Wisconsin History Day By Day


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George Esterly


Read More About It

"Wisconsin Inventors" by the Wisconsin Historical Society


Vocabulary:

reaper
implement
financial panic


Interesting Fact:

By 1861, it is estimated that 3,000 reapers of various kinds were being used by Wisconsin farmers.


Study Questions:

  • Who are other inventors from Wisconsin?
  • What is a hand-rake reaper?
  • How did the inventions of the harvesting machines help farmers?


    Search these newspaper databases for additional stories about George Esterly:

  • Newspapers on BadgerLink
  • Wisconsin Historical Society


    U.S. historical events that occurred on October 17:

    1777: British forces surrender at Saratoga.
    1933: Albert Einstein arrives in the U.S. as a refugee from Nazi Germany.



  • October 17

    October 17, 1809: George Esterly was born in New York state. In 1843, Esterly settled near Janesville and took up farming. By 1844 he had invented the first successful American harvesting machine and added a mowing machine, plow, hand-rake reaper and a seeder to his list of farm inventions. Esterly started a very successful implement factory in Whitewater in 1858. He moved the business to Minneapolis in 1892 but it was ruined in a financial panic. Died June 7, 1893.


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