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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St. Patrick's Day on the PlainsHutchinson News, March 16th
said Keener, serving on the St. Patrick's Day committee. Celebrated this year on March 15, St. Patrick's Day in Rush Center was scheduled to include an Irish stew dinner, cake walk, various booths and games for kids, and a car and antique tractor show...Read more
Family's tractor collection brings generations togetherCanton Repository, March 16th
“Usually, collecting tractors is the kind of thing that skips a generation,” said John Tabellion, president of the Stark Antique Power Association, a group of collectors and tractor pull enthusiasts that Huggins led for more than a decade. “With Dave...Read more
Collecting Antique TractorsMillionaire Corner, March 14th
On Nov. 30, 2013, Howard Alexson of Greeley, Colo., auctioned off the 40 antique tractors he had squeezed into his 150-by-50 foot shed on his farm. Over 1,000 people from 20 states, including Florida, came to the farm in Weld County, Colo., to see the ...Read more
Annual antique tractor ride is Aug. 16Mason City Globe Gazette, March 9th
BELMOND | The 12th annual KLMJ/KQCR Antique Tractor Parade will be Saturday, Aug. 16, and start and finish in Belmond. The parade will begin at the Prairie Homestead Antique Power and Country Craft Show, two miles north of Belmond on Taylor ...Read more
Modern vs vintage 20-mile tractor run in aid of flood-hit farmersFarmers Guardian, March 4th
The suggestion to hold a fund-raising tractor run came from Glamorgan Iron Horse Vintage Society member, Richard Rees and arable farmer, Richard Anthony, and around 150 tractors are expected to take to the coast road around Ogmore and Marcross, with ...Read more
Antique tractor enthusiasts work around winter stormJournal Gazette and Times-Courier, March 2nd
MATTOON -- The snow storm forecasted for Sunday deterred several antique farm equipment collectors from attending this year's Coles County Farm Bureau Farm Show at Cross County Mall; however, hundreds used Saturday as an excuse to get out of the ...Read more
Industrial team restores vintage tractor for Victoria Livestock ShowVictoria Advocate, February 22nd
Ardy Tiner, 30, and Aaron De Los Santos, 17, restore a 1946 Farmall B tractor for the 2014 Victoria Livestock Show. TIner is the agriculture teacher at Industrial High School. This is the first year that Aaron has competed in the Agricultural Mechanics...Read more
14th Annual Montgomery County Antique Tractor and Engine Show coming ...Clarksville Online, February 17th
Montgomery County Antique Tractor and Engine Club Clarksville, TN – On September 26th-27th, 2014, the Montgomery County Antique Tractor and Engine Club will hold the 14th Annual Montgomery County Antique Tractor and Engine Show at the 4-H Club ...Read more