The origins of International Harvester, often known as International, go back to the 1830s when Virginia inventor Cyrus Hall McCormick developed a horse-drawn reaper. Together with his brother, McCormick founded the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in Chicago. The reaper sold well,and the business grew. McCormick died in 1885 and his company passed to his son. In 1902, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, and three smaller agricultural equipment firms merged and the International Harvester Company was formed. By 1930, 100,000 items of farming machinery had been produced. International Harvester dominated the market through the 1950s. By 1974, the five-millionth International Harvester tractor had been produced.
In 1979, International Harvester began drastically cutting costs and factory production was curtailed. Union members became irate and a strike was called in November. By the end of the strike, the company had lost almost $600 million.
By 1981, the company sold various divisions and assets to other firms and many International Harvester plants closed. The truck and engine divisions remained and in 1986, the company changed the corporate name to Navistar International Corporation who continues to manufacture medium and heavy-duty trucks, school buses, and engines under the International brand name.