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Cyrus Hall McCormick Essay Research Paper The

Cyrus Hall McCormick Essay, Research Paper

The mechanical reaper. A time-saving invention which allowed farmers

to more than double their crop size while at the same time spurring

other innovations in farm machinery. This reaper, which combined all

the steps that earlier harvesting machines had performed separately, was

the brilliant innovation of a man, a man named Cyrus Hall McCormick.

Born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Cyrus was son to a man who’s

imagination also boggled with new inventions. As a child, Cyrus

experimented with different tools in hopes of inventing something which

would simplify his father’s job. Finally, in 1831, he built his first

reaper. Succeeding where his father had failed, Cyrus made some

adjustments to his machine before patenting his invention in 1834. At

around the same time (1833), a man by the name of Obed Hussey announced

a the construction of a reaper of his own.

The year was 1840, and by this time, McCormick had started to

manufacture his creation and sold it for the first time in Virginia.

The reaper’s marketing did very well, and it’s sales had expanded to

other parts of the United States by 1844. Because of it’s efficiency,

the horse-drawn reaper allowed farmers to harvest five times the regular

2 acre per day amount that skilled workers used to harvest.

In 1847, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company was moved to Chicago.

Location, ease of distribution, and reputation were all factors which

convinced McCormick that Chicago was the place for him. “Centrally

located in the Midwest, he used the Great Lakes to transport reapers to

the East, and the Mississippi River to transport to the South.”* What

more, as industries grew in the Windy City, Chicago soon turned into a

major railroad central in the 1850’s. This added to the distribution

potential which McCormick needed to ship his reapers out to other parts

of the US.

The company’s success thrived under the name McCormick Harvesting

Machine Company until McCormick’s death in 1884. By this time,

McCormick’s company had grown to become one of greatest industrial

establishments in the United States. Chicago newspapers were bragging

about his success and other companies awed at the pace of development.

Shortly after his death, the company had a “face-lift.” It’s name

changed to the International Harvester, and sales slowed down from it’s

initial boom. In 1907, the company produced the Auto Buggy. With this

machine, farmers were able to haul their goods to the markets. Less

then ten years later, the International Harvester also produced the

country’s first school bus. Thus, started to revolutionize the trucking


In the 1950’s, International Harvester experienced a period of growth

like never before. A huge demand for trucks was needed as the country’s

interstate system broke in. Trucking became the choice transportation

for manufacturers and large companies. Transportation by shipment was

not only a more reliable source, but also cheaper. This new source also

created an unbelievable amount of new jobs as well.

As this new fad (of shipment) caught on, International Harvester didn’t

see a need for the production of farming and agricultural machinery

anymore. Focusing on it’s core business-truck manufacturing-the company

combined its truck and engine operations together under the parent name

of Navistar in 1986. Its agricultural and constructing divisions were

sold to other companies.

Today, Navistar encompasses six primary areas: Heavy Trucks, Medium

Trucks, School Buses, Engine and Foundry, Parts, and Navistar Financial

Corporation. Navistar has approximately 15,000 employees in more than

40 locations worldwide. It’s world headquarters is still located in

Chicago, though (NBC Tower).



Navistar Home Page: www.navistar.com

National Inventor’s Hall of Fame: www.invent.org


World Book Encyclopedia v.14 “McCormick, Cyrus” 1990


School’s History Book


“Time” 34A0615

“Forbes” 33V1684