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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Couple's winning designsAlbany Times Union, March 3rd
A secretary desk/coffee table made from an old wheat trunk. A coffee table made from a tractor gear and vintage ironing board. "Getting the tractor gear to stand on its own was a piece of art in and of itself," said John Trop. A wine bar to hold both...Read more
Barn and tractor destroyed in fireThe Southern, March 2nd
DU QUOIN -- A barn and antique tractor were destroyed Tuesday in a rural Du Quoin fire. Floyd Moore was burning at about 2 p.m. a fallen tree at his home on 109 Juniper Road when the fire got away from him and spread to a field, dog house, chicken coop ...Read more
Carlsbad Flower Fields open for businessU-T San Diego, March 2nd
Visitors can explore the area on foot or take a wagon that's pulled by an antique tractor. The grounds also feature a fragrant Sweet Pea Maze (which is in full bloom later in the season), a whimsical Santa's Playground, picnic tables, art gardens...Read more
Gibson Co. tractor pull attracts people from across the US14 News WFIE Evansville, February 28th
In Gibson County, the National Antique Tractor Pullers Association held its annual competition on Saturday and, despite the cold weather, people from across the US traveled to Indiana to compete. The people who competed say they look forward to the...Read more
Driver injured when tractor-trailer overturns on Turnpike in Ridgefield ParkNJ.com, February 28th
RIDGEFIELD PARK -- The driver of a tractor-trailer was injured Saturday morning when his rig overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike, State Police said. The tractor-trailer overturned at about 4:30 a.m. at mile-marker 118.4 in the northbound express...Read more
Lamar Antique Tractor CollectorFour States Homepage, February 26th
From those huge tires to the very distinctive shade of green, there's no mistaking a John Deere. But if you want to know the difference between a 1947 B.O. and a bright orange Empire model, look no farther than Lamar where one collector has 100's of ...Read more
Central Maryland Antique Tractor Club's Annual Farm Toy Auction and ShowFrederick News Post (subscription), February 20th
One of the largest in the state. The auction starts 9 a.m. Feb. 21. The Toy Show is Feb. 22 in Buildings 13 and 14. Food available. Consignments for the auction will be taken from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 20. For more information, contact Jimmy...Read more
Maple City Antique Tractor Association show brings out stories, memoriesGalesburg Register-Mail, February 8th
GALESBURG — Gene Vollbracht from Delong was cleaning road salt off his 1951 John Deere A tractor at Sandburg Mall on Saturday. Vollbracht is one of many tractor collectors, restorers and enthusiasts who were part of the tractor show sponsored by Maple ...Read more