Under the leadership of Cyrus McCormick and Charles Deering, the International Harvester Company was born from a merger between the McCormick Harvesting Machinery Company, Deering Harvester, and a few other companies in August 1902. In the coming decades, International Harvester began to compete with the Ford Motor Company in the tractor market.
In the 1910s and early ’20s, Bert Benjamin—one of International Harvester’s designers—began sizing up the competition and evaluating the weaknesses of Ford’s Fordson tractor. For one, the Fordson was too low to the ground, which prevented farmers from using it with corn and cotton after the crops were planted. Ford’s tractor was also difficult to maneuver.
With these flaws in mind, Benjamin designed International Harvester’s Farmall tractor, which was authorized for production in February 1924. The Farmall was a small, general-purpose tractor—the first of its kind to be successful.
Unlike Ford’s models, it had a high axle clearance. In an innovative twist, the Farmall had a tricycle-like design—two big wheels in the back and two small wheels right next to each other in the front. The Farmall also had automatic brakes on both back wheels, which could be operated separately. This feature, combined with the tricycle design, made the Farmall extremely maneuverable.
The Farmall also had a four-cylinder engine, with nine to 18 horsepower at 12000 rpm; the transmission had three speeds forward and one speed backward. The Farmall’s relatively small size made it effective for farmers with smaller farms. And from a stylistic standpoint, the Farmall was the first tractor to be produced in red, leading the transition away from what collectors today call the gray “unstyled tractors” of previous years.
To promote its product, International Harvester held competitions between the Farmall and the Fordson, which Farmall almost always won. In 1928, Ford threw in the towel and left International Harvester to dominate the tractor business.
Over the next several years, International Harvester released more models in its Farmall line. The original Farmall became the Farmall Regular, and the F-30 and F-20 were release...
Even as the Farmall line expanded, International Harvester produced accessories that were cross-compatible with all the Farmall models. One particularly handy accessory that helped the line gain and maintain popularity was the Quick Attach, a rapid-mounting system that allowed the farmer to quickly and easily adapt his tractor for a variety of purposes, like mowing a golf course.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
McCormick International Harvester Collection
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Farmall Tractors
Source: Google News
Restoring old tractors is rewarding, but costlyFarm and Dairy, November 19th
I don't claim to be “restoring” a tractor, as to me that means making it exactly as it was when new, an almost impossible undertaking unless one has unlimited funds. That said, I'm in the process of “refurbishing” a 1941 Farmall BN that I've owned for...Read more
Farm history exhibit opensErwin Record, November 14th
“While this specific tractor is not originally from the county, it serves as an excellent example of what would have been used during that time.” The McCormick Farmall Cub tractor was one of the most widely-used tractors starting in the late 1940s...Read more
Dozens of farm 'toys' draw hundreds of the Q-CQuad City Times, November 8th
“The green (Deere) people really come out, but this year we have more red tractors (IH and Farmall) than we've ever had before.” Paul Olson drove 250 miles from Webster City, Iowa, to bid, but he also restores tractors, having sold one to Mecum at a...Read more
Trailer may have struck tractorLe Mars Daily Sentinel, November 3rd
LE MARS -- New information has been released about a hit-and-run accident that injured a rural Le Mars man Oct. 15. Mark Schroeder, 76, was driving a Farmall B tractor north in the 2100 block of K-64 at the time of the accident. An unidentified...Read more
Tractors remain family traditionYadkin Ripple, October 21st
This year, the Glory Days show drew out-of-towners, raised money for Mountain Valley Hospice and featured antique tractor and lawnmower pulls and old engines. The event has been so successful, they already have begun planning for next year, they said...Read more
Case IH introduces Farmall tractor lineupDairy Herd Management, October 17th
Farmall U Series (90 to 98 power takeoff (PTO) hp) heavy-duty, premium utility tractors with high-capacity hydraulics to handle any application. Farmall C Series (65 to 98 PTO hp) and Farmall Compact C Series (32 to 47 gross hp) is a new line of Tier 4 ...Read more
Iowan's stolen Farmall 1206 tractor recovered in MinnesotaDesMoinesRegister.com, May 14th
Tractor guru Randy Hinton, who now owns and operates 10 Red Power Case IH dealerships across northern Iowa, was robbed of his prized tractor, a 1965 International Harvester Farmall 1206 that was the 11th to roll off the assembly line. Hinton offered a ...Read more
Tractor guru seeks 'yahoo' who stole rare Farmall 1206DesMoinesRegister.com, March 29th
But it's a single, 50-year-old tractor that has weighed heavily on Hinton's mind in recent weeks. The crown jewel of his fleet, a meticulously restored 1965 International Harvester Farmall 1206, was stolen from a warehouse in Mason City. It would be an ...Read more