First Axial-Flow combine in Europe

It is 40 years since International Harvester launched the Axial-Flow combine in Europe, and the 1460 parked outside the main entrance at the recent SIMA show was the original machine brought to the same Paris exhibition in 1979.

by Steven Vale

12 Mar 2019

The concept of replacing a conventional drum/concave and straw walker for a single longitudinal rotor, and sectional concave system for both threshing and separation, won a technical innovation gold medal. The decal stuck to the side of the machine to display the accolade is still on the combine today.

Still there today, it is 40 years since the original gold medal winning sticker was stuck to the side of the combine.

Following a demonstration during the 1978 harvest, the first Axial-Flow sold in Europe was bought by an Ardennes-based farmer. When he retired, the 1460 was bought in 2013 by Axial-Flow enthusiast Hanss Françis, the driver that used to operate it. The proud new owner is currently restoring the combine to its former glory and plans to use it during this year’s harvest.

After more than two decades of development, International Harvester launched the 1400 series Axial-Flow combines in North America in 1977. There followed two years of testing and fine-tuning to measure and perfect the performance in higher-moisture, heavier-strawed European conditions.

Highly sought after on the Case IH stand, this commemorative sticker is a replica of the gold medal winning one from 1979.

The 1440 and 1460 launched in Europe in 1979 were later joined by the larger 1480 and smaller 1420 machines. There have been considerable advances in power, cutting width, cleaning capability and operator comfort during the past 40 years, but the principles of the original Axial-Flow design has essentially remained the same through nine generations of upgrades.

The classic combine enjoyed a lot of attention but most of the visitors to the Parc des Expositions were more interested in the latest tractor and machine developments inside the SIMA halls. Some of the most important ones will be featured in next issue.