The next step in the evolution of grain cutting was the self-rake reaper, such as this McCormick gear-drive Daisy reaper, which had a series of arms that swept the cut grain from the quarter-circle platform into gavels, which still had to be hand tied.
A McCormick-Deering grain binder, similar to the one we used on our farm when I was a kid, at work in oats. The grain binder not only cut the grain, but also automatically tied the gavels into sheaves. In this 2006 photo Tommy Flowers, Blackville, S.C., works with his Brabant Belgian horses (Rocky, since deceased, is shown on the off side; Bulah on the near).
Cutting grain with an early McCormick reaper in Holland. The cut grain was laid back on the platform by the reel and then raked off by hand into gavels by the man walking alongside. This was one of the first steps in mechanical grain harvesting. (This information is possibly inaccurate, as Harold Sohner, Fredericksburg, Texas, wrote in a letter to Farm Collector, "This photo was taken by International Harvester in 1909 on a farm just west of Chicago and it is of a replica of the original 1831 McCormick reaper. ... A series of photographs were taken at the same location and at the same time showing the reaper replica in different working configuration. The photo in question, sometimes altered to remove the windmill, can be found in a number of books and publications of the era.")
From The American Thresherman, May 1925
A grain binder in transport mode and on the road.
From a 1904 Adriance, Platt & Co. catalog
A man sharpening his cradle scythe while cutting wheat. The fingers on the cradle caught the stalks; a skilled cradler could put enough cut stalks on top of the stubble to make a sheaf. This gavel of grain stalks was then gathered up and tied into a sheaf with a few wisps of grain before being stood up into shocks, or stooks as they were sometimes called.