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      Tractor: Tractor: The Inventor - JEROME INCREASE CASE
    Posted on Tuesday, October 19 @ 12:06:45 UTC by Cars
      Tractor JEROME INCREASE CASE (1819-1891) Jerome Increase Case founded the J. I, Case Company in Racine, Wisconsin in 1842 and soon gained recognition as the first builder of a steam engine for agricultural use. During his tenure as president of the company, it manufactured more threshing machines and steam engines than any other company in history. In addition to his innate talents as an inventor and manufacturer. Case also took an interest in politics and finance. He was made mayor of Racine, serving for three terms, and he was also returned as state senator for the Racine area for two terms.

    He was the incorporator and president of the Manufacturer's National Bank of Racine and founder of the First National Bank of Burlington (Wisconsin). Case also founded the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, was president of the Racine County Agricultural Society and president of the Wisconsin Agricultural Society. He was often referred to in manufacturing and agricultural circles as the "Threshing Macliine King". Case received a different kind of recognition as the owner of "Jay-Eye-See" (the phonetic rendering of his initials) - a black gelding racehorse acknowledged as the world's all-time champion trotter-pacer. At an early age, Jerome Case is said to have been inspired by an article in an agricultural newspaper about a new machine that would thresh wheat. For the farmer of the early 19th century, little had changed since biblical times: he cut wheat with a scythe, threshed it by hand with a flail and winnowed the grain from the chaff by tossing it in the air. It was back-breaking and time-consuming work. Each worker could thresh only six or seven bushels a day, thereby creating a bottleneck that prevented farmers from expanding the size and productivity of their holdings. Manpower in this period in the United States was relatively scarce. In 1820, the year after Case's birth, the population was about 5.5 million, although this figure did not include slaves. The further west one travelled the fewer people there were, so that farmers on the frontiers could count on little more than their own families as their workforce, which was one reason why farm families tended to be large. Case was born and lived during a pivotal period for Americans, when the technological achievements of the Industrial Revolution were underpinning the expansion of the United States. He was to become a part of this process, along with other innovators such as Cyrus McCormick and Eli Whitney whose inventions transformed American agriculture. By applying ingenuity and technology to farming, these men so raised production levels that North America would become the breadbasket of the world. Case began his business by refining a crude threshing machine in Rochester, Wisconsin; soon afterwards he moved to Racine to take advantage of the area's plentiful supply of water to power his machines. By 1847 he had constructed the three-storey premises which became the centre of his agricultural machinery business. At this time a horse-driven J. I. Case threshing machine retailed at between $290 and $350. Case's business prospered to the extent that by 1848 it became, and remains, the largest employer in Racine. As the business grew, Case continued to develop his threshing machines. In 1852 he wrote to his wife after demonstrating one of them to a group of farmers, "All were united in saying that if the machine could thrash 200 bushels in a day it could not be equalled by any in the country." In the afternoon of the demonstration he hitched up the horses and, in half a day, "thrashed and cleaned 177 bushels of wheat". By 1862 Case's threshers were much improved and a system known as the "Mounted Woodbury" was employed to power them. Horses were hitched in pairs to long levers that looked like huge spokes on a horizontally positioned wheel. The driver stood on a central platform to drive the horses and the power they generated was carried through a set of gears to long rods that drove the gears of the thresher. One machine so equipped was the Sweepstakes thresher - the first of Cases's named threshers - a machine capable of threshing up to 300 bushels a day. In 1863 Jerome Case formed a partnership, J. I. Case and Company, with Massena Erskine, Robert Baker and Stephen Bull. Two years later the firm adopted Old Abe as its mascot. Old Abe was a bald eagle that had been the mascot of Company C of the 8th Wisconsin Regiment during the American Civil War. In this year the Eclipse thresher was introduced. This was a further improved version of the earlier models, designed to provide a cleaner separation of grain and straw and cope with larger capacities of wheat. Steam power was the next major innovation to be embraced by J. I. Case and Company. The first Case steam engine was constructed in 1869 and was the first of approximately 36,000 to be built. The early models were stationary engines, mounted on a chassis and pulled by horses. The engine was used simply to provide power for belt-driven implements such as threshers. By 1876 the company was building self-propelled steam traction engines, one of which won a Gold Medal for Excellence at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. In this year the company sold 75 steam engines and in the following year increased this figure to 109. In 1878 steam engine sales more than doubled and in that year Case's first export sale was made at the Paris Exposition. In 1880 the J. I. Case and Company partnership was dissolved and the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company was incorporated in its place. Refinements to the line of threshers were being made continually and in 1880 the much refined Agitator thresher was introduced, using an improved method of horse propulsion, namely the "Dingee Sweep" horse power. The company diversified into the manufacture of steam engines to power sawmills. A story from 1884 gives an indication of Jerome Case's character. The company had sold a thresher to a Minnesota farmer and it was in need of repairs which the local dealer and a mechanic were unable to carry out. Jerome Case himself travelled to the farm to inspect the disabled thresher. A crowd, surprised by his visit and the distance he had travelled, watched as he attempted to repair the machine. He was unable to remedy the fault and was so concerned that a defective machine had left his factory that he burned the thresher to the ground. The following day a brand new Case thresher was delivered to the farm. In 1885 Case, by now the largest steam engine maker in the world, looked towards the growing South American market and appointed a distributor for its west coast. This was followed by the opening of a Buenos Aires office in 1890. Jerome Case died in 1891 and his brother-in-law, Stephen Bull, became the company's president. In his lifetime Jerome Case had made an invaluable contribution to the mechanizing of agriculture and a line of farm machinery Case IH still bears his name to this day. The International Harvester Corporation was formed in 1902 through the merger of the McCormick and Deering companies. However, Cyrus McCormick's involvement with agriculture had begun in Rockbridge County, Virginia in 1831, when he demonstrated his grain reaper which was an improvement on ideas tried earlier by his father, Robert McCormick. Cyrus McCormick had patented his reaper by 1834 and sold one by 1840. It was a major step in the mechanization of the grain-harvesting process. The mechanical reaper obviated the need for endless hours of scything and trebled the output of even the best farm labourer with a scythe. The new machines meant that productivity could be increased massively. Having proven the reaper in Virginia, Cyrus McCormick moved west because, like Jerome Case and John Deere, he was aware of the potentially massive agricultural market on the prairies. McCormick established a plant to manufacture reapers in Chicago, Illinois in 1847. Production was soon under way and McCormick's brothers, Leander and William, joined him in the blossoming business. The demand for reapers ensured that the company flourished and the brothers prospered. William died in 1865 and in 1871 the company's plant was burned down. The firm struggled as a result of this catastrophe but, despite a financial loss, built a new factory on a larger site. In 1879 the company was incorporated as the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. Cyrus was the second brother to die, in 1884. Six years later Nancy McCormick, his widow, and his son Cyrus Jr, bought the shares held by Leander McCormick. Cyrus Jr went on to head the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company successfully for several years. The company had a policy of buying patents that appeared to have potential, as well as making developments of its own, and so held its own against rival companies. The biggest rival faced by the McCormick concern was the Deering Harvester Company. As recently as 1870 William Deering, a successful businessman from Maine, had invested in the company which made the Marsh Harvester, a forerunner of the corn binder, patented by the brothers Charles and William Marsh in Illinois in 1858. The company prospered and by 1880 William Deering had become the owner of what was now known as the Deering Harvester Company. As the years went by the two companies became embroiled in a sales war. Deering tried to sell his company to McCormick in 1897 but no agreement could be reached. Five years later a merger plan was worked out that combined the assets of both McCormick and Deering as well as some smaller companies. The new company was to be known as International Harvester and was massive by the standards of the day, being estimated to be worth approximately $120 million. The new corporation set out to expand and did so considerably by exporting to much of the British Empire and beyond. A new factory was constructed in Hamilton, Ontario and other companies were purchased, including the Osborne Company, Weber Wagon Company, Aultman-Miller and the Keystone Company. This increased both the size of the operation and the number of product lines offered. As early as 1905 the company made inroads into Europe, building a plant in Norrkopping, Sweden and followed this with plants in Germany and Russia. Not for nothing had it prefixed its name with "International".
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