Charles Loring Elliott, 12 Oct 1812 - 25 Aug 1868 Search this
Cyrus Hall McCormick, 15 Feb 1809 - 13 May 1884 Search this
Oil on canvas
Stretcher: 51.4 x 41.3 x 3.8cm (20 1/4 x 16 1/4 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 59.7 x 49.5 x 6.7cm (23 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 2 5/8")
mid 19th Century
Territorial expansion generated a spirit of technological adventure and a search for new methods to handle the unique conditions of American life. Cyrus McCormick, a farmer in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, succeeded where his father had failed by constructing the first practical reaping machine. This reaper was a first step in the mechanization of American agriculture, allowing the efficient cultivation of large tracts of farmland by small numbers of farmers. This industrialization of the land allowed the United States to boost agricultural production to unprecedented levels and to feed growing cities and industrial towns.
McCormick's design was pirated by competitors, but he overcame his rivals by founding his own factory outside Chicago in 1847. There, he contributed to the pace of industrial growth by using standardized parts and assembly-line production-methods that had been pioneered by Samuel Colt and others.
(Miss Eunice Chambers, Hartsville, South Carolina), 1965. R. Philip Hanes, Jr., Winston-Salem, North Carolina; acquired through exchange by Howard Hack, San Francisco; acquired 1975 by NPG through funding by Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, Chicago.