This image from Benjamin Butterworth’s The Growth of Industrial Art, depicts reaping grain during the colonial period. Reaping had to be done by hand, using a scythe or hay knife to cut the grain. Notice that the whole family helps with the field work.
By the mid-nineteenth century, farmers no longer had to reap entirely by hand. Machines made the work of harvesting go more quickly. This Self Raker Harvester was patented in 1855, to help farmers bring in their harvest.
Many companies that manufactured agricultural equipment advertised by having broadsides printed. Broadsides are an early type of poster. This broadside advertises the Buckeye Mower and Self-Raking Reaper. Farmers could have used a catalog from the company to choose equipment and would have ordered by letter.