When I was a teenager helping my dad in the fields in the early 1950s, rainy summers often found us coaxing a reluctant, self-propelled Baldwin combine out of the mud.
Sometimes getting unstuck was as simple as placing sand and large rocks in front of the tires to move the combine forward on its own power. Other times, it wasn’t that easy, and we would have to pull the wheat combine harvester out with a tractor.
On a few occasions, the tractor would get stuck, and we would have to bring another tractor out to get the wheat combine harvester and the first tractor unstuck.
When the wheat was ripe and ready to be cut, these back-breaking interruptions were frustrating adnd time-consuming.
At that time in my young life, I thought it would be neat to invent a helicopter-combine that would hover over the wheat fields with a sickle cutting off the wheat heads, all without touching the ground, so it would never get stuck in the muddy spots of the fields.
When I told my dad about my ideas for inventions, he laughed and said that as the bin filled up with wheat it would cause a weight problem. But I still thought there had to be a way to make it happen.
Today’s custom combine harvesters have comfortable air-conditioned cabs where farmers can listen to the radio or watch TV. But so far, I have yet to see one that flies. Maybe someday!
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