He was born in "an inhouse", the McCormick family farm in EH podge Rockbridge County, Virginia,[2] in the Shenandoah Valley on the western side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His parents were Polly Hall and Robert Hall McCormick.[3] He was the oldest of eight children and his siblings included Leander J. McCormick and William Sanderson McCormick.[3] He was influenced by his father, who patented early versions of the reaper, which were unsuccessful.

[edit] Reaper

The McCormick Reaper

McCormick's father worked for 28 years on a horse-drawn reaper. However, he was not able to finish his project and stopped developing it. In 1830, when McCormick turned 21, his father gave him the deed to the reaper.[4] McCormick developed a final version of the reaper, with the help of Jo Anderson, a slave, in 18 months. The reaper was demonstrated in tests in 1831 and was patented by McCormick in 1834.[5]

In 1847 he and his brother moved to Chicago, where they established large centralized works for manufacturing agricultural implements; they were joined by their brother William in 1849. The McCormick reaper sold well, partially as a result of savvy and innovative business practices.[6] Their products came onto the market just as the development of railroads offered wide distribution to distant market areas. He developed marketing and sales techniques, developing a vast network of trained salesmen able to demonstrate operation of the machines in the field. William H. Seward said of McCormick's invention that owing to it "the line of civilization moves westward thirty miles each year." One of the company's most famous advertisement featured an epic painting by Emanuel Leutze with the slogan, “Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way with McCormick Rapers in the Van."

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