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
Board approves new equipment for city; cancer benefit proposed on square ...Lawrencecountyrecord, February 4th
After PWD Director Gene Stanton presented the bids to the board, the $45,000 bid from Fritz Implement of Monett was accepted for the purchase of a new Case-IH/ Farmall. The purchase price is for the base model, and doesn't include additional equipment/ ...Read more
Replacing Aging Wire With Like-New LoomAgriculture.com, February 1st
When asked about converting a Farmall tractor to a 12-volt electrical system, T.W. Cook, a Farmall enthusiast from Georgetown, Texas, generally answers, “Why? These tractors were designed to start perfectly well on 6 volts and will start today if you...Read more
Preparing MachinesGrit Magazine, January 28th
Heather Colwell My family has the red tractor fever. If it is red and says Farmall on it, they have to have it. My husband and son had been watching a Farmall 560 sit in the weeds on a stretch of back road for several years. Finally, they couldn't take...Read more
Restoring Tractors a Retirement HobbyHays Daily News, January 22nd
“When I retired from farming, there was a tractor I really wanted. That was that 550 Oliver. I bought it and restored it.” In the past 10 years Luecke has restored about 33 tractors and has about 20 more to work on. He's bought a few from individuals...Read more
Tractor square dancing spans generationsThe Sentinel, January 15th
The Roof Garden team and the Middle Creek Tractor Swingers of Snyder County performed both separately and together in the ninth consecutive year of Farm Show tractor square dancing. Three generations of Rhoads', all from Berlin, drive for the Roof...Read more
Collectors show antique tractors at Pennsylvania Farm ShowReading Eagle, January 13th
A tractor owned by Richard Seidel of Mertztown, a Farmall from 1960, shows many of the improvements that occurred over the decades. His father bought the tractor new, and it has been in use ever since. It has shock absorbers, power steering, rubber...Read more
Christensen's electric tractor featured in club newsletterWestside Eagle Observer, January 13th
GENTRY -- The following article about Don Christensen and his electric-powered Farmall tractor was taken from the January-February Newsletter of the Tired Iron of the Ozarks. It shows the creative ingenuity of club members and features an example of...Read more
Competition will pit might vs. might at Paquette's Farmall museum tractor pullsOrlando Sentinel, January 7th
Paquette's Historical Farmall Museum features more tha 100 International Harvester tractors all restored to their former glory. collector/restorer Stewart Paquette has restored machines from th 50's to the 80's when the company stopped making them...Read more