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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'Shake Rattle & Roll' reaches 100-tractor milestoneEvansville Courier & Press, June 29th
The break in the action also allowed spectators to walk through the parking lot packed with tractors where they can take in the red machines of Farmall and International Harvester, the "big green" John Deeres, the orange Allis-Chalmers, the blue Fords...Read more
Tractor enthusiasts cruise for kidsMaryville Daily Forum, June 29th
For young drivers like Shelby Lager, who restored his gleaming black 1949 Farmall model M as an FFA project, the event offered a glimpse back at a kind of farming now gone forever, an era when corn and soybeans were planted and cultivated without the ...Read more
Founded in community: Charlestown's Founder's Day parade shows off ...Evening News and Tribune, June 28th
Founders Day 1. Tyler Cox, 14, New Washington, rides his Farmall tractor in the Charlestown Founders Day Parade on Saturday. Families lined Market Street to see floats and vehicles, as well as get some candy. Founders Day 2. BY JEROD CLAPP ...Read more
Learning to become a truck driver — and to cuss like one: 'A Trucker's Tale ...Overdrive Magazine, June 25th
One of the farm tractors was a Farmall “M” model, and although it was equipped with an electric starter, it seemed (to me) that the battery was usually dead, which meant that it had to be cranked using a handle inserted into the front of the tractor...Read more
Samuelson recalls roots at dairy breakfastLa Crosse Tribune, June 24th
His family's first tractor, a 1939 Farmall F-20, which replaced a team of work horses, was rescued from a farm equipment graveyard without an engine or wheels. It has since been restored by an Illinois tractor club. The restored tractor was on display...Read more
Cookport Machinery show offers family funIndiana Gazette, June 23rd
“CAMS was founded by a group of people wanting to restore and preserve antique machinery and has evolved into a fun-filled weekend highlighted by tractor pulls,” CAMS President Brad Berkey said. For a first, this year there will be free admission to...Read more
Case IH announces new tractor lineup, hay tools for 2015Farm and Ranch Guide, June 10th
“But our Farmall and hay and forage products help make us the premier full-line equipment manufacturer in North America. From Farmall tractors to Axial-Flow combines, Case IH can meet the power and equipment needs of today's producer, no matter how ...Read more
Last Red Tractor: The Farmall storyIllinois Farmer Today, May 31st
Jim Sigler, left, and Paul Hayes, both of Moline, Ill., share a laugh at the Hy-Vee on Avenue of the Cities in Moline. Both Sigler and Hayes watched 30 years ago when the last Farmall tractor rolled off the assembly line in Rock Island. Sigler was a...Read more