HISTORY of the GRAIN BINDER


| September/October 1955



Spokane, Wash.

Before the organization of the International Harvester Co., there were a number of independent companies manufacturing grain binders, mowers, rakes and other farm machinery. Here they are as I remember them from the old days: McCormick Co., Deering Co., Jones (Plano) Co., Walter Wood Co., Milwaukee Co., Osborn Co., Minnesota bu (Minnesota State Prison), Acme Harvester Co. All of the above were absorbed by the I. H. C. except Minnesota and Acme. The I. H. C. continued manufacturing the McCormick and the Deering machines, also the champion for some years. They finally dropped the Champion and then consolidated the McCormick and Deering and that has grown into the present I. H. C. McCormick Deering line of machines. The John Deere Company started making grain binders about 1910 and later on added other farm machines to their line. Originally John Deere manufactured only plows, discs, harrows and wagons. Deere & Weber Co., made buggies and carriages with the slogan 'Light running and durable.'

The Walter A. Wood Company turned out one of the earliest harvesting machines and the machine was made mostly of wood. One canvas carried the grain to a platform where it was bound by wire by hand. My father had one of these machines before I was born, about 1884, and he told me how a neighbor had borrowed it to harvest his grain and he got it on fire and burned it up. My dad and grandfather then had to finish their own with an old time cradle. Another type of harvester is the Sweep Rake. This one was another that cut the grain all right but it had to be bound in bundles by hand. Some of the machines were used for flax harvesting as late as 1906 or later. The Acme Company was the first to put the grain binding attachment on a Header, but they were soon followed by McCormick and later by Deering. These were 12 foot machines and operated by 6 horses. In giving history of machines I give only of the ones used west of the Mississippi River, no doubt they had and used machines back east that I never heard about.

With the consolidation of several machine companies into the Rumley Products Company, and the Emerson Brantingham Company, some of the old harvesters were given a new birth, but I have not kept track of them.

John Bushnell, Chicago, Illinois, is a very famous man in the harvester world. He was president of the Champion Harvester Company, Chicago. He is also (according to Ripley) the father of the only SEXTUPLETS ever born in the U. S. A., a real Champion. There have been no great changes in the modern grain binder from the ones 50 years ago, except improved material in the construction, ball and roller bearings for lighter draft, all steel chains and open elevators for very tall grain straw. A 1900 standard Deering grain binder would do a better job in all kinds of grain than anything built in the past 50 years. Deering started off with the old William Deering and although a good machine in its day it was a heavy clumsy machine with too many heavy cog wheels and a horse killer on the draft. Next Deering came out with a 'Pony' and while this one looked good it was pretty much of a lemon and in a wet field the drive or Bull wheel became a skid. It was just about useless unless the field and grain were in perfect condition. So Deering took the best parts of the Pony and the William and used malleable casting instead of the old heavy stuff.

They used the cutting bar and elevator of the William, and most of binding parts of Pony and called it the Standard and that is what it is in my book. Seventy per cent of the present day binders are copied from the Deering Standard. The Standard had the canvas slatted butter that always made a nearly perfect bundle and none of the moderns can do this.