The reaping of crops was done to harvest them. It means to cut and gather the crops, such as corn ears or grain stalks. It is believed that the Romans had developed a simple mechanical reaper for cutting off the useful part of a crop but that invention was lost.
In the early 19th century efforts were made to develop a mean of mechanizing the harvesting of crops. The first efforts were made in Europe were two mechanical devices were developed.
In the United States two reapers were developed the Hussey reaper by Oded Hussey and the McCormick Reaper by Robert and then Cyrus McCormick. Robert McCormick who lived in Walnut Grove Virginia began the development of the reaper, but when he became frustrated with its performance he let his son Cyrus finish the design. Cyrus received a patent on his design in 1834 as a horse drawn farm implement to cut small grain crops. The reaper had a main wheel frame. It would cut the standing grain and swept it into a platform and then moved into piles by the men working the reaper.
The McCormick Reaper and the Hussey Reaper competed over the next 20 years for customers. In 1850 McCormick purchased the rights to a key aspect of the Hussey reaper and cutter bar that cut the stalks more effectively. From that point on the McCormick reaper dominated the market and help revolutionize the harvest of crops. The McCormick reaper was part of a revolution in farming that took place during the 19th century that mechanized the profession of farming. The McCormick Company continues to produce farming equipment today.