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early farm machine drawn by draft animals or tractor and used to harvest grain. Its historical predecessors were the sickle and the cradle scythe, which are still used in some parts of the world. The earliest known reaper using animal power was described by Pliny the Elder as used in Gaul. It was pushed by an ox and consisted of a box on two wheels with a comb projecting from the front of the box. The heads of the grain were torn off by the comb and fell into the box. Modern attempts to make reaping machines began in England, where the first patent was issued (1799). The first reaper to win general acceptance was made by American inventor Cyrus McCormickMcCormick, Cyrus Hall,
1809–84, inventor of the reaper, b. Rockbridge co., Va. His father, Robert McCormick (1780–1846), had worked intermittently for over 20 years at his blacksmith shop on a reaping machine, but had given it up before Cyrus, his eldest son, began
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 in 1831. The grain cut by this reaper fell on a platform, from which it was raked by a person walking beside the machine. A number of improved reapers were developed later. The combinecombine
, agricultural machine that performs both harvesting and threshing operations. Although it was not widely used until the 1930s, the combine was in existence as early as 1830.
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, which threshes the grain as it is reaped, has virtually replaced the reaper, although a self-raking type is still in limited use. The mowermower,
farm machine used for cutting grasses and other hay crops. Mowers, drawn by or attached to tractors, or self-propelled, have superseded scythes. The mower is essentially an adaptation of the much earlier reaper. The first commercial mower was patented in 1847.
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, used for cutting hay, was developed from the reaper in the 19th cent.


See C. McCormick, The Century of the Reaper (1931, repr. 1971).

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the grim reaper death
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A prowler that GFRs files. A file removed in this way is said to have been "reaped".
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