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RSS By: Aimee Cope, Farm Journal

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Claas Celebrates Combine’s Diamond Anniversary

Jun 14, 2011

In 2011, Claas is marking its 75th year of being in the combine harvester business.

The company is asking for its customers to join in the recognition of the company milestone and share photos, videos and stories of Lexion machines in operation across your fields. Visit for more. Your story could be included into a book compiling the stories of Claas combines from around the world and spanning 75 years. The website features a new story from around the world that is updated every week.
How Claas got started in the combine business…
CLAAS 75 Years of CombinesAugust Claas founded an agricultural machinery company together with his brothers Theo and Franz in 1913. August was driven to find a way for European crops to be combine harvested as American combine harvesters had started to appear in fields in the 1920s.
In 1936, August unveiled a tractor-trailed machine (a “reaper-binder”) which he had developed at his plant in Harsewinkel, Germany. Up until that point, cereal grains in Germany had been chopped manually by scythe and were dried in sheaves, or placed or stored in lofts to dry. Stationary threshing machines later came into use.
His son Helmut Claas, who would later go on to lead Claas with worldwide expansion, recalls: “My father, together with Walter Brenner, an assistant of Professor Vormfelde at the University of Bonn, had developed a prototype as early as the beginning of the 1930s. It was a machine built around the Lanz Bulldog, making for a highly modern combine harvester with a cutterbar at the front. Up to that point in time, there had never been anything like it anywhere in the world.”
The concept itself was ingenious, although the idea came many years too early. Many of the necessary technologies such as high performance tractors, hydraulics, electrics, etc. had yet to be developed for tractor-hitched combine harvesters.
The breakthrough came in 1936 as a trailed combine harvester with side-mounted cutterbar. Claas unveiled his model at the Zschernitz Manor before a large number of experienced and highly skeptical farmers from the central German regions; the first fully functional reaper-binder to be manufactured in Europe. Provided all went to plan, the machine facilitated a daily harvesting output of 1,100 bushels of wheat. In the following six years, 1,450 prototypes of the successful machine were manufactured.
The first self-propelled combine harvester with an integrated engine was launched on the market by Claas in 1953. This self-propelled harvesting system went on to prove itself time and again. In the following decades, Claas developed ever more efficient combine harvesters for all types of crops, climates and fields around the globe.
The latest combine harvester from Claas, the Lexion 700 Series was introduced in August 2010. As part of a 10-hour challenge, the second largest machine in the new range, the Lexion 670 TT harvested more than 51,000 bushels of corn over a ten hour period outside of Yorkville, Illinois.
To learn more about the history of CLAAS combines and watch videos of machines in action, visit
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