First Self-Propelled Combine - 2007
Dedication Year: 2007
Location: Tulare County Museum, Visalia, CA
Plaque Wording: George Stockton Berry (1847-1917) of Lindsay,
Tulare County, California designed, built, and in 1886, operated
the first self-propelled combine. He was granted a U.S. Patent (#
374,339) in1887. The Berry design embodied the following
1. Self-propelled combine.
2. Combine powered by a straw-burning steam boiler - it was
"fueled from the land".
3. Tractor that traveled forward for plowing and in the reverse
direction for harvesting.
4. Traction engine with power turning, using differential gears
instead of conventional wheel clutches.
5. "Power Take-Off", using steam from the traction engine boiler
to power an independent engine that drove the harvesting
In 1888, equipped with a 40 feet header, and using nighttime
lighting, one of Berry's combines harvested more than 100 acres per
day. Berry built six such machines, establishing the advantages of
enhanced performance, reduced costs and good maneuverability for
large, self-propelled combines. Many features of these machines
were adopted by West Coast manufacturers after Berry went into
politics, and have influenced design of later combines, both
self‑propelled and towed.