Custom Combine Tribute

The History of the Harvest Brigade

The History of the Harvest Brigade
The Route
The Vision
Harvest - The Song
Next Steps
Contact Us
Getting Involved
Our Sponsors
More of Our Sponsors
Even More of Our Sponsors
Photo Gallery I - The Beginning
Photo Gallery II - The Restoration
Photo Gallery III - Combine in Action
Photo Gallery IV - More of the Combine in Action
Letters from the Road
Article: Harvesting a Field of Dreams
Article: Topeka Capitol Journal Article
USCHI Magazine Article 1
USCHI Magazine Article II
USCHI Magazine Article III
USCHI Magazine Artcile IV

The History of the original Harvest Brigade of 1944


The story of original Custom Harvest Brigade goes a little like this...

During World War II (1939 to 1945), many farmers and harvesters were called into service.  The United States was in need of the harvest to be completed through the duration of the war.  Steel and other natural resources were in very short supply. Because of the limited supply, the allocation of resources to be used for machines in development was nearly unheard of. During this time a proven harvesting machine - the Massey-Harrison #21 combine - was ready for mass introduction. Massey-Harrison believed that the US Government's War Production Board would approve the allocation of the necessary natural resources (including steel) to the company for the manufacture of the #21. Massey-Harrison believed if it could convince the War Production Board that the #21 would produce more bushels and use the same amount of raw materials to produce, which would result in the Board approving the allocation of the necessary materials.  The self-propelled #21 combine was said to be able to save half a million bushels alone through its optimized harvesting technology. The implementation and utilization of the #21 combine would also make it possible to move 625 to 1,375 tractors on to do other necessary harvest and farm work. In accomplishing this, it was said to save a half of a million gallons of fuel.

Joe Tucker, Sales Manager of Massey-Harris Company USA, developed the " Massey-Harris Harvest Brigade". The Harvest Brigade plan, which was accepted and approved by the War Production Board, resulted in the manufacture of 500 of the #21 self-propelled combines.  The combines were then sold to custom combine operators who would guarantee to harvest a minimum of 2000 acres with each machine.  This would not only save on natural resources and reduce the loss of harvested goods through optimized harvesting techniques, it would also assist with the limited workforce that was available as well.    Since it took less machinery to complete the harvest, less manpower was required as well. 

The result -- a successful and bountiful harvest for North American farmers.