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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 drawn 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
A MODERN SELF-RAKE REAPER
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
A MODERN SELF-BINDING HARVESTER
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 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, an 1 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 have 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.