REAR, the back or hind portion of anything, particularly a military or naval term for that part of a force which is placed last in order, in opposition to " van." As the last word, shortened from " van-guard," is an aphetic form of Fr. want, in front, Lat. ab ante, so " rear " is an aphetic form of " arrear," O. Fr. arere, mod. arri&re, Med. Lat. ad retro, to the back, backward. From this word must be distinguished the verb " to rear," used in two main senses: of a horse, to stand up on its hind legs, and to raise up or lift, of the construction of a building or of the breeding and bringing to maturity of domestic or FIG. 3. American Header and Thrasher.
put one couple on and one couple off for meals and resting alternately. By this means the binder is kept going continuously without any stoppage for perhaps 14 hours daily in fine harvest weather. With a six-feet cutting width an acre per hour is fair work, but some have exceeded that, especially with wider cutting widths. A ball of twine weighing 3 to 4 Ib is the usual requisite per acre for binding the sheaves, and it ought to be of Manilla hemp: " sizal " fibre (derived from the American agaves and named after the port on the coast of Yucatan) is not so strong and good, though cheaper. Good twine is desirable, as otherwise frequent breakages leave many sheaves in a loose state.
The sheaves are dropped off on to the ground as tied, but some farmers use the " sheaf-carrier," which catches these as they are shot out from the binding apparatus, and dumps them in lots of six or so sufficient to make a stook or shock. The stocking that is, the setting up of the sheaves on end to dry is a separate operation, and from two to three men can set up an ordinary good crop as fast as the binder can cut it. In this work the sheaves are set with their butts wide apart and the heads leaning against one another like the two legs of the letter A: a full-sized stook or " threave " is 24 sheaves a relic of the days when the crop was all hand-reaped by piecework at so much per threave but in practice now seldom more than 6 sheaves (3 each side) are put to each stook. When sufficiently dried or " fielded " the sheaves are then carried by cart or wagon to the other animals, often used also of young children. The O.E. raran, of which it is the modern representative, is a doublet of the Scandinavian reisa, which has given English " raise," both being causative verb forms of " rise."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)