Author: William B. Harrison


“Hussey’s Reaper.” (July 12, 1841)

This article, published in 1841 in the Farmers’ Register, is an account of farmer William B. Harrison’s experiments with a mechanical reaper designed by Obed Hussey, the main competitor to the reaper invented by Robert McCormick and improved by his son Leander McCormick.  Harrison describes how enslaved laborers, or “hands,” developed ways of working with the reaper to make the process of cutting and gathering wheat more efficient by working at the more demanding speed of the reaper.