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Ayres' Knife Grinder for Reapers

Resembling a breast drill, but geared for a much higher speed than any hand drill of the 1860's, the Ayres grinder was used to grind the knife of reapers and mowers in the field, without having to remove the knife from the machine, as was necessary with most other sickle grinders. The patent, granted to Daniel W. Ayres, of Sheldon, Iroquis county, Illinois, on June 23, 1868, makes no mention of using this device as a breast drill, and is titled "Grinding Reaper Knives".

There are several versions of this device. One has the end of the shaft turned down and threaded to hold a 2" long conical stone. The other has a 3/8" hole in the end of the shaft and a set screw. There are also several variations in the frame and large gear castings. The patent date on one is on the large gear and on the other is on the frame.

The large gear is 11 1/2" in diameter. Overall length is 29". The grinders are in very good condition. Both turn smoothly and have no breaks or welds.

front side


patent date on gear.

patent date on the frame

Price: SOLD
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Contact: Richard Van Vleck - Email:

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