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.
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Letter from Langdon: A Harvest of High-TechDaily Yonder, December 5th
When Dad was a modern farmer, he adopted wheeled farm tractors as replacements for sorrel mules. I can't remember seeing his mules, but I remember when he added power steering to his "M" Farmall. Shoulders and back made strong (and sore) by ...Read more
Tractors to pull crowdsThe Advocate, December 4th
Mr van Norden, an Irishtown farm contractor, has four pulling tractors but this weekend only plans to enter one, his 1944 Farmall. "It's the oldest one I've got and the lightest one to transport," he said. Mr van Norden has been a member of the...Read more
Kallembach accused of forging Federal Reserve checksSwnews4u, December 4th
The Walworth County criminal complaint alleges that Kallembach purchased seven tractors — 1949, 1956, 1959 and 1965 John Deeres, a 1944 Oliver, a 1951 International Farmall, and a 1957 Ford tractor — from Mecum Auctions in Walworth at an auction in ...Read more
A dedicated barn snoop's afternoonspiritofjefferson (blog), December 4th
The job at hand is the restoration of a late-50s Farmall Cub for a customer in Rockland in Warren County, Va. I was to be painting some of the larger parts, dangling them from the Old Black Truck's crane outside the shop. Though I like the way that...Read more
Red Tractors 1958-2013: An Authoritative Guide to International Harvester ...Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release), December 2nd
Published by Octane Press, “Red Tractors 1958-2013” was created by a team of dedicated writers, editors, photographers, and researchers, led by long-time publisher Lee Klancher. Octane Press also created two 2014 calendars: the “Farmall Calendar 2014” ...Read more
Pedal vehicles are collector's latest hobbySoutheast Missourian, December 1st
A shiny red 450 McCormick Farmall tractor sits on one of the tables and a rare Super Sonda, a scooter made by Garton Co. about the same time as Honda came out with its mini bikes, lays on a table ready to be restored, Niswonger said. He keeps...Read more
Tractor restoration champ has old Farmall shining, hummingMilwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 29th
It's a good thing the Melrose-Mindoro High School senior likes Farmall tractors, because he would spend 688 hours and almost $7,000 taking it apart, cleaning, fixing, overhauling, sand-blasting and repainting it. But the tractor, in turn, has rewarded...Read more
Area teen tops in tractor contestThe Courier Life News, November 14th
But that doesn't deter the 17-year-old vintage tractor junkie, and he recently spent nearly 700 hours restoring a 1953 Super H Farmall tractor — a project that earned him the top spot in a national competition. On Friday, during the National FFA...Read more