'Manny Reaper Trial' talk Aug. 10 at Tinker Swiss

At 7 p.m., Aug. 10, Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum will host historian Robert Borden, who will present a public lecture, “The Manny Reaper Trial and its Impact on Rockford” in the Tinker Barn & Visitor Center. Admission to the lecture is free.

In the 1850s, agriculture was big business in Rockford. John Manny was one of Rockford’s leading industrialists, employing hundreds of people at his reaper factory. When sued for patent infringement by Cyrus McCormick in 1854, Manny was defended by a team of lawyers, Abraham Lincoln among them. The complicated case ended victoriously for Manny and had a profound impact on Rockford’s growth.

John Manny died in January 1856. His widow, Mary, went on to marry Robert Tinker in 1870 and live in his Swiss Cottage.

Speaker Robert Borden is a Rockford resident and the author of John Manny’s Contribution to the Development of Harvesting Machinery, 1848-1856, which he wrote as a graduate student at Northern Illinois University. The Aug. 10 presentation is scheduled to complement Tinker Swiss Cottage Museum’s special exhibit: “Rockford’s Trial of the Century: McCormick vs. Manny,” on display in the Tinker Barn & Visitor Center until Nov. 30, 2005.

The exhibit and program are sponsored by the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and National City Bank.

From the Aug. 10-16, 2005, issue

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