International Harvester

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Robert McCormick – grandfather

Cyrus Hall McCormick – father

Cyrus H. McCormick – son and founder of International Harvester

1816 Robert McCormick constructs a mechanical reaper that proves impractical. His son Cyrus watches his trials and becomes driven in spite of warnings from his father. A typical harvest only lasts for ten prime days and hand reaping consumes far too much time. There will never be enough manpower in the developing west with its huge fields. The short harvest period also limits testing and improving new equipment.

1831 Cyrus Hall McCormick patents an alternate furrow plow. (his first patent)

That same year, he develops a somewhat successful horse drawn mechanical reaper having a vibrating cutter, reel, platform, and divider. There are too many problems to get a patent until 1834.

1833 McCormick develops a self-sharpening plow.

1837 A severe economic panic (1837-1844 referred to as hard times) slows his efforts. Land speculation in the west, 25% unemployment, deflation, plunging commodity prices, and higher interest rates result. Andrew Jackson issues an executive order (Specie Circular) requiring western land to be purchased only with gold or silver. Transportation is also an obstacle with equipment being shipped by a combination of wagon, canal, and river boat.

1846 Cyrus Hall McCormick moves to Cincinnati.

1847 Sells 700 reapers.

Brothers Cyrus and Leander establish the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago.

1849 Now selling 2,000 reapers per year.

1867 Exhibits at the Paris Exhibition.

1871 The Great Chicago Fire destroys his factory.

A year later he has rebuilt the factory, employs 2,000 men, and sells 142,000 reapers.

1884 Cyrus Hall McCormick dies and his son Cyrus H. McCormick takes over in 1885.

1902 The McCormick Harvesting Machine Company merges with the Deering Harvester Company and several other small firms.

1908 International Harvester is listed on the New York Stock Exchange with 600,000 shares common and 600,000 shares preferred.

1909 Introduces the Auto Buggy.

1916 Begin producing school busses.

1919 International Harvester buys plow manufacturer Parlin and Orendoff of Canton, Illinois and renames it the Canton Works. Chattanooga Plow is also acquired.

1925 Chatham, Canada begins manufacturing trucks.

1926 A new plant is opened in Rock Island, Illinois to produce Farmall tractors.

The plant reaches a milestone 5 million tractors in 1974.

1933 D-40 diesel engine.

1947 The Farmall Cub is introduced.

1973 The Farmall name is dropped.

1984 Much of the agricultural division is sold to Tenneco, owner of J. I. Case.

1986 The name is changed to Navistar International Corporation producing trucks and engines.

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