Calvin Plimpton, my 3rd great grandfather, was born 15 Feb 1815 in Geneva, New York. His grandfather, Elijah Townsend was a blacksmith that crafted cow-bells for the early settlers. Perhaps that's where young Calvin built a knowledge base that would eventually lead him to be become and mechanist and finally a threshing machine builder.
Sometime before 1850, Calvin moved his family to Zanesville, Ohio where he is listed as a mechanist on both the 1850 and 1860 US federal census reports. It appears he went into business for himself sometime before 1870, as he is listed as a threshing machine builder on the 1870 US federal census.
Perhaps Calvin was in the crowd at the farm implements barn (in this JQA Tresize photo) during Ohio State Fair in Zanesville, Ohio on September 21, 1859. Calvin passed away 26 May 1874, at age 60.
Thrashing machines (early spelling), were created to mechanically separate grain -- such as wheat -- from stalks and husks. For thousands of years before the machine was invented grain was separated by hand with flails, which required extensive back-breaking, hand labor.