"Geo. Esterly's combined reaper and mower ... is pronounced in all respects the best two-horse combined machine manufactured. The excellence of their work, their lightness of draft, freedom from side-draft, east of management, their durability, and the fact that they seldom get out of order and cost literally nothing for repairs, places them at the head of all reapers in the estimation of all who have tried them and know their good qualities." –The Whitewater Register, July 8, 1864.
George Esterly, 1809-1893. Esterly's influence spread beyond his adopted state: In 1884, the residents of a settlement in what is now South Dakota selected the name Esterly "in honor of the Esterly Harvester and Binder, which is very popular in that section, and is looked upon by the farmers as their best friend." –Whitewater Register, Aug. 14, 1884.
As the Esterly company grew, the east side of Whitewater – home to many Esterly employees – became known as "Reaperville." At the peak of the company's prosperity, the plant occupied 12 buildings on 5 acres and employed 500.
The gold medal awarded to George Esterly in 1848 for his harvester. Also competing at that event: C.H. McCormick.
Rear view of the complete harvester, as shown in Esterly trade literature.
The Esterly enclosed gear mower, designed to eliminate side-draft.
The implement seat (one of about 15 Esterly seat designs) shows the same detail as seen in Esterly promotional material.
An illustration from Esterly promotional material. The illustration provides a close-up of the Esterly sliding seat, which helped balance the weight on the horses' necks.