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Obed Hussey Who, of All Inventors, Made Bread Cheap

[Illustration: Hussey's American Reaper]

OBED HUSSEY

WHO, OF ALL INVENTORS, MADE BREAD CHEAP

Being a true record of his life and struggles to introduce his greatest invention, the reaper, and its success, as gathered from pamphlets published heretofore by some of his friends and associates, and reprinted in this volume, together with some additional facts and testimonials from other sources.

EDITED BY FOLLETT L. GREENO

1912

COPYRIGHTED 1912 BY FOLLETT L. GREENO

PREFACE

Every step in the progress of modern achievement has been met with strong resistance and hostile contest. There is in business an actual firing line where continuous conflict wages, and so fierce does the struggle become that it requires a certain class of men possessing qualities, not only of energy and perseverance, but of tenacity and combativeness, aggressive and determined to fight to the last ditch for commercial supremacy. Such men do not always rely upon the merits of their cause, nor do they stop to question the justice or injustice of their methods. They have but one goal, commercial supremacy, and every effort is bent and every man and method utilized to attain that end.

Men of inventive genius are rarely of that type. They are more often unassuming and averse to anything like a personal combat. Such a man was Obed Hussey, inventor of the reaper. Honest and conscientious, enured to hard and unremitting toil, with the inspiration of a new idea for the benefit of mankind burning in his brain, he applied himself in the face of immense difficulties to the production and perfection of the great gift which he gave to the world. He was a man at once so humble and so broad in his kindness, so loyal to his Quaker ideals of righteousness and justice, that he offered no protests, or arguments against his rivals and opponents other than the superiority of his own machine. Only his great genius which produced the superior machine (a fact which no one could possibly contradict) could have saved him from the fierce opposition of his more powerful rivals. One has only to read from some of his own letters reproduced in this narrative, to witness the fairness of his attitude, or to gain a knowledge of his scruples.

Yet it was just this which has operated to deprive Obed Hussey of his well deserved fame as inventor of the reaper. Moreover, a great industry, fostered by his opponents in the patent controversy, has grown up, the basis and life of which is Obed Hussey's invention of the reaper. It would seem that the vast fortunes made from this industry should be ample reward for those who are receiving the benefits of a man's life work without whose genius it would never have been.

In 1897 there was published in Chicago a booklet entitled "A Brief Narrative of the Invention of Reaping Machines," a large part of which is reproduced in this book. The pamphlets of which the narrative was a republication were from the pen of Edward Stabler, an able man and a mechanic of great skill and ability, a close friend of Mr. Hussey and one familiar with his reaper and with all the facts which he set forth in these articles. Such other facts and information as are published herein were furnished by Martha Hussey, daughter of Mr. Hussey, now living and by my uncle, Hon. Alexander B. Lamberton, who married Mr. Hussey's widow. Mr. Lamberton is a man of high standing, having for many years taken an active part in the affairs of Rochester. He was President of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, 1901-1904 (three successive terms), and has been President of the Rochester Park Board for the past eleven years. He also won national fame as a hunter and naturalist and was President of the National Association for the Protection of Fish and Game. His relation to the Hussey family has made him conversant with the whole history of the invention of the reaper and of Mr. Hussey's early struggles.


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