First Reaping Machine Made In Carroll County

By Staff

The first reaping machine in America was built in 1809 and
tested on a farm between New Windsor and Union Bridge, on Route 75
in 1811 by Jacob R. Thomas during the late summer, but because it
did not work quite right on the first trial the project was
abandoned by the inventor.

The idea was later picked up by Obed R. Hussey, a cousin of
Thomas, who was an early pioneer in the manufacture of reaping
machines, and later incorporated by Cyrus McCormack, who was
credited by history with inventing the first reaping machine.

Information supplied By the Historical Society of Carroll County
shows that Thomas had invented an attachment to gather the cut
grain into sheaves and that when it was tested it had to be pushed
through the field by men.

Three men who helped with the test, William Shephard, Randolph
Stem and Thomas Shephard, stated the machine would cut grain well,
but its delivery was not operating properly and it did not make a
very good sheaf.

Thomas was a sensitive man and as the people of the area laugh-!
ed and kidded him about his invention he gave it up and began a
flax business in Union Bridge that failed; He later moved to Point
el-Rocks, Frederick County, and was working on the invention of a
steam canal boat at the time of his death.

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