1931 Cyrus McCormick - International Harvester Centennial of the Reaper Medal
Purpose: To celebrate 100th anniversary of Cyrus Hall McCormick's invention of reaper, "first successful attempt at mechanized agriculture."
History: McCormick born Feb. 15, 1809, on family farm, Walnut Grove, Rockbridge Co., VA. At age 22, July 1831, in small field near Steele's Tavern, VA, he publicly proved success of machine built in farm forge; patented 1834; "first real sales" 1840. Moving to Chicago 1847, McCormick in next 10 years took first steps ever in U.S. industry toward standardization and mass production, broad product guarantees with first concept of service and extensive credit sales; concurrently established European market.
In 1831, 80% of all employed persons in U.S. worked on farms. Reaper triggered "Golden Age" of invention of farm tools and equipment; inspired and permitted westward expansion by railroads to haul surplus grains grown for first time; released men from farms for general development of industry and for vital Civil War army service. Century later, following evolvement of reaper into twine-binder, then into harvester-thresher, one man and machines did work of 34 men; prairie states had become "granary of world."
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