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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Auction CalendarFarmers Advance, September 17th
Trucks, car, farm equipment, trailers, tools, coins, car port. For Info: Mark Oberly Auctioneer 734-279-2233 (08/20). ONLINE ONLY. LESLIE, MI. Farmall tractors collection. For Info: Sheridan Realty & Auction Co. 517-676-9800 (09/03, 09/17)...Read more
Antique tractor run heldJournal Pioneer, September 15th
Tractor owners who live close by drove their tractors to the clubhouse and home again afterwards while many floated them to the start-finish site on trailers. Pride in their machines was apparent. Eric Shaw of O'Leary drove his Farmall tractor in the...Read more
Terryville teen collects, restores antique tractorsBristol Press, September 14th
Kyle's second tractor acquisition came a few years later when he won a 1943 Farmall H on a raffle ticket bought at the Terryville Fair. At that point his grandparents, Ronald and Joan Trafford of Bristol, went out and bought a trailer to tow the...Read more
Tractor parade signals start of 2014 farm-to-fork festivitiesMerced Sun-Star, September 12th
Onlookers at the event that signaled the start of Sacramento's second annual celebration as “America's Farm-to-Fork Capital” stopped and smiled and waved, snapping photos with their phones as the tractor drivers – some of them farmers, others avid...Read more
Restoration project helps New Richland teen healSouthernminn.com, September 9th
Flies buzzed around Dylan Johnson's rusty old Farmall tractor as the wind swept the tall grass against the flat tires. The stagnant machine soon lit a spark of memories as a New Richland teen's project to rebuild his friend's old tractor not only...Read more
S.C.R.A.P. celebrates antique tractors, enginesFremont News Messenger, August 31st
GIBSONBURG – George Miller Jr. took his family's 1941 McCormick Farmall tractor out for a spin Sunday, as he and several other competitors brought their antique tractors and engines to the annual Sandusky County Restorers of Antique Power's show at ...Read more
Father, son cultivate love of tractors, farm heritageIndiana Gazette, August 28th
Jared's tractor is a 1945 International Harvester Farmall M, or “The old M” for short. The previous owner had used a cheap paint on it at some point, Jared said, and it looks old and faded. But it finished sixth out of 25 in its class during the...Read more
Riders share interest in Farmall redMason City Globe Gazette, August 13th
Kevin Thompson has a Farmall H tractor while Marlen Hanson has a Farmall Super M tractor. Both Forest City men were participants on the Forest City Chamber of Commerce and Heritage Park of North Iowa tractor ride on Saturday. The two tractors are red ...Read more