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About Lewis Miller
Lewis Miller (July 24, 1829 – February 17, 1899) was an Ohio businessman and philanthropist who made a fortune in the late 19th century as inventor of the first combine (harvester-reaper machine) with the blade mounted efficiently in front of the driver, to the side of the horse(s), rather than pulled behind. His daughter Mina (1865–1947) married fellow Ohio inventor Thomas Alva Edison on Christmas Day 1886.
Miller was born in Greentown, Ohio. He devoted much of his wealth to public service and to charitable causes associated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was the inventor of the "Akron Plan" for Sunday schools, a building layout with a central assembly hall surrounded by small classrooms, a configuration Miller conceived with Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and architect Jacob Snyder. The arrangement accommodated 1) a collective opening exercise for all the children; 2) small radiating classrooms for graded instruction in the uniform lesson of the day; and 3) a general closing exercise in the central assembly area. In 1874, interested in improving the training of Sunday school teachers for the "Uniform Lesson Plan" he had developed with Vincent, the two worked together again to found what is now the Chautauqua Institution on the shores of Chautauqua Lake, New York.
Miller died in 1899 of Kidney disease and was buried in Glendale Cemetery in Akron, Ohio.