Birthplace of the Harvester

Plano's connection with the manufacture of the grain harvester dates back to 1861, when brothers Charles and W.W. Marsh partnered with George and Lewis Steward of Plano to manufacture the Marsh Harvester. When the Marsh brothers had first demonstrated their invention to Lewis Steward it had performed poorly. But Steward, recognizing the machine's potential, invited the inventors to Plano, where John Hollister provided the mechanical know-how to overcome the design problems. The first model of harvester produced by the new firm of Steward and Marsh was a "hand-binder" on which 2 men rode, binding the sheaves by hand.

In the early 1870s, William Deering brought his business acumen to the harvester company, leading the company to further success with the addition of an automatic binding attachment for the harvesters. By 1879, he had become sole owner of the business, now known as Deering Manufacturing Company. The following year, the firm relocated to Chicago, but that was by no means the end of harvester manufacturing in Plano.

The Plano Manufacturing Company, led by Albert H. Sears, Lewis Steward, and W.H. Jones, took over the former Deering factory in 1881. The firm was a success, producing 10,000 binders and 25,000 other implements, while employing 700 men in 1884. Jones moved the company to West Pullman, Illinois in 1893, but once again there was but a pause in the manufacture of farm equipment in Plano. Albert Sears organized the Plano Implement Company in 1895, renamed it Sears Manufacturing in 1904, and ultimately sold the business to the Independent Harvester Company in 1910.