It has been almost two centuries now since a number of inventive and enterprising North American farmers began to address the issue of harvesting wheat on the Great Plains, gradually taming them into productive cropland.
The combine was the machine that, more than any other, revolutionized global agriculture, especially in the second half of the twentieth century, making it possible to harvest all manner of cereal and legume crops quickly and effectively.
This history, an amalgam of ingenious engineers and courageous entrepreneurs, is covered in a new book entitled "Combines around the world", written jointly by Angelo Benedetti, Albert Kühnstetter and Piergiorgio Laverda.
The book analyses the journey the production and use of these machines took through the history of the different continents and nations, presenting a detailed account of practically all the manufacturers who played a part in this sector.
Its pages are host to a parade of over one hundred different brands, from household names to those that have long been forgotten, all with their own history and the models they have rolled out over the years.
This detailed and passionate account is followed by a thorough illustration of the combine's technical development, analysing each step in the evolution of the machine's individual component parts.
Lastly, a rich appendix gives the main technical specifications of the models produced by the world's leading manufacturers, presented clearly and as comprehensively as possible.
The book is splendidly illustrated with over eight-hundred images, some of which have never been published, gleaned from company archives, museums and private collections.
Angelo Benedetti, a business development manager in the agricultural machinery industry, has worked with some of the leading European companies and is one of the foremost authorities on combines.
Albert Kühnstetter, a German engineer and freelance journalist, collaborates with museums and important trade magazines and has authored numerous publications on tractors and vintage farm machinery.
Piergiorgio Laverda, historian and expert in industrial communication, has authored a number of books and articles and collaborates with museums and public institutions in the field of the history of agricultural mechanization.
ALSO AVAILABLE THE ENGLISH EDITION: "COMBINES AROUND THE WORLD"