What Did Cyrus McCormick Invent?


Quick Answer

Cyrus McCormick is widely credited with inventing a mechanical reaper, a machine based on older Roman, British and American designs. His patent was a continuation of the work his father, Robert McCormick, started two decades earlier. A family slave, Jo Anderson, assisted Cyrus with the design.

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Full Answer

Cyrus and his brother Leander moved from their family home in Virginia to Chicago in 1847. Together, they founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company with an improved reaper design. The company merged with similar companies in 1902 to become the International Harvester Company.

Cyrus McCormick's invention was challenged a number of times by inventors such as Obed Hussey and John Henry Manny who held similar patients. Cyrus McCormick took Manny to court for patent infringement but lost the case.

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