Company history

The CLAAS success story.

Many companies have a history – and some of them have also made history. But only a select few have had such a sustained influence on the history of international agriculture as CLAAS.

Company history

The CLAAS success story.

Many companies have a history – and some of them have also made history. But only a select few have had such a sustained influence on the history of international agriculture as CLAAS.

The knotter – a symbol of better things to come.

The patented knotter bill hook with floating knotter jaw

The knotter – what exactly is it?

Perhaps the sewing machine principle lay behind the invention of the knotter, the name for the tying device in the straw binder. The needle in a sewing machine pushes into the material and pulls loops in microseconds through the textiles as they pass by. In the same way, the knotter in the straw binder loops the binding twine around the bale of straw with the help of a needle and a knotter hook, and then pulls it tight.

This system works well as long as the binding twine has a constant strength. If its thickness varies, the twine breaks and the bundles of straw fall apart. The American company McCormick launched a good device to bind straw onto the market as early as the end of the nineteenth century, but the binders were successful to only a limited degree in continental Europe, and were subject to repeated defects. August Claas then developed a knotter hook with a limited floating knotter jaw. Once this flexibility was added, binding twine of any strength and composition could be processed, and in principle, it would always hold.

The twine was of poor quality, particularly in the period of deprivation following World War I. As a result, the CLAAS invention was of huge economic importance in the field of agriculture.

The legendary knotter was given the patent number 372140 in 1921, and was the first patent taken out by the company Gebr. Claas. Nothing in the way the knotter functions has basically changed up to the present day. Bales of straw are held together with binding twine in straw presses all over the world. This ensures that the precious, renewable raw material of straw stays in shape, and is available in good quality.

Quality calls for a combination of high-level manual work and precision crafting. Georg Szyszka controlling the knotters for balers – a picture from the year 1962