Bell's reaping machine, 1826, on display in gallery 26, 1951.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Patrick Bell (1799-1869) was a Scottish clergyman and inventor. Bell's machine was the first practical mechanical reaper designed in England. The corn is cut with a reciprocating knife mechanism and collected by a revolving frame onto an inclined apron which delivers the corn at the sides of the machine. Bell's reaper was on trial at the Great Exhibition of 1851, along with McCormick's (1809- 1884) reaper. Together they helped lead to the acceptance of mechanised reaping in England.