The first tractors in the United States were introduced in the middle of the 19th century and were powered by steam. Known as traction engines, the source of the word "tractor," these steam tractors were used for both plowing and threshing. Manufacturers of early steam tractors included Minneapolis Threshing Machine Co., J.I. Case, and Advance-Rumely.
In 1892, an Iowa inventor named John Froelich built the first gasoline-powered tractor, although acceptance of this new technology would not become widespread until the beginning of the 20th century. During that period, many of the most familiar names in the farm-equipment business got into the tractor trade, from International Harvester (1906) to J.I. Case (1912) to Allis-Chalmers (1914) to John Deere, which bought out Froelich in 1918. Even car-maker Henry Ford got into the act when, in 1918, the first Fordson tractors rolled off Ford’s Dearborn assembly line (Ford withdrew from the farm-equipment business in 1927).
Early International Harvester tractors included the Mogul, which ran on kerosene, gasoline, or naptha and had a single, easy-to-repair cylinder. In its first year of production, 1906, the tractor’s engine ranged from 10 to 20 horsepower, and friction drove its wheels. Within a year the friction drive was dumped for gears and the tractor’s power had been increased to 25hp.
In the mid-1910s, the 4-cyclinder Titan appeared, and by the end of the decade, International Harvester came out with the Junior, whose engine was enclosed under a bonnet in a style that defined tractor design for decades to come. Both competed with another International Harvester tractor, the blue-bodied, red-wheeled McCormick-Deering 15-30, which was used by wheat farmers throughout the 1920s and into the 1930s.
One of the most famous International Harvesters was the Farmall, introduced in 1920. This all-around tractor had a wide rear axle so that the wheels could ride between rows during cultivating. The first Farmall was called the Regular, followed by models F-20 and F-30, some of which were configured with a wide axle in the front and high clearances. Other pre-war Farmalls included the Model A Cultivision (designed to cultivate a single row), the 8hp Cub, and the Raymond Loewy-designed Farmall H, all of which were painted a deep, classic red.
The first Case tractors had enormous engines (30 to 60hp), although tractors with smaller engines quickly followed. These three-wheel, "cross-motor" tractors had 4-cylinder engines, but the breakthrough for the company came in 1929 with the release of the Case L and its smaller cousin, the C, whose in-line engine became an industry standard. In the 1930s, Case introduced the D series (painted in Flambeau red and black) and the R series, whose grilles had an Art Deco sunburst design. The unprofitable V made the 1940s a shaky decade for the company, but Case got back on track in the 1950s with the Case 300 and 400, which set a record in 1956 for fuel economy.
In contrast, the first Allis-Chalmers tractors started out small (6 to 12hp). Low, orchard versions of these tractors were produced, as was a model with spiked wheels. By 1922, i...
John Deere’s first years in the tractor business were spent manufacturing bright-green Waterloo Boy tractors, which was the name of the Froelich tractor company it had purchased in 1918. Deere’s first non-Froelich tractor was the model D, whose 2-cylinder horizontal engine remained in production for more than 30 years. The GP followed in 1929, although reviews were not good (it was underpowered, among other problems), the Henry Dreyfuss designed A appeared in 1934, and the first Deere diesel, the 2-cylinder model R, arrived in 1949. Among other landmarks, it was the first John Deere tractor to feature the company’s now famous "leaping deer" logo.
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Look: Coventry-built vintage tractor collection sells for £500000 at auctionCoventry Telegraph, November 25th
A collection of Ferguson and Massey Ferguson Tractors have amassed more than half-a-million pounds at auction – with a historic Coventry-built Land Rover selling for over £35,000. The auction of what former owner Paul Rackham thought to be the world's ...Read more
'Show will go on' for antique tractor lover Frank JohnsonElmira Star-Gazette, November 20th
Frank Edward Johnson loved kids and proved it during 79 years among us. He taught the healthy ones about the days of antique tractors. A proof: His grin while a 5-year-old boy drove a 1935 Case R around the yard. Frank had a special love for kids in...Read more
Farmer's vintage tractor collection fetches more than £500000FG Insight, November 18th
Farmer's vintage tractor collection fetches more than £500,000. News. 18 Nov 2015. BY Alice Singleton. Share. Twitter Facebook. Vintage tractor collector, Paul Rackham has hosted another auction which brought in excess of £500,000. Mr Rackham's total ...Read more
Cumming Steam, Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Expo this weekendForsyth County News Online, November 12th
CUMMING — The Cumming Fairgrounds is playing host this weekend to the 14th annual Cumming Steam, Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Expo. The event, organized by the Cumming Antique Power Association and the city of Cumming, opens today and ...Read more
Antique tractors plow Mackinaw field for annual beePeoria Journal Star, November 8th
MACKINAW — Antique tractors dotted a harvested corn field Sunday as far as the eye could see. Running behind each other in rows, the old but still very reliable machines plowed the soil on the Schwarting farm off Mackinaw Road about one mile south of...Read more
Rare vintage Ferguson tractor collection up for auctionFarmersWeekly, November 3rd
A Norfolk farmer who recently sold his collection of more than 175 rare classic tractors is putting another stash of vintage machinery up for sale. Paul Rackham's Hunday Collection of Ferguson tractors, implements and support vehicles will go under the ...Read more
Tractor power: SPAPA's Fall Farm Festivial features antique tractor pulls ...The Times and Democrat, November 1st
Kicking off the SPAPA Old South Fall Farm Festival was a parade of antique tractors, cars and trucks that proceeded through the town of St. Matthews and up U. S. 176 to Culclasure Farm in the Sunny Plain community. The procession was led by Jim Rast in ...Read more
Country Diary: vintage tractors for sale, and capercaillies on the critical listTelegraph.co.uk, October 31st
Paul Rackham is a man who likes tractors – to say the very least. But now he is selling his unique collection of Ferguson tractors and a selection of implements, all designed by the Northern Irish genius Harry Ferguson, the maker of the greatest ever...Read more