Memories of 1876

| March/April 1976

The latest in products for the farm, shown at the International Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, look quite antiquated today but a lot of people enjoy reading about them and looking at pictures of them. How will our most 'modern' tractors and other pieces of farm machinery look to the people of 2076?

We're reminiscing again, through the aid of a book titled 'The Centennial Exposition', by J. S. Ingram.

Talking about agricultural machinery, Ingram wrote that there was a profusion of superior products on view. He wrote on: 'Most prominent amid all this array of practical beauty were the reapers and mowers, which, more than anything else perhaps, signalize agricultural progress. It is only a few years since the sickle was seen in every grain field, and with its slow and toilsome results each farmer had to be content. When the cradle came it seemed as if the climax had been attained, and the man who could cut three or four acres of wheat in a day, laying it in fair shape for the binder who followed, was doing good work. But the cradle and hand-rake gave way to the reaper and self-raker, and these, year by year, improved and perfected, make of harvest time little more than a holiday. There remains for further accomplishment in this direction only the automatic binder, already a success, and sure to reach perfection in the near future.

The reaper is peculiarly an American machine. As manufactured here it is confessedly superior to the same implement made in Europe, proof of which statement is found in the fact that American reapers are sold in all countries of the world, and are favorites in England and on the continent -when operated in direct competition with machines there produced.'

A 100 per cent American booster, Ingram continued: 'American genius first invented the perfect reaper, and only in America, with American material, by American skill, can it be most perfectly manufactured. As here made, in the light yet durable manner which characterizes all American machinery as contrasted with that construction abroad, it is the acme of utility, and everywhere bears off the palm.'

An illustration showed the improved reaper and mower combined, exhibited by the Johnston Harvester Co. of Brockport, New York.