Combine Harvester Part Of Roman History 12/02/2008

In one of the first records of farming agriculture, a roman called Gaius Plinius from around the time of 79 AD, described the first ever combine harvester. In his “Naturalis historica” he wrote of a reaping machine pulled by donkeys. It consisted of a box on a chassis which the donkeys pushed. The box had iron teeth on the front which broke off the ears of corn from the stalks and collected the ears in the box. Quite remarkable technology, when you think about it, especially when you consider that when reproduced from pictures our man Plinius had drawn, the machine worked perfectly.

This combine harvester design stuck around for awhile. In 1902 we were still using horses or donkeys to pull quite large “boxes”. Back then a combine could harvest enough grain in one hour to make 10 loaves of bread. The combine was actually patented in 1834 by Hiram Moore, which funnily enough was the same year that a Mr. Cyrus McCormick was granted a patent for the mechanical reaper. Now of course, modern combines can harvest crops on nearly 50% slopes. We still owe a lot to Gaius Plinius and his first farming almanac.

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