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
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The Week in ReviewIndiana Gazette, April 19th
A Saltsburg man was killed on Monday when his tractor rolled on top of him. Coroner Jerry L. Overman Jr. said Clarence Coleman, 87, of Hine Lane, was working around his barn at 5:56 p.m. when he backed his International Harvester Farmall tractor over a ...Read more
Reinvigorating a relic: Tractors for Africa readies southwest Minnesota ...Worthington Daily Globe, April 17th
This 60-year-old Farmall 400 will soon be making its way to Burkina Faso, West Africa, to be used by farmers. Helping to restore the southwest Minnesota tractor were Kory Staples (from left), Kevin Kolander, Jim York, Lonnie Nielsen (on tractor seat...Read more
Mennonite Relief Sale follows agrarian traditions with German food, quilts ...Wichita Eagle, April 16th
Left to right, they are a 1950 John Deere Model M, a 1970 Karman Ghia, a 1951 Ford F-1 pickup, a 1962 Cadillac 4-door hardtop, a 1948 Ford F-4 grain truck, a 1950 Studebaker Land Cruiser and a 1945 International Harvester Farmall H tractor. | Courtesy ...Read more
Garber's Red Tractor ModelsOhio's Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net, April 14th
Howard was raised with Massey-Harris tractors and implements whereas Carol descended from a family with Farmall, McCormick-Deering and International equipment. Fortunately some experts claim couples do not have to agree on everything for a ...Read more
Elderly man killed in Indiana County tractor accidentPittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 14th
Clarence Colemen, 87, of Saltsburg was working on his farm off Hine Lane shortly before 6 p.m. when he backed his International Harvester Farmall tractor over the edge of a steep hill near his barn and the tractor rolled over on top of him, according...Read more
HomeNewsPete's Pick of the Week: 1954 Farmall Super MTA TractorAgWeb, March 27th
Five Farmall Super MTAs sold at a south-central Iowa collector auction on March 25, 2015. The pictured 1954 model sold the highest at $8,000. If I look at the most recent 20 Farmall MTA tractors that I've seen sell at auction, the average price is $5,582...Read more
Case IH updates the Maxxum and Farmall 100A Series tractorsGrainews, March 25th
Case IH marketing staff were eager to show off their updated Maxxum and Farmall 100A Series models at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky in mid February. This was one of the first public appearances for these tractors since they ...Read more
Case IH offers midsize tractor upgrade, new Farmall modelsFarm Industry News (subscription), March 23rd
“These are basic, simple tractors,” says Denny Stroo, Case IH Farmall product manager. “This is a price point and feature level that's popular for the market.” In fact, as Farm Industry News talked with Stroo, a farmer listened in and later shared he...Read more