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History Tractors Combine harvesters Soil preparation machinery
c. 50 In his “Naturalis historica” Gaius Plinius (23 – 79 AD) from Rome describes a reaping machine: a box on a chassis pushed by donkeys. On the front of the box there were iron teeth which broke off the ears of corn; the ears accumulated in the box
A copy of the machine, made using pictures from the ancient world, was fully functional!
1799 The first verifiable patent for a reaping machine is granted to the English inventor Joseph Boyce
In Scotland the Revd Patrick Bell invents the reaping machine which works on the scissor principle still used today
Bell&ndashreaping machine 1826
Bell–reaping machine 1826
In Steelte’s Tavern (Virginia, USA) blacksmith Cyrus Hall McCormick introduces the first corn reaper in the world under the name of the “Virginia Reaper”
McCormick’s Virginia Reaper, USA around 1850
McCormick’s Virginia Reaper, USA around 1850
1835 The first combine harvester is patented in the USA: Hiram Moore develops a machine that is capable of mowing, threshing and winnowing. Width of cut: 4.60 m
1841 In England Alexander Dean builds the first threshing machine powered by steam
1855 Production of the “Virginia Reaper” begins in England
1856 The first corn reaper is imported into Germany from England
1857 John F. Appleby from Wisconsin (USA) invents the twine binder (knotter)
1860 The first combine harvesters with a cutting width of several metres come into use in the USA: they are drawn by up to 30 horses
1872 The Deering company (Chicago, USA) builds the first reaper–binder
1886 onwards
The first trials using self–propelling combine harvesters in the USA
McCormick self–propelling combine harvesters, around 1900
McCormick self–propelling combine harvesters, around 1900
1889 500 combine harvesters (horse–drawn) are in use in California
1900 The Fahr company builds the first German reaper for a harnessed team with a manual grain storage system
1911 The Holt Company of Stockton uses the first combustion engines in combine harvesters
In Germany the International Harvester Company mbH in Neuss am Rhein begins mass producing grain reapers
1922 Massey–Harris (USA) uses a combustion engine to power its combine harvester
1923 In Germany August Claas invents the knotting hook with an upper lip for binding sheaves securely
1927–32 15 American combine harvesters are tested on German fields. Conclusion: the machines will have to be modified for use in Europe
First reaper–binder with power take–off drive made by Krupp
Mähbinder with power take–off drive, Krupp 1927
reaper–binder, Krupp 1927
1931 The Deutsche Industriewerke company in Berlin–Spandau construct the first combine harvester to suit conditions in Germany (FATH construction)
1935 The Massey–Harris company (USA) builds the first self–propelling combine harvesters with combustion engines
The first reaper–thresher–binder (MDB) is brought onto the market by the Claas company from Germany. It is drawn by a tractor and designed specifically for Europe and its low–growing, very dense cereal crops
traktorgezogener Claas MDB mit Zapfwellenantrieb um 1940
Claas MDB with power take–off drive drawn by a tractor, around 1940
The Fahr company introduces the MD–1 – the first free cutting self–propelled harvester – onto the German market (driven by a diesel engine, cutting width 2.10 m)
SelbstfahrCombine harvesters Fahr MD–1 Prototyp 1951
self–propelled harvester Fahr MD–1 prototype 1951
1960 Lely–Dechentreiter introduces the first fold–away cutter bar (for driving on roads)

Other later information from the history of combine harvesters cannot be explicitly ascribed to any one manufacturer