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, ...
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, its model 20-35 was being touted as "The Greatest Tractor Ever Built." Canopies were among the tractor’s numerous optional features. Crawler tractors with tank treads were added in 1928, and in the 1930s, Allis-Chalmers switched over to rubber wheels. The workhorse Model B was introduced in 1937, while the WD-45 and the CA got the company through the 1950s.
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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Vintage tractor's key role in D-Day landingsMalvern Gazette, May 21st
A VINTAGE military vehicle which took part in the Normandy landings in World War Two has taken pride of place at a D-Day museum. The vehicle, an AEC Matador tractor, was bought by West Malvern enthusiast Laurie Gregory more than 20 years ago...Read more
Summer PlannerTriCities.com, May 21st
ANTIQUE TRACTOR SHOW: Abingdon, Va., Fairview Homestead, Hillman Hwy., July 25, 26027, Antique Tractor and Equipment show with threshing and horse drawn equipment demonstrations, pedal tractor and toy display. Free spaces for swap meet and...Read more
First vintage tractor run is a big successMelton Times, May 21st
Vintage tractor run in the Vale of Belvoir - The parade arrives at Hickling PHOTO: Tim Williams. Published on 21/05/2013 13:40. THE Vale of Belvoir Machinery Group provided an unusual spectacle for the public on Saturday by holding a vintage tractor run...Read more
Lions Club to host antique tractor pullFulton Sun, May 21st
On June 1, the New Bloomfield Lions Club will be hosting an antique tractor pull at the Lions Club Field in New Bloomfield. Starting at 6 p.m., the event will feature eleven classes based on the weight pulled by each tractor. The classes begin at 3,250...Read more
Big wheels keep on turningCleburne Times-Review, May 20th
But he plans to crank up the red 1954 tractor on Saturday, when the Grandview Antique Tractor & Machinery Club takes a trail ride to Hillsboro. In Hillsboro, the Grandview gang will rendezvous with other vintage-tractor fans for the Heart of Texas...Read more
Sodbusters sponsoring annual antique tractor drive - Beatrice Daily SunBeatrice Daily Sun, May 17th
Antique tractor collectors and enthusiasts are invited to join the Sodbusters in the drive -- either from the start or fall in line along the way. Those interested may call Bill Truscott at 402-866-2114 or 402-988-8284 or Robert Wolff at 402-866-2122...Read more
Antique Tractor Show SaturdayWBIW.com, May 17th
Tri-County Antique Tractor Club is comprises of antique tractor enthusiasts from Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties. Ron Phipps, who is organizing this show, said the number of tractors at Saturday's show will depend on the weather, but he...Read more
Farmers Antique Tractor & Engine Association spring show this weekendThe Daily Telegram, May 16th
The Farmers Antique Tractor & Engine Association Spring Show returns this weekend at the association's grounds on Forrister Road in Rome Township. The show features displays of antique tractors and engines plus more for family entertainment...Read more