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In 1906 Leon Claeys, a Belgian mechanic, started to build threshing machines. In 1909 he built his factory in Zedelgem, Belgium, to manufacture harvesting machines.

In 1952 Claeys produced the first European self-propelled combine harvester and by the 1960s, Claeys was one of the biggest combine manufacturers in Europe; in 1964 the majority of Claeys was acquired by Sperry New Holland. In 1967 the company changed the name in Clayson and in 1986 was merged with the Ford Tractors division. In 1991 Ford Tractors was acquired by FiatAgri and became New Holland and later merged with Case IH to form CNH Global.