Okay, first of all, I really love Lance's analogy. He hit the nail on the head there.
To clarify the John Deere combine issue, the Model 55 was inroduced in 1947. Yes, the Model 55, not the Model 45, was Deere's first self-propelled combine. The Model 45 came out in 1954 and was Deere's first real corn combine. It had a 2-row corn header. Deere was the first company to build a commercially-successful corn head! The Model 95 was introduced in 1958 and was just a hair smaller than the IHC 181, introduced 1 year earlier. In their day, a combine with a 40 or 41-inch cylinder was HUGE!
Two years later, John Deere debuted their Model 105 and it was indisputably the world's largest combine. It had a 50-inch cylinder. Deere's New Generation or "00 Series" introduced in 1970, was not only the first time a combine company simultaneously brought in an entire line of new production, but their Model 7700 was again, another world's largest combine!
By then, competing firms had made other combines even larger than the John Deere 105. The Massey-Ferguson Model 760 was introduced in 1971, athough commercial production did not begin until 1972. It was clearly the world's largest combine with its massive 60-inch cylinder.
When the John Deere 8820 came out in 1979, I just was blown away!
I never thought any combine could possibly ever beat the M-F 760's size! The J. D. Model 9600 was introduced in 1989. It had a larger diameter cylinder [same width] than the Model 8820. The walkers were longer and more separator features were added to increase capacity while staying within the 8820's prior height/width dimensions. The Model 9600 was no longer the largest combine in the world, but it was sure safe to say it was the world's largest CONVENTIONAL combine.
By the way, the Gleaner Model A was introduced in 1951. The company was also still pure Baldwin back then, too. Allis-Chalmers did not buy out Baldwin until 1955.
Fatdaddy is sure right about one thing. Combines are the single, most complex and technologically innovative machines on the farm, period. They are in fact, small, mobile, wheeled factories!
OMG, I LOVE them so much, too!