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Is this the first stripper header?
The harvesting world has been turned on its ear by the new Shelbourne Reynolds strip-per combine that strips grain heads off stalks without the use of a cutterbar. But is it really a new idea? According to the Australian magazine POWER FARMING, the first combine stripper was actually developed way back in 1842 by Australian inventor John Wrathall Bull.
Unlike the earliest reapers developed in Britain in the 1820's, which had cutterbars similar to those still in use today, Bull's stripper had a stripping comb with long teeth and a reel on which were mounted four beaters, ground-driven through a series of cogs and belts. The heads were gathered by the comb, beaten and stripped of grain. The grain flew tip into an enclosed chamber which, when full, was emptied.
The stripping comb design used in that first combine was around in various forms in Australia for many years after that, including a stripper harvester developed by James Mellor, another Australian, in 1857. In 1923, the stripper was incorporated into a self-propelled harvester that competed with cutterbar-type machines.
Eventually the stripper-type machines lost out in the competition with other machines but there are still a few rare models of these early strippers on display in agricultural museums in Australia.
(Excerpted from a report by Frances Wheelhouse in POWER FARMING)


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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #6