damp breath of the ocean, as in western Oregon.
Ridley, an Englishman residing in Australia, invented a combined harvester in 1845 which employed the principle of the ancient machine of Gaul and attracted considerable attention. This type of combined harvester, commonly known as the "stripper," is still used in Australia, and is especially adapted to the dry harvest seasons prevalent in that country. Strippers have been manufactured in Canada and in the United States. They have been tried in California and Washington, but the atmospheric conditions did not seem suited to them. In Argentina, however, their introduction seems quite successful.
This machine strips the heads from the stalks of standing wheat by means of a comb resembling the ordinary sickle guard in appearance. Directly above the rear of the comb is a drum about 18 inches in diameter in which works a rapidly revolving beater which aids the comb in the decapitating process and furnishes a draft which carries the heads up into the threshing cylinder. This consists of teeth revolving within stationary teeth, and the threshing is more of a rubbing than a battering process. From the cylinder the grain and straw pass to the sieves over a vibrating metal table. Imperfectly threshed grains are returned to the cylinder. The straw and chaff is discharged at the rear of the machine, and the winnowed grain is carried to the top of the machine by a belt and cup elevator. Here the grain is screened. The screenings and the perfect grain pass to separate bins, from which they are bagged. A receiving box drops the bags in piles of four or five. Some of the machines discharge the straw and chaff under the middle of the machine, and fill the bags automatically.
The stripper can be used only in wheat that is ripe, dry, and free from weeds, for otherwise the grain will not thresh clean and the machine will clog. It is suited only to non-shattering wheat, which is not lost in the operation of harvesting. The expense of harvesting in this manner is estimated to be from one-fifth to one-half that of binding and threshing wheat. With a boy to ride the lead horse, one man can operate the machine, and from four to seven horses can easily draw it. A machine taking a five-foot swath will cover from 6 to 10 acres per day. In 1902 the price of these.machines was $750 gold in Argentina, but it has since been reduced.