Until the early 1800's, wheat was grown and harvested very similar to the ancient Egyptian way of farming. Farmers harvested wheat by hand with a sickle. They tied the stalks into bundles to await the threshing. Livestock trampled the stalks or farmers beat the stalks to loosen the grain from the stalks. The grain was tossed into the air, and the chaff blew away. This left only the kernels behind. This process was called winnowing.
In 1834, Cyrus McCormick, an American inventor, patented a reaping machine. A threshing machine was also invented in 1834 by two brothers from Maine. The development of these machines allowed farmers to do the work that once took several days in only a few hours. Another advancement that helped in the production of wheat was the development of the steam engine in the 1880's and the internal combustion engine in the 1920's. Animals did not need to pull the farm equipment anymore. The use of machines allowed farmers to plant larger areas of wheat and harvest it in a shorter amount of time.