Cyrus Hall McCormick

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Cyrus Hall McCormick The mechanical reaper. A time-saving invention which allowed farmers to more than double their crop size while at the same time spurring other innovations in farm machinery. This reaper, which combined all the steps that earlier harvesting machines had performed separately, was the brilliant innovation of a man, a man named Cyrus Hall McCormick. Born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Cyrus was son to a man who's imagination also boggled with new inventions. As a child, Cyrus experimented with different tools in hopes of inventing something which would simplify his father's job. Finally, in 1831, he built his first reaper. Succeeding where his father had failed, Cyrus made some adjustments to his machine before patenting his invention in 1834. At around the same time (1833), a man by the name of Obed Hussey announced a the construction of a reaper of his own. The year was 1840, and by this time, McCormick had started to manufacture his creation and sold it for the first time in Virginia. The reaper's marketing did very well, and it's sales had expanded to other parts of the United States by 1844. Because of it's efficiency, the horse-drawn reaper allowed farmers to harvest five times the regular 2 acre per day amount that skilled workers used to harvest. In 1847, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company was moved to Chicago. Location, ease of distribution, and reputation were all factors which convinced McCormick that Chicago was the place for him. "Centrally located in the Midwest, he used the Great Lakes to transport reapers to the East, and the Mississippi River to transport to the South."* What more, as industries grew in the Windy City, Chicago soon turned into a major railroad central in the 1850's. This added to the distribution potential which McCormick needed to ship his reapers out to other parts of the US. The company's success thrived under the name McCormick Harvesting Machine Company until McCormick's death in 1884. By this time, McCormick's company had grown to become one of greatest industrial establishments in the United States. Chicago newspapers were bragging about his success and other companies awed at the pace of development. Shortly after his death, the company had a "face-lift." It's name changed to the International Harvester, and sales slowed down from it's initial boom. In 1907, the company produced the Auto Buggy. With this machine, farmers were able to haul their goods to the markets.
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