The three most prevalent horsedrawn mowers of the last hundred years, still popular today, are the John Deere 4, and McCormick 7 & 9 models. These were designed and built for the first half of the twentieth century and featured many design improvements. But we forget that before those good machines appeared there were many excellent makes and models. In this article we look at the trade information McD put out on the Vertical Lift and No. 4 mowers. And yes, Thadeus, those were the factory colors. LRM
Agriculturists throughout the world have long placed well-merited confidence in the McCormick line of mowers. Excellent material, combined with perfect design and splendid construction, make the McCormick mowers not only light in draft, but also exceedingly durable machines. In the following pages the different McCormick mowers are shown complete and in detail, accompanied by a brief description of each machine and its constituent parts.
McCormick Vertical Lift Mower
The McCormick Vertical Lift mower, a view of which is presented herewith, is specially designed for cutting on rough and stumpy ground, but is also well adapted for general use. This machine combines all the essential features of the most perfect grass-cutting machine. By virtue of its achievements on rough and uneven fields, as well as on smooth and level meadowlands, the Vertical Lift mower is generally recognized as being the best all-purpose mowing machine manufactured. The McCormick is equipped with devices by means of which the cutter-bar can be raised to a vertical position and lowered by the driver, the machine being thrown in and out of gear automatically without stopping the team. This form of construction is found invaluable, as it enables the operator of the McCormick Vertical Lift to cut close up to a tree, stump, or rock, and save all the hay without any loss of time that would otherwise be consumed in operating an ordinary machine under such adverse conditions. The Vertical Lift mower can be operated successfully and satisfactorily on any land and under any condition suitable for operating a machine where the mower can be drawn by the horses, and, furthermore, can be handled on ground and under conditions where an ordinary mower can not be run. It is the only mower designed both for general cutting and for rough and stumpy lands.
McCormick New 4 Mower
For general use on smooth or even ground the McCormick New 4 mower has never been excelled. This machine can be depended upon to cut grass easily, and cut it well-and as a grass cutter has attained a world-wide reputation. There is to-day a larger number of these mowers in general use than any other pattern, which is positive evidence of their popularity. The New 4 mower is equipped with many features which will continue to commend it to the world’s grass growers. Among those worthy of special mention are the perfect and frictionless bushings, symmetrical and staunch main frame, simple and powerful gears, direct stroke pitman, and long steel wearing plates for the knife. This mower is made up of good features throughout, and for cutting on well cleared farms is unexcelled. The McCormick New 4 mower is identical with the McCormick Vertical Lift mower with the single exception of the device for raising and lowering the cutter-bar, and throwing the machine in and out of gear automatically.
McCormick New Big 4 Mower
Built on the same principle as the McCormick New 4 mower with the essential parts proportionately larger and stronger, the McCormick New Big 4 mower is the most powerful grass cutter in the McCormick line. It is specially designed for, and fully meets the requirements of, agriculturists who are extensive grass growers. As the name indicates, it is a big mower, being furnished with either a 6 or 7 foot cutter-bar, and will cut half again as much as the ordinary sized mower.
Bevel Gear and Clutch
Among the more salient features of McCormick mowers are the superb gearings. The spur pinion is securely keyed to the counter-shaft which turns in removable bushings. The bevel gear is very accurately made and bored, thereby insuring an easy running and almost noiseless machine. As will be seen by reference to the illustration, the gear is entirely separate from the spur pinion, the machine being thrown into gear by means of the four clutch pins which pass through holes in the hub of the bevel gear and engage the ratchets of the spur pinion. The clutch is controlled by the shipper handle which is operated by the foot of the operator. Immediate cutting action is imparted to the machine when it is thrown in gear, as the movement of the shipper handle causes the pins to instantly engage the ratchets.
McCormick Little Vertical Mower
In design and in construction the McCormick Little Vertical mower closely resembles the regular Vertical-Lift mower, the chief difference being in the size of the machine. It is specially built for use with one horse, and is particularly adapted for use on small farms or lawns, and in parks, orchards, and cemeteries. This Little Vertical mower will meet all the requirements on the farm where only a limited amount of grass is grown. As it is drawn with one horse, this machine can be used for cutting in places where a large machine with two horses could not be operated. Chief among the noteworthy features of this mower is the device for raising the cutter-bar, and throwing the machine in and out of gear automatically without stopping the horse.
This machine is equipped with a simple and effective foot-lift which enables the driver to pass small obstructions without using the hand lever.
Another noteworthy feature is that the thills can be readily shifted to either side of the machine as the conditions may require to keep the horse off the cut grass.
A strong and rigid foundation is required for a successful mower, and the main frame, the foundation of the McCormick mower, has extraordinary strength. It is cast in one piece, and to insure absolute accuracy in the fitting up of the counter and crank shafts a special machine is used for boring the holes. Roller bearings, as shown in the illustration, are supplied for the main axle, while the crank shaft turns in removable steel babbitt-lined boxes, this style of bushing being the most satisfactory bearing for such a shaft.
The outline of mower frame with illustration of forked coupling emphasizes one of the strong features of the McCormick. This coupling is hand forged, one prong of which connects at the side with that part through which the crank shaft passes, the other prong, extending to rear of frame, being securely fastened in the center; and the following illustration shows the forked coupling separately and its manner of attachment to the main frame. This construction gives great strength and rigidity to the cutter-bar and keeps it in line. The forked coupling being forged by hand and with great care, the most perfect joint is the result. The end of the coupling bar is accurately turned to receive the inside shoe hinge, furnishing a long horizontal bearing, and thus enabling the cutter-bar to be tipped up or down easily without throwing it out of line. The front fork is threaded to afford a strong and firm connection with the main frame. By means of this arrangement, the knife is accurately adjusted and centered in the guards. The rear fork is securely hinged to the main frame under the axle, and by its position secures great strength and rigidity where it is most needed, that is, at the inner end of the cutter-bar.
Inner Shoe Connections
Correct mechanical principles are followed in the construction of McCormick mowers, and this is of vital importance, especially in the shoe and cutter-bar connections. An extra heavy double-hinged joint connects the cutter-bar to the machine. This hinge is mounted on the long horizontal bearing at the end of the forked brace and holds the bar in perfect alignment, no matter whether the guards be tipped up or down. Moreover, the shoe sets out sufficiently far from the mower to always insure cutting a full swath without the off horse being crowded into the standing grass.
By means of the long horizontal bearing on which the inner shoe hinge works, the cutter-bar on the McCormick mower can be readily tipped up or down, at the same time keeping the bar in perfect alignment with the pitman. This construction, therefore, secures an easy running knife in whatever position the guards may be placed.
The long horizontal bearing and the double-hinged shoe are simple in construction, and are made very strong and durable, thereby insuring long life in this vital part of the machine. By means of a thumb screw on the tilting lever, it can be adjusted to allow the cutter-bar to tilt automatically, following the surface of the ground and enabling the machine to cut uniformly.
The foot-lift on the McCormick mower is efficient and easy to operate. Its construction is such that the driver has great leverage, and the entire bar is readily lifted from the ground whenever necessary. The action of the foot-lift is facilitated by means of a powerful spring which acts in conjunction with the pressure exerted on the lever by the foot of the operator. The mechanism is extremely simple and strong, and the action is positive, which, combined with its ease of manipulation, makes the McCormick foot-lift the most practical device of its kind.
With the foot-lift the cutter-bar can be held at any intermediate height with ease, hence when turning a corner or backing up the mower the driver experiences no trouble whatever in handling the bar with his foot, while he has both hands free to guide the team.
To sum up, the principal features of the McCormick foot-lift which have made it popular throughout the world are its simplicity, practicability, and efficiency.
On all McCormick mowers the inner end of the cutter-bar is connected directly to the doubletree by the draft rod, and hence the direction of the draft of the team exerted on the cutter-bar is such that the machine is held in perfect balance, and there is no tendency to force the off horse into the uncut grass. The team really pulls from two points, first where the tongue connects with the mower frame, and second where the draft rod connects with the cutter-bar. The draft rod on the McCormick also exerts an upward pull which carries the cutter-bar lightly over the ground, thereby greatly reducing the draft. The doubletree is connected to the draft-bracket by means of a spring clevis, which relieves the horses’ shoulders of severe jars and jerks occasioned by passing over rough ground, or coming in contact with some unseen obstruction.
In order to produce a successful mowing machine special attention must be given to the construction of the cutter-bar, and hence great care is exercised in designing and manufacturing this part of the McCormick mower.
The bar itself is made of heavy cold rolled steel, with a thick rib extending the entire length of the bar. This construction results in a cutter-bar which is unsurpassed in strength, rigidity, and durability.
The bar is securely fastened to the inside shoe, which, together with the hinge and coupling, forms a combination of parts that keeps the knife and pitman in a straight line.
The bar is fitted with very long wearing plates, insuring easy running and smooth cutting action in the knife.