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Knife Grinders - 1860-1879

Grind Stone for Mowing Machine Knives

It is an awkward thing to grind mowing machine knives on a common grind stone, yet, one may be easily dressed so as to be very convenient for this purpose, and yet not seriously injured for most other uses. The accompanying engraving shows a stone which has had the original edges taken off and brought to a V shaped edge, giving two grinding faces. The exact angle between these faces is immaterial; one of 45 degrees is convenient. Care must be taken not to grind too much on the edge of the stone, or it will soon be rounded off and the angle will be lost. The best stones for this purpose are rather narrow ones, of a firm, but not hard texture, with sharp grit and even quality. Be careful in grinding, not to widen the bevel of the knives, as this gives a weaker edge, dulling quicker, and more liable to injury from striking stones or sticks. --- From the American Agriculturist, 1886.

Portable Grinding Machine for Harvester Knives

Mowing and harvesting machines are now so extensively used that any device that renders them more useful and easier of application is advantageous to the farmer. Grinding the knives or cutters of these machines is a work requiring time and labor, neither of which can be well spared at just the time when the sharpening is most needed - the period of gathering the crops. To remove the cutter bar, leave the machine idle in the field, and go to the barn to grind the knives, requiring the services of a man and a boy, is quite vexatious. The accompanying engraving shows a portable machine that may be carried to the field on the mower or harvester, ready at all times for use. A frame supports a sliding carriage, on which is mounted a grind stone, having a gear wheel on its shaft, engaging with a similar wheel, the shaft of which has a crank for giving motion to the stone and its parts. The bearings of the crankshaft are in a vibrating frame, pivoted to the bed plate of the machine. It will therefor be seen that by turning the crank, not only is the stone revolved, but, it and all connected with it on the sliding frame, are moved backward and forward. The knives to be ground are seated on a guide fixed to the frame at the prper angle to insure the right bevel to the edge of the blade, and held in position by the cutter bar sliding in a corresponding groove in the guide. The face of the stone is razed to a double bevel so that one side of the two blades is ground simultaneously. The reciprocating movement of the stone ensures the even grinding of the blades from root to point, and keeps the stone from wearing out of shape. The two matching gears of the drive are odd and even, so that no one place on the stone is presented to the blades in two successive revolutions. The whole machine can be easily carried by one man, and it requires but one person to operate it. The machine was patented Jan 19, 1869, by Milton Fowks. --- From the Scientific American, 1869.

Machine for grinding the cutters of mowing machines and reapers

A hand cranked portable grinder, resembling a breast drill was patented by Anson Thayer, of Syracuse, New York, Nov 16, 1869. The beveled wheel ground a single edge of one section at a time, with the operator positioned behind the cutter bar. The tool was turned over to grind the opposite side, requiring that the operator be ambidextrous. An adjustable guide was provided to maintain the proper angle while grinding.

Hand Grinders for Reaper Teeth

Another early hand grinder, patented Oct 24, 1871 by Henry Fisk, of Wellsville, New York, featured a horizontal grinding wheel and reversable gearing.

The Rhomboidal Harvester Sharpener

Advertised in the 1876 American Agriculturist, The Rhomboidal Harvester Sharpener was deemed a cheap and effectual instrument for sharpening the knives of reapers and mowers. It sold for 30 cents postpaid, by Youse, Ashton & Welsey, of Bryan, Ohio.

Farmers' Favorite
emory grinder for mowers & reapers

"The only practical sharpener in the market. Even bevels and perfect cutting edges insured. Saves three fourths of the time and labor of grinding, and reduces wear and tear upon the mowing machine. Only one person required to operate it. It has received the highest award of the New England and other agricultural societies, wherever exhibited, and is endorsed by hundreds of prominent farmers."

Wood Manufacturing Co., 12 Front St., Worcester, Mass

From the American Agriculturist, 1879.

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Last updated 11/27/96, © 1996 by Greybird Publishing, Taneytown, MD.