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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
McCormick International Harvester Collection
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Tractors
Source: Google News
Stoystown Antique Tractor Festival highlightsDaily American Online, August 3rd
2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK. 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything. 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to ...Read more
Vintage trucks, tractors fuel enthusiasm at Stafford eventThe Daily News Online, August 2nd
Sharon Mattice of Stafford wipes off her 1935 Ford truck during Saturday's Empire State Antique Truck Association's Truck, Tractor and Construction Equipment Show. She has owned the truck for 54 years. (Mark Gutman/Daily News ...Read more
John Deere to be featured tractor at Antique Machinery showWilliamsport Sun-Gazette, July 28th
John Deere to be featured tractor at Antique Machinery show. July 29, 2015. From Staff Reports , Williamsport Sun-Gazette. Save | Post a comment |. LOYALSOCKVILLE - It's an all-John Deere theme for the 28th annual Loyalsock Valley Antique Machinery ...Read more
11th Annual Preston County Antique Tractor Show Educates Youth on Farm EquipmentWBOY-TV, July 26th
The 11th Annual Preston County Antique Tractor Machinery and Vehicle Show took place on July 25-26. The first show was organized by the Preston County Antique Tractor Association in 2005. It ended with an awards ceremony for categories including best ...Read more
Raitt Homestead hosts Antique Tractor and Engine ShowFoster's Daily Democrat, July 25th
ELIOT, Maine – The smell of gasoline and fried food drifted over the beautiful fields of the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum Saturday at the annual Antique Tractor and Engine Show. There is something for everyone to do at the 20th annual Antique Tractor...Read more
Antique tractor enthusiast at the Tippecanoe County Fairwlfi.com, July 20th
TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – The Antique Tractor Parade was one of the big events Monday night at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds. Tractor enthusiast Jack Chase participated in the tractor parade. He said he loves that the parade features ...Read more
Credit River Antique Tractor Club shows restored farm machineryMinneapolis Star Tribune, July 14th
Credit River Antique Tractor Club shows restored farm machinery. Restored farm machinery is on display at the Credit River Antique Tractor Club show. By Janice Bitters Special to the Star Tribune. July 14, 2015 — 6:06pm. itemprop. Three Rivers Park ...Read more
Threshermen Antique Tractor and Steam Engine Show Rained OutPatch.com, July 13th
For the first time in 53 years, the Will County Threshermen's Antique Tractor and Steam Engine Show, originally scheduled for July 16-19, has been rained out. The 3rd Annual Vintage Tractor parade Saturday will continue from a new location. Since 1962 ...Read more