Location: Google Books Date: 1885
This little book is a memorial to the inventor of the reaper, the machine that changed the West. His name was Robert Hall McCormick ( June 8, 1780 – July 4, 1846). Cyrus Hall McCormick Sr, the man usually credited with the invention, ( February 15, 1809 – May 13, 1884) was his son.
According to the publisher, “This book is a photo-engraved reprint of a pamphlet printed in Chicago in 1885. As it contains much valuable history, it is thought to be a suitable compliment to ” Overlooked Pages of Reaper History, Chicago, Illinois, 1897. The name of the author is not given in the original publication, but the contents show plainly an effort to establish the fact that to Robert McCormick and Leander McCormick of Virginia belongs the credit of inventing the McCormick reaper.”
J. Russell Parsons,
John F. Steward.
Chicago, Illinois, June, 1898
Following is a statement from Robert’s nephew, William:
By William S. McCormick, of Wayne County, Missouri.
My name is William S. McCormick. I am seventy-six years of age. I was born in Augusta county, Virginia.
I am intimately acquainted with the invention of the McCormick Reaper. I saw this great machine progress step by step from the unsuccessful experiment, my uncle, Robert McCormick, first tried prior to the fall of 1828 or spring of 1829, when I went to live with my uncle, Robert McCormick. This machine was a small two wheeled reaper, drawn by a horse in shafts, with stationary cutters. This failed to work and it was laid aside by my uncle.
And I was personally present when my old uncle, Robt. McCormick, the father of C. H. [Cyrus] and L. J. McCormick, first conceived the idea of his second reaping machine, subsequently patented. This was in 18291 or 1830. I myself and one Samuel Hite were the men who did the work for Robert McCormick while he invented and experimented with the machine. I know that Robt. McCormick was the sole inventor of the reaping machine. His skillful brain invented each parcel of the reaper in the order I now name:
The machine was drawn by horses in front by the standing grain. It had a master-wheel, say three feet in diameter. The sickle was vibrating and driven by a crank which got its motion from gear wheels from the main axle. The sickle was supported by projecting fingers about three inches apart. Behind this sickle there was a platform on which the grain fell, where it was swept back by the revolving horizontal reel to the sickle and cut, and was faked by a man. The reel was supported by posts at each end and was driven by a band from the main axle.
The foregoing described machine was invented solely and alone by my uncle Robert McCormick. This I know. There can be no doubt about it whatever. I was present. I lived with my uncle and worked with him on this machine. He gave his orders and they were followed by myself and other workmen. He made his suggestions and we followed them. He directed changes and we made them. I know that the conception and creation was wholly from his own brain. I never heard, his right as the ‘ inventor of this machine questioned by any one, nor did I hear any one else at that time claim any of the invention. On the contrary I know that my uncle, Robt. McCormick, claimed the invention of the machine, He was endowed with a mind skilled and inventive, and he had invented other matters.
In witness of the foregoing statement, I have. hereunto set my hand this 5th day of June, 1880.
(Signed) Wm. S. McCormick.
March 4, 1880.
Cyrus McCormick improved on the reaper built by his father and gain a patent for the machine in 1834, but he was not the inventor.