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Big Combines for the 1970's

The International Harvester 15 Series Combines were launched in 1968.

When International Harvester introduced the 15 series combines in 1968 the company had been building self-propelled combines for 26 years and had over a half century of experience in the combine business.  The 15 series were the most luxurious combines from IH to date.  The series included the 315, 615, 715, 815 and 915. The combines had space age features inside roomy air-conditioned cabs equipped with an electronic digital monitoring system and gauges and controls were positioned for easy operation. In the decade of the 1970's IH combines grew up. IH introduced its "Big Mouth" combines with 48 inch wide cylinders on the the 815 and 815 combines. The 915 was IH's largest combine to date offering the power and capacity to handle an 8 row corn head. IH was also ready to meet the smaller operators needs in the 1970's with a range of combines that shared IH big combine features in a smaller package.


The IH 315 was the a new multi-crop combine with hydrostatic drive.  It was long on power and capacity with a 72 hp engine, 42 inch wide separator and 70 bushel dual grain tanks.  IH 315 combines could be matched with 10 1/2, 13 or 14 foot grain platforms and 2 row wide or 3 row wide or narrow corn heads.  Cabs were optional.  Rice special 315 models were available.

IH 315 Combine

IH 615 Combine

Offered from 1968 to 1975 the 615 combine was available in conventional belt-drive or hydrostatic drive. Many of IH's proven combine features were standard on the 615.  One of the biggest new features found on the 615 was the all new Quick-Attach grain and corn heads.  A new variable speed cylinder and fan was added to the 615 to improve the combines threshing quality. The 80hp 615 was available with an IH C-263 gasoline engine or a diesel IH D-282 engine. IH 615 combines were built to handle 10, 13, 15 ft grain heads and 2 and 3 row corn heads with settings from 28 to 40 inches. The 615 came from the factory with an 83 bushel grain bin. 

IH 715 Combine

In 1971 International introduced the 715 combine. It can be considered a 615 combine plus.  The 715 shared many features with the smaller 615 and offered several upgrades including larger grain handling capacity with standard 96 bushel grain bin and more horse power with an IH C-301 gasoline engine rated at 107 hp or a the 95 hp IH D-301 diesel engine.  The 715 was equipped to handle grain heads from 10 to 20ft and several variations of 2, 3 and 4 row corn heads with 28 to 40 inch settings.

IH 815 Combine

The International Harvester 815 combine was announced in 1968. Eight grain headers were available for the 815, ranging from 10 to 24 ft. In addition, corn heads could be purchased in 4 and 5 row sizes. IH offered both gasoline and diesel engines including the V-304 or V-345, V-8 gasoline styles and the D-407 or D-414, six-cylinder diesel engines. The 815 and 915 combines were the first IH combine to offer a turret hydro swing auger. This new auger allowed the operator to position the grain spout hydraulically where he needed it while unloading to distribute truck loads evenly.  The unloading spout was 11 ft high and made clearing even the largest trucks and wagons easy.

IH 915 Combine

Monitor control was first introduced on the big 915 combine in 1968.  This feature provided a reliable means of monitoring combine functions.  The 915 was a big step up in combine capacity for IH with a 150 hp DT414 engine and a standard 146 bushel grain bin. The 915 was the first combine from IH that could handle an 8 row head. Unloading all 146 bushels was not a problem on the 915. The 12 inch turret hydro swing auger standard on the 915 and 815 combines could crank grain out of the bin at 1.9 bushels per second. In less than 80 seconds a farmer could have the truck full and be back in the field harvesting.

IH 915 Combine Rice Combine and Edible Bean Combine

The 15 series rice combines were well suited for big rice operations. The IH 915 rice combine offered a 116 bushel bin, the 815 rice 106 bushels and the 715 rice 65 bushels.  The rice combines included the standard equipment found on the corn and grain IH combines with extras such as a spike tooth cylinder and concave in place of a rasp bar, raised leveling auger, feed conveyor divider sheet, special mud shields and an adjustable guide wheel axle.  The 15 series models listed above were also offered as an edible bean combines. The edible bean combines offered a bucket type grain elevator, special slow/high speed variable cylinder drive, stone retarder, perforated screens and a raised leveling auger on the 116 bushel 915 to prevent scuffing.

IH 453 Hillside Combine 

From 1970 to 1978 International offered the 453 Hillside Combine. The 453 was the predecessor of the 403 Hillside. The Hillside Combine was the one IH combine that did not receive 15 series upgrades and styling. It would not be  until 1980 that IH would offer a large modern hillside combine. The 453 was an efficient way to harvest grain in rough sloping terrain. IH offered the only 4-way leveling combine on the market. Not only did the 453 level on sidehills but it also leveled up and down hill as well.  Because the 453 leveled fore and aft as well as side to side, grain would not spill out or bunch up in the grain pan.  The 453 was available with both diesel and gasoline engines rated at 122 hp. Its 80 bushel grain bin could handle input from a 16 1/2 and 18 1/2 ft grain heads.

IH went big in the 1970's  with the15 series. The Axial-Flow combine would be the biggest innovation in IH combines in the late 70's.

Follow the IH Axial-Flow Combine Story on Part IV


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