McCormick No. 101 Self-Propelled Combine Still Working
New York family puts classic McCormick No. 101 self-propelled combine to work on Greece, N.Y. farm
The Ryan family's No. 101 (right side view) is clad in its original paint and decals.
Ryan Farms had been looking for a small, self-propelled combine for use in their Greece, N.Y., farming operation. An upcoming auction bill listed a McCormick No. 101 self-propelled combine, perfect for the Ryans' grain harvesting needs, especially since the family prefers International Harvester machinery.
The McCormick 101 self-propelled combines had earned a reputation as being solid workers with a dependable record over nearly 40 years. The Ryans – Mark and "Doc" – made plans to attend the auction.
As often happens in the farming business, though, time got away from Mark as he hurried to finish planting a 10-acre parcel of sweet corn. By the time he arrived at the auction, the combine had been sold. Mark tracked down the successful bidder and looked him up. The combine's engine, the man said, was all he was after.
It was, Mark thought, a double opportunity. After persuading the buyer to sell, Mark was able to save the No. 101 from losing its engine, and, at the same time, obtain the combine he and his dad had been after. For $400, Mark purchased the combine before the buyer even got a chance to move it from the auction site.
Driving the combine from Byron, N.Y., to Ryan Farms in Greece, N.Y., took Mark more than four hours. The 12-foot head made driving the combine along rural and suburban roads challenging, to say the least. But the trip was worth it: When the Ryans got their hands on the combine, they found a machine that had had very little use, and was still dressed in its original factory paint and decals.
Still, memory of that interminable drive generates a laugh for Doc: Mark drove the entire way in low range gear because he didn't know the 101 had a faster, high range setting.
The famous No. 101 Harvester Threshers were first built in 1956. Farmers quickly fell in love with these great machines that were once advertised as having "harvest hurrying capacity." Factory ads boasted about the No. 101:
"Helps you avoid field and weather losses. Steady, even feeding to the big positive-driven rasp bar. Cylinders give clean, positive threshing, and it's unmatched for field shelling of corn with easily-mounted corn head. Precise, easy-to-make outside adjustments speed the change from small grain to larger seed to beans, and then to com. Attachments to meet every harvest need."
It was a popular combine with production running until 1961, when the No. 303 self-propelled combine was introduced, replacing the 101.