Cyrus McCormick was an American Inventor/Businessman that is accredited for the invention of the reaper. Although the reaper was arguably “invented” prior to McCormick’s birth, the idea was refined by his father, and then mastered, patented, and brought to market by McCormick. The patent filed cost a fee of $30, however the invention would yield over $2,000,000 by its expiration (not adjusted for inflation).
The road was certainly not easy though. The only form of mass media at the time was the newspaper, so gaining market acceptance took time. To do so, McCormick setup a tour in which he would go and demonstrate the effectiveness of his reaper. Still, despite the fact that the reaper was able to harvest 3 times more than modern techniques, selling it at a $100 price point proved to be difficult. McCormick then developed what are now seen as industry standards: free trials, money-back guarantees, installment billing, and fixed prices.
McCormick was a true entrepreneur. Using unheard of business strategies, he and his reaper helped propel the U.S. into being an agricultural powerhouse. To learn more about Cyrus McCormick, click here and check out some of Forbes Greatest Business Stories.