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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Recent News: Farmall Tractors
Source: Google News
Columnist discusses tractor show, farmingPike County News Watchman, May 27th
We brought horses with us to farm but soon realized we needed a tractor — first buying a Farmall F-12 on all steel wheels, then trading it for a Farmall F-14 on rubber tires. This is the one pictured here in the hay field with Dad, Bill Henry, on top...Read more
Farmall wasn't end-all for Quad CitiesBloomington Pantagraph, May 26th
ROCK ISLAND — The father of an Augustana College student was lunching at Arthur's Garden Deli in Rock Island, looking at the big framed photo above the beverage counter. It's a photo of the last tractor produced at the International Harvester Farmall...Read more
Antique tractors on parade at 39th annual Gas Engine Show in Bernardston ...MassLive.com, May 24th
"This tractor belongs to my father-in-law, Ken Willis of Greenfield," said Peter Blake of Northfield. "He's a perfectionist." Trevor Blake of Northfield, a student at Franklin County Technical School, demonstrated his steel wheel tractor, a 1935...Read more
Farmall tractors helped revolutionize farmingQuad-Cities Online, May 22nd
For example, at a period in its early existence the flywheel of the Titan 10-20 traveled exactly one mile around the factory before it was mounted on the tractor. Eventually Farmall, that began production in the mid-20s, would have 60 percent of the...Read more
Don't miss Farmall Land USA in AvocaKMAland, May 20th
These days Jerry and his wife, Joyce, own and operate Farmall Land USA. Joyce is an integral part of the museum and enjoys showing folks her favorite area of the facility, the "Tractor's Widow's Lounge." It's here that Joyce displays her amazing doll...Read more
30 years after last Farmall rolled off lineQuad-Cities Online, May 15th
Thirty years ago on May 14 the last Farmall tractor rolled off the assembly line at the Rock Island plant on the banks of the Mississippi River. Six decades earlier the company had been a successful innovator in the tractor business. The very name...Read more
Last Farmall tractor rolled off line 30 years agoQuad-Cities Online, May 13th
He was among the workers on hand on May 14, 1985 -- 30 years ago today -- when the last red tractor rolled off the plant's assembly line, a ceremony witnessed by about 5,000 Farmall retirees and their families. Over nearly six decades, Farmall produced ...Read more
Farmall story: The last red tractorQuad City Times, May 9th
Jim Sigler, left, and Paul Hayes, both of Moline, share a laugh at the Hy-Vee on Avenue of the Cities in Moline. Both Sigler and Hayes watched 30 years ago this week when the last Farmall tractor rolled off the assembly line in Rock Island. Sigler was...Read more