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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Mulberry Celebrates 'Super Food' Cash Crop With Edamame FestivalTimes Record, March 29th
The festival attracted many on the cool and windy Saturday, with an antique car and tractor show welcoming people into a walking trail ring of carnival food, handmade crafts and activities. The braver festival goers tried their hands at the mechanical...Read more
Jack Savage: Thinking and waiting for the sap runNewHampshire.com, March 28th
Brad Presby, sugarer at The Rocks, the Forest Society's North Country Conservation and Education Center, repairs sap lines in the orchard. The center invites people participate in the maple experience there on weekends. Visit www.therocks.org for more ...Read more
Glendale mayor takes to tractor to showcase annual showYourWestValley.com, March 24th
The program also showcases events, including tractor pulls, a plowing demonstration, a tractor parade and hundreds of small antique engines. The mayor also discusses the origins of the partnership between the city and antique tractor association, as...Read more
Antique Tractor Assoc. is a treasure to be supportedTriCities.com, March 23rd
Antique Tractor Assoc. is a treasure to be supported. Antique Tractor Assoc. is a treasure to be supported. Many thanks for your June 30th article titled “History Lesson,” on members of the Old Glade Antique Tractor Association harvesting wheat. It...Read more
Whittlesford News: Vintage Fair…Crime alert…Tractor Trailer Tour!Cambridge News, March 21st
It's open from 10am to 4pm and a Vintage Tea Room selling cakes and refreshments is available to keep everyone refreshed while they browse the displays of genuine vintage homewares and collectables. There are fascinating and unique items of clothing, ...Read more
South Plains Antique Tractor Association's Upcoming Plow Day [VIDEO]News/Talk 790 KFYO, March 19th
Wade Wiley from the South Plains Antique Tractor Association joined the show on Lubbock's First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac to talk about the association's third annual Plow Day, which takes place this coming Saturday, March 21. The event will ...Read more
Antique tractors featured in Apache Junction showazcentral.com, March 11th
Whether you have memories riding around on tractors or not, you'll be amazed by the craftsmanship and upkeep of these antique beauties. Roughly 150 tractors will be on hand for you to see. Some will also be taking part in daily parades and tractor pulls...Read more
Lexington Technology Center hosts Antique Tractor ShowLive 5 News, March 6th
Varnadore said the Tractor Show is a history lesson in farm equipment. "If we don't preserve them, we don't know where we come from and where our roots are," he said. The Antique Tractor Show is from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Lexington Technology Center, ...Read more