HAROLD'S 1927 FARMALL REGULAR . . .
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In 2012, Harold designed and built an electric starter for his Regular.
Click on Electric Starter to view what he did.
This tractor was featured in the following article: Thompson, Glenn. "Harold's Regular; The Revolutionary Farmall Truly Did It All!" Antique Power, vol.28, no. 5, July/August 2016, pp.82-87.
Harold Sohner starting his Regular
Harold Sohner's 1927 McCormick-Deering Farmall "Regular" spent the first seventy-three years of its existence on a ranch near Boerne, Texas. In 2000, Harold purchased the tractor for $400 from the son of the original owner. In order to close the deal, Harold also had to purchase a Farmall H for an additional $400. Harold was not that interested in the H, but it turned out to be the first tractor that he worked on, because it was found to have water in #3 cylinder and that demanded immediate action.
There is a considerable amount of sentiment associated with the Regular, as Ezra H. Sohner, the younger brother of Harold's grandfather, was appointed General Superintendent of the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois, when International Harvester began building parts for the Farmall there in 1925. Also, Harold's Dad, Harold K. Sohner, Sr., began work at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, during the same year that the Harold's tractor was built--1927. After Harold hauled the Regular home in 2000, it took up space in his shop for a number of years until he decided that if he didn't begin work on it, the project might never get done.After a few half-hearted attempts, Harold and his friend Raymond Hohmann began serious work on the tractor in September, 2008, and they finished the project in January, 2009.
When Harold began work on the Regular, it was soon apparent that there were a few lucky breaks and many challenges. The engine was not stuck, probably due to the fact that the exhaust exited below the manifold and there was no vertical exhaust pipe to catch rainwater. Also, the cylinders and bearings were in good condition, indicating that the engine had been overhauled one or more times during its long life. However, it was necessary to replace all seals, to plane the manifold and the water jacket, and to grind the valves and resurface the valve seats. The clutch and transmission did not require attention.
The steering pedestal and the two drop-boxes at the ends of the axle-housings were broken. A friend, Albert Meier, donated a 1928 Regular as a parts tractor and these castings were salvaged from that tractor. It turned out to be much easier to move over the entire rear casting, consisting of the differential, axle-housings, drop-boxes, axles, brakes, etc. in one piece from the parts tractor, rather than replace just the damaged parts. As work continued, additional parts were scavaged from an additional parts tractor at Legend Hill Enterprise in Fredericksburg, Texas (830) 997-0344.
An interesting fact emerged during this phase of the restoration. After the differential and rear-axle casting was replaced with that from the parts tractor, it was determined that the decals on the rear-axle housings of a 1927 Regular were slightly different than those on the rear-axle housings of a tractor built in 1928. The 1927 tractor had decals portraying double-globes overlaid with the IHC logo on the rear of each axle-housing and a casting-mark on the rear of the right axle-housing. In 1928, the casting-mark was moved by IHC to the front of the left axle-housing to make room for longer decals with the word "Farmall."
The radiator-core was beyond repair and a replacement was purchased from Steiner Tractor Partswww.steinertractor.com The first core was damaged in shipment and the second was not quite square because of a defect during manufacture, so one of the cast-iron side rails had to be adjusted to make the core fit properly.
The governor and the magneto still worked well and required no other work than a thorough surface cleansing. The brass carburetor, on the other hand, required extensive refurbishing.A new cork float had to be made and fitted, amongst other things.
The entire tractor was sandblasted, painted with red-oxide primer, and sprayed with two finish coats of Farmall Gray (CML 0046-1), obtained from the Van Sickle Paint Company www.vansicklepaint.com
A "Do not pull from anything but the drawbar" warning had been stenciled on the pressed-steel cover over the differential gears at the rear of the tractor.This warning was replicated with white vinyl lettering made by Engravers Inc. in Fredericksburg, Texas (830) 990-8062. The IHC double-globe decals were purchased from Plough Book Sales in Belmont, Australia www.ploughbooksales.com.au
A parts manual, an operator's manual and a service manual were purchased from Jensales Tractor Manuals www.jensales.com These were very helpful; however, some of the photos were not applicable, because they portrayed features on later tractors.
The serial number of the tractor was stamped on the top of the left front frame member, immediately in front of the radiator.The serial number on Harold's tractor was 13391, indicating that it was built in August, 1927. The specification plate on the rear of the tool box was missing, so a blank one was purchased from the Fordson House www.thefordsonhouse.com and Harold stamped in the proper numbers.
During the time that the Regular was being restored, Harold was looking forward to taking it to tractor shows and parades. However, one final problem emerged when the tractor turned out to be 3 1/2 inches too wide to fit on Harold's trailer. So, the last part of the restoration project turned out to be moving out the side rails on the trailer 1 3/4 inches on each side to accommodate the tractor.
For additional information about the restoration process or to simply discuss Farmall Regulars, feel free to contact Harold Sohner at email@example.com
PRODUCTION HISTORYThe McCormick-Deering Famall Regular was arguably one of the most important tractors ever produced. It influenced the design of tractors produced by all major tractor companies in the United States. It was the first successful, mass-produced tractor which could cultivate row-crops, plow, and run corn shellers, feed grinders, and other implements connected by a belt. It was the first true tractor that enabled farmers to replace their horses in all aspects of farming.
The individual most responsible for the development of the Regular was Bert Benjamin, Superintendent of Experiments at the McCormick Works Implement Factory. In 1922, he was appointed Assistant Chief Engineer of Farmall Development. He had strong support from Alexander Legge, President of International Harvester, and Edward Johnston, Chief Engineer at the Tractor Works. The concept of the tricycle tractor was not based on any previous design. Within a few years, it became the industry standard. One tractor could do all of the work previously done by horses, and because it was smaller, lighter, and less expensive than earlier tractors, it led to the production of smaller and less expensive implements, as well. Farmers with relatively small operations were able to afford tractors for the first time and, in many cases, eliminate horses completely.
Ed Kimbark suggested the name "Farm-All" in 1919, and "Farmall" was registered with the Copyright Office on July 17, 1923. There was only one Farmall until 1932, when the F-12, the F-14, and the F-30 were introduced, and it became necessary to distinguish between them. At first, the older tractor was simply called the "standard" Farmall or the "regular" Farmall, and this led to the latter name being adopted. The Farmall name was used until 1973.
When coupled with a mounted cultivator, the Regular featured "triple-control" steering. As the tractor was steered down the rows, the cultivator gangs could be shifted left or right to avoid plants that were out of line. Also, cables on both sides of the tractor connected the steering quadrant at the front with the brakes at the back. When the tractor reached the end of a row, turning the steering wheel left or right applied the corresponding brake and the tractor could swing in a tight circle to line up with the next row. The latter feature was discontinued in 1939, when foot brakes became standard. The Regular was also noteworthy for its high rear-axle clearance.
Demand for the Regular increased so rapidly that by 1929, the tractor led the market, supplanting the popular Fordson in sales.
The first mass-produced McCormick-Deering Farmall was built on December 26, 1923, with serial number QC501. Any serial number previous to that was for a prototype or experimental tractor. Production of the Farmall "Regular" ceased with serial number T134954 built on January 5, 1932. Approximately 134,647 Regulars were produced from 1923 to 1932.
Early Famall Regulars were built in the Tractor Works in Chicago, along with McCormick-Deering Titan 10-20 tractors. Rapid sales indicated that the Tractor Works would not be able to keep up with demand, so in 1924 the International Harvester Company purchased the Moline Plow Company factory in Rock Island, Illinois, and renamed it the Farmall Works. The Moline Plow Company continued production during 1924 and 1925 to fill its backog of orders at the same time that the factory was being refitted to make Farmalls. During 1925 and 1926, an increasing number of parts for Farmalls were made and shipped to the Tractor Works in Chicago, where they were used to assemble Farmalls carrying serial numbers with the prefix QC. Complete production of Farmalls was transferred to the Farmall Works in Rock Island in late 1926, and the first tractors assigned serial numbers with the prefix T were 1927 Farmalls built in October, 1926. There were 5,468 Farmalls built at the Tractor Works in Chicago before production was transferred to the Farmall Works in Rock Island.
The chassis serial number was stamped on an aluminum identification plate riveted to the rear of the toolbox, below the fuel tank, and also on the top of the left frame rail, just in front of the radiator, on early tractors and near the clutch housing on late tractors.
The engine serial number was stamped on a raised and machined surface on the left side of the block, just above the water inlet.
CHASSIS SERIAL NUMBER PREFIXES
NUMBER SUFFIXES FROM T-78406 AND UP
ENGINE SERIAL NUMBERS
The prefix QC was used for the engines of all Farmall Regulars. No attempt was made to match chassis and engine serial numbers; however, many Regulars have been identified with matching numbers.
|Engine||IHC 4-cylinder, with overhead valves|
|Displacement||220.9 cubic inches|
|Cylinders||Replaceable, wet-type, close-grained, cast-iron sleeves|
|Bore & Stroke||3.750 / 5.00 inches|
|Pistons||Gray-iron, fully skirted, with 3 compression and one oil ring|
|Crankshaft||Forged-steel, with ball-bearing main bearings, one on each end|
|Connecting Rods||Forged steel, with replaceable bronze-backed and babbit-lined bearing inserts|
|Valves||One intake and one exhaust per cylinder, in a cast-iron, water-jacketed head|
|Camshaft||Gear-driven, with conventional followers, solid lifters, and adjustable tappet levers|
|Intake/Exhaust Manifold||Combination manifold in which exhaust circulated around the intake to heat the fuel.|
QC501 - QC700 had a wire cage covered with a cloth bag.at the top of
the air-intake stack,
Serial numbers QC701 - T103735 used Vortox Model 118 oil-bath air-cleaners.
Serial numbers T103736 and up had IHC Model 20 oil-bath air-cleaners.
- QC700 had adjacent and
parallel intake and exhaust
stacks extending more than 24 inches above the hood.
Serial numbers QC701 - T103735 (Vortox Model 118 air-cleaners) had side-mounted intake pipes leading to tall stacks topped with screens and metal caps.
Serial numbers T-103736 and up (IHC Model 20 air cleaners) had intake pipes leading straight up out of the air-cleaner cannisters and topped with screens and caps.
Serial numbers T132646 and up (IHC Model 20 air cleaners) had a short intake pipes with screens and caps.
|Exhaust Stack||Serial numbers QC501 - QC700 had adjacent and parallel intake and exhaust stacks extending more than 24 inches above the hood. Serial numbers QC701 and up to the end of production directed exhaust to the side from the exhaust manifold just above the left frame rail. No Regulars had conventional mufflers.|
gear-type oil pump in the sump pumped oil through passageways into
troughs cast as an integral part of the oil pan--a separate trough for
each rod bearing. A short scoop on the lower cap of each rod
bearing ran through oil in a trough and by centrifugal force injected
oil through a hole in the lower bearing cap to the bearing itself.
The camshaft bearings were lubricated directly from the oil pump by oil forced under pressure through lines.
The main bearings, cylinder walls, and wrist pins were lubricated by oil splashed throughout the crankcase by the action of the scoops that lubricated the rod bearings.
The valve train was drip-lubricated by small reservoirs above the rocker arms; these reservoirs had to be filled manually.
|Oil Filter||Early models didn't have an oil filter. A Purolater filter was added in 1929 with serial number T64392.|
had the guage in a bracket bolted to the front of the cylinder
head, on the right side.
From serial number T118066 on, guage was threaded directly to base of oil filter.
gallons of water.
No water pump. Water was circulated via a thermo-siphon system, based on the principle that hot water rises because it is less dense, and cold water sinks because it is more dense.
Early radiators had round cooling tubes; later ones had oval tubes which were more efficient.
An 18-inch flat belt drove a 4-blade fan which pulled cool air through the radiator.
|Fuel||Kerosine or distillate. The engine was started with gasoline.|
|Fuel Tanks||The main tank held 13 gallons of kerosene or distillate. A small, circular tank mounted behind the main tank held 0.86 of a gallon of gasoline used to get the engine started.|
type. Serial numbers QC501 - QC8826
had an Ensign Model 3DA600F carburetor, with a 1.00-inch diameter
throat, attached to the manifold with 2 cap screws.
Serial numbers T8827 - T15095 had an Ensign Model R carburetor, with a 1.25 inch diameter throat, attached with 3 cap screws.
Serial numbers T15096 and up had an IHC Model R carburetor, with a 1.25 inch diameter throat, attached with 3 cap screws.
All carburetors had a bottom drip pan to prevent fuel from dripping on the exhaust manifold.
Priming cups protruding through the valve cover delivered gasoline directly to the cylinder-head intake ports.
|Fuel Consumption||2.14 gallons per hour.|
single-speed governor was geared to the camshaft. It maintained the
engine speed at full throttle only. Regulars up to serial number T8826
had a rounded style; serial numbers T8826 and up had a
governor with a more square style.
Throttle and spark-control levers were mounted on the right side of the rear fuel-tank bracket on tractors up to serial number QC700; after that, the levers were mounted on the steering post.
The governor linkage was exposed on serial numbers up to T8826; on serial numbers above that, the linkage was enclosed.
|Number of Plows||2|
behind governor and driven by the governor's drive shaft.
Early Regulars up to serial number T8266 had Splitdorf Dixie Model 46C magnetos with Splitdorf Model B manual-impulse starter couplings.
Serial number T8267 (March 1927) through serial number T132828 had IH Dixie Aero Model E4A magentos with Splitdorf manual-impulse couplings.
Serial numbers T132829 and up had IH Dixie Aero Model E4A magnetos with fully automatic-impulse couplings.
|Air Cleaner||Serial numbers QC701 - T103735 used Vortox Model 118 oil-bath cleaners. Early versions had the word "Pamona" on the identification plate. After March, 1929, this was changed to the word "Vortox." Serial numbers T103736 and up used IHC Model 20 oil-bath cleaners.|
numbers QC501 to T34904 had a multiple-disc clutch consisting of four
lined driving discs and three steel driven discs compressed with one
Serial numbers T34905 and up had a single-disc with a pressure plate containing nine small coil springs and levers.
in conjunction with the belt-pulley drive, which was mounted on the
belly of the tractor.
The PTO and pulley were engaged with a lever on the left side of the transmission.
The PTO shaft was 1 1/8 inches in diameter, with 6 splines.
inch face. Available with 8 1/8, 11 3/8, 14, 15 1/4, or 17 5/8-inch
diameter pulleys for the 74-inch tread tractor.
57-inch tread required a special belt pulley attachment and only 14 or 15 1/4-inch diameter pulleys were available.
The pulley could be removed and a steel plate was available to cover the hole.
|PTO Diameter||1.125 inches|
sliding spur gear transmission bolted to rear-axle housing.
1st gear 2 MPH
2nd gear 3 MPH
3rd gear 4 MPH
Reverse 2.75 MPH
|Final Drive System||The
transmission rear-output shaft was also the differential pinion-gear
shaft. The axles ended in spur gears which engaged large bull gears in
the drop boxes.
Serial numbers T35426 through T35827 had malleable cast-iron rear-axle housings and drop boxes; earlier and later rear-axle housings and drop boxes were cast steel.
Serial numbers QC501 through QC700 had cast-iron differential covers; serial numbers QC701 and up had stamped-steel covers.
The standard tread width was 74 inches; after May 5, 1927, Regulars could be ordered with shorter rear-axle housings, which resulted in a narrow tread width of 57 inches.
|Brakes||Internal-expanding shoe/drum type.. Rotating drums were attached to the ends of the axles, outboard of the drop housings. Brake shoes were attached to the drop housings. Serial numbers QC4225 and up had dust shields. Cables attached to the steering mechanism activated the brakes and enabled small-radius turns. The left brake could also be activated with a hand lever.|
|Frame||2 x 4 x 85-inch frame rails, bolted to the front bolster and the transmission case.|
drawbar was a U-shaped bar mounted horizontally and supported
round rods, which permitted limited vertical adjustment.
A swinging drawbar was available for use with disk harrows, cotton planters, and corn planters.
Special hitches were also available for hay implements.
serial numbers QC501 through QC700, the seat was mounted on
leaf-springs attached to the cast-iron differnetial cover.
From serial number QC701 up, the leaf-springs were bolted to the top of the rear-axle housing.
After some leaf-springs broke and a number of operators were injured, serial numbers T100100 and up had seats mounted on cast-iron (T100100 - T128999) or stamped-steel ( T1290000 and up) channel irons and coil-springs. All Regulars had stamped-steel, 26-hole pan seats.
diameter, four-spoke, cast-iron steering wheel was mounted on a
rod running above the hood to the
top of the front bolster, ending in a straight-cut pinion gear which
engaged a straight-cut gear which drove a tapered pinion gear
engaged the steering sector.
The steering gears were exposed on narrow-front Regulars; the gears were enclosed on wide-front tractors (Duckbill).
A stronger bolster was used on tractors from serial number T29996 and up (June 19, 1928).
numbers from QC501 through T5514 had straight roller bearings; serial
numbers T5515 and up had tapered roller bearings.
Early front wheels had 12 spokes and a small-diameter hub with a three-bolt hubcap.
Wheels were 25 inches in diameter and 4-inches wide, with 1 1/4-inch skid rings.
Serial numbers QC5515 and up had eight spokes, a larger-diameter hub, and 4-bolt hubcaps.
Two-inch high skid rings were optional until October, 1927; after that they were standard.
Regulars had 40-inch diameter by 6-inch wide flat-rim wheels, with
angle lugs, 12 spokes, & small-diameter hubs.
Serial numbers QC5086 (August 4, 1926) to QC5136 had experimental pressed-steel hubs.
After February, 1927, all Regulars had 12-spoke wheels & pressed-steel hubs.
the conventional tractor; 57 inches on the narrow-tread tractor.
The tread could be increased with offset wheels.
|Height||67 inches (to top of steering wheel)|
|Weight||3,650 lbs. (early); 3,950 lbs. (late)|
|Paint||Gray, with red wheels.|
first Regulars had "McCormick-Deering Farmall" stenciled on the sides
of the fuel tank and "Patent Pending" stenciled on the sides
the side rails. Stenciling was changed to the use of decals after March
After March 8, 1926, decals were added throughout the production period; these included "Farmall" decals on each side of the fuel tank, a "Disengage clutch" decal on the rear of the starting-fuel tank, a "Drain oil, oil valve levers, etc." decal on the right side of the valve cover, an "Oil level" decal on the air cleaner oil cup, an "Always close needle valves" decal on the left side of the fuel tank above the "Farmall" decal, a "Do not attempt to pull" decal on the differential cover, a "Read Instruction Book" decal on the Pomona air cleaner, & IHC globe decals on the rear-axle housing on each side of the differential cover. The IHC globe decals were changed to "Farmall" decals after April 26, 1928.
Locations of patent decals changed from the left frame rail (directly below the radiator) to the back of the small fuel tank. A patent decal also was added to the magneto bracket.
# 117 (September 14 - 19, 1925) with serial number QC693.
This was the first test of a true row-crop tractor.
sets for adjustment to altitudes ranging from sea level to 8,000 feet.
Oversize wrist pins to compensate for wear.
After-market kit to change governor from single speed (wide open) to variable speed.
Robert Bosch Models ZU-4 & FU-4 magnetos.
High-speed 7.07 MPH gear set available after May 31, 1934.
Right-hand brake lever available after December, 1931.
Kit to adapt the PTO shaft to a standard ASAE 1 3/8 inch, six-spline shaft.
Swing drawbar with a lever which permitted the operator to lock the drawbar in place from the seat.
Special hay-tool drawbars.
Wood-rimmed steering wheel available after April, 1927.
Nonadjustable, wide-front axle with 30 x 4.1/2-inch wheels and 1 1/4-inch or 3-inch skid rings.
Below serial number QC701, 22-inch diameter front wheels.
Until October, 1927, 2-inch high skid rings; after October, 1927, 1 1/4--inch skid rings for front wheels.
Four-inch wide, cone-shaped extension rims for the front wheels.
After June, 1930, single-rim open-style (Texas-style) front wheels.
Forty-two inch diameter x 8, 12, 14, or 16-inch wide rear wheels.
Forty-two x 8 inch single-rim, open-style (Texas-style) rear wheels.
Various angle-lugs, cone-lugs, and spade-lugs for open-style (Texas-style) rear wheels.
Eight-inch wide golf-course wheels available in February, 1926 (standard on Fairway Model).
Five-inch, 4-inch, or 2 3/4-inch high spade lugs..
Six-inch solid or angle-sectioned extension rims .
Various widths and heights of lugs, as well as extensions to make the lugs taller.
Eight-inch wide adjustable overtires.
Fixed overtires (road bands).
Offset rear wheels, with18 spokes instead of 12.
Forty-two or 47-inch French & Hecht tip-top rims.
Pneumatic tires, after 1932--9.00 x 36-inch rear and 6.00 x 1-inch front.
Rear fenders, after June, 1924.
Foot throttle, after January, 1925.
Front-wheel mud scrapers, after January, 1926.
Prestolite gas light system, after March, 1927.
Cushioned seat (standard on Industrial Model), after November, 1927.
Bosch no-battery electric light attachment, after August 21, 1928.
Narrow-crop front axle, after May, 1929.
Mechanical power lift, after January, 1930.
High-speed cooling fan, after June, 1931.
Hydraulic Lift-All pump, available during the mid-1940's.
After-market (Heisler, M&W Gear Company, etc.) external overdrive gearboxes (6 speeds)
After-market (Behlen Manufacturing Company) road gear.
After-market (Heisler) variable-speed governor control kit.
After-market (Heisler) electric-start kit.
After-market (Tractor Supply Company) 4-inch bore sleeve & piston sets.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF IHC, WITH EMPHASIS ON THE FARMALL REGULARBetween 1810 and 1830, Robert McCormick began work on a horse-drawn reaper. His son, Cyrus, continued the work and developed a working model, with the assistance of his brother Leander. This reaper was patented in 1834. Cyrus McCormick moved to Chicago in 1847, where he and a partner, Charles M. Gray, formed the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company in 1849. The company prospered and had sales of over $1 million by 1874.
William Deering had established a harvester factory in Plano, Illinois. In 1880, Deering moved his enterprise to Chicago, and it, too, did well and became a significant competitor to the McCormick Company.
The early twentieth
century was a turmultous
time in American industry. Large numbers of companies were formed to
develop and market machines to make farming easier and more productive.
Competition was stiff and many of the companies failed due to faulty
products, lack of capital, poor management, and/or inadequate
On August 12, 1902, the financier J.P. Morgan orchestrated and financed a merger between the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, the Deering Harvester Company, and three smaller farm equipment companies--the Plano Manufacturing Company, the Milwaukee Harvester Company, and the Warder, Bushnell & Glessner Company. The new company was called the International Harvester Company (IHC). In recognition of the facilities and cash which they brought to the merger, McCormick held 42.6% of the stock and Deering had 34.4%. Cyrus McCormick, Jr., became the first President and William Deering was appointed Chairman of the Executive Council. During the first year, the new company also acquired D.M. Osborne & Company, the Minneapolis Harvester Company, the Keystone Company, and the factories of the Aultman Miller Company.
The companies continued to function as separate entities, each with its own name and its own management, until the 1920's, when the companies were more fully integrated under the International Harvester name. This was probably due to the many lawsuits which challenged the new company. Meanwhile, the separate companies remained highly competitive. The merger enabled International Harvester to rapidly become a major national and international industry.
International Harvester introduced the Famous Stationary Engine in 1906, and this was used to power large, heavy, and expensive friction-drive traction engines. These tractors, including the Titan and the Mogul, were used for pulling implements such as plows and disk harrows and for powering threshing machines and other machines run by belts. Teams of horses continued to be needed for planting, cultivating, and other row-crop work.
International Harvester and other companies recognized the need for smaller, lighter tractors that were more versatile. As early as 1915, IH was testing three-wheeled motorized cultivators. Prototypes were rejected because they were slow (often slower than the horses they were intended to replace), they tipped over easily, they were cumbersome to drive, and they were too expensive to justify their limited use, By 1920, thinking had advanced to the point where IH engineers were considering the production of an all-around tractor that could pull implements, be belted up to machines, and perform row-crop work with tractor-mounted implements. Early attempts were modifications of motorized cultivators, with large front wheels and a single steered wheel at the back. Eventually, engineers discovered that if the large driving wheels were placed at the back and the tractor was steered at the front, it was much easier to follow the undulations of row crops. Continued experimentation changed the position of the engine from perpendicular to the frame to longitudinal; this led to the invention of the power-take-off. Early prototypes were fairly large and known as the "heavy tractors;" they were eventually rejected as being too expensive and too cumbersome.
Henry Ford had begun experimenting with a farm tractor during the first decade of the 1900's. Work on the tractor was discontinued during the time that the Model T was being developed; however, Ford resumed his work on a tractor in 1915 and 1916, introduced a production model in 1917, and began full production of the Fordson Model F on April 23, 1918. The tractor met with instant success, due to Ford's contract with the British Board of Agriculture to supply tractors for the war effort, pent-up demand for tractors following the war, Ford's extensive distribution network of automobile dealerships, a low price made possible by Ford's manufacturing efficiency, and his astute marketing practices.
During this period, the International-Harvester and McCormic-Deering 10-20 and 15-30 tractors, with their wide front axles and fixed tread widths, continued to be popular; however, they was increasingly challenged by Henry Ford's Fordson, which was lighter, cheaper, and easier to drive. International Harvester's response to this challenge was to begin work on a "lighter tractor" in 1922. Bert Benjamin, David Baker and Philo Danly developed and tested prototypes during 1922 and 1923. The first mass-produced McCormick-Deering Farmall (serial number QC501) was built on December 26, 1923; an initial limited production of 200 Regulars ended on February 12, 1924. Production of the 1925 Farmall, with major improvements, began with serial number QC701 on October 6, 1924, and ended on February 21, 1925 with a limited production of 838 tractors. These tractors were built at the Tractor Works in Chicago; the majority of these tractors were shipped to Texas. Full production of tractors at the Farmall Works in Rock Island began in October, 1926, with the 1927 Farmall. By 1929, the Farmall Regular led the Fordson in sales. On April 12, 1930, the 100,000th Regular rolled off of the assembly line in Rock Island.
The Farmall Regular introduced the concept of the tricycle tractor, with a narrow frame and front end which provided unprecedented visibility of row crops. Large-diameter wheels enabled the tractor to be used with tall crops such as corn and cotton. A variety of mounted implements were available, such as mowers, planters, cultivators, and corn pickers. The Regular had sufficient weight and power for heavy work such as plowing, a PTO allowed the tractor to power pulled implements such as binders, and a variety of pulley sizes could be fitted for belt work with equipment such as feed grinders and threshing machines. The versatility of the Farmall Regular eliminated the need for horses on many farms.
After the success of
the row-crop Farmall,
other companies such as Oliver, Massey-Harris, Minneapolis-Moline,
Case, Allis-Chalmers, and John Deere developed comparable tractors and
it was necessary for International Harvester to improve and expand its
offerings to meet the competition. The F-Series was the result. The
F-30 was introduced in 1931, and the F-12, F-14, and F-20 in 1932,
Standard and industrial (wide-tread) tractors based on the F-Series
were released soon afterwards--the I-12, W-12, O-12 and O-14 in 1934,
and the I-14 and W-14 in 1938. Although they did not enjoy the sales of
of the F-Series, the wide-tread tractors were successful because they
were based on the F-Series and didn't incur additional development
costs. The success of the F-Series continued with the
Letter-Series, which was introduced during the late 1930's and early
1940's. The Letter-Series had many innovative features, as well as
streamlining by Richard Loewy, a prominant industrial designer. The
Farmall Regular and the F-Series were never streamlined.
International Harvester continued to expand its holdings through the decades and eventually offered products which included tractors, stationary engines, trucks, off-road vehicles, construction equipment, household appliances, jet engines, and a full-line of farm equipment. By 1910, IHC grossed over $100 million in annual sales, and this trend continued into the 1950's, when sales exceeded $1 billion. However, overdiversification and lack of corporate focus resulted in large administrative costs and inflexibility to changing needs. John Deere surpassed International Harvester in the manufacture of agricultural equipment during the 1950's. Profits sagged during the 1960's and 70's; although, sales figures remained high. An economic crisis resulted after a five-month union strike during 1979 and 1980, acerbated by a sag in the economy. In 1982, the truck division was split off to be come Navistar, Inc. On November 26, 1984, IHC announced that its Agricultural Equipment Group and the International Harvester name had been sold to Tenneco, Inc. Tenneco already owned an agricultural subsidiary--J.I. Case and International Harvester and Case were merged to form Case IHC. Tenneco also acquired the Steiger Tractor Company. After the sale of the agricultural division to Tenneco, the truck and engine divisions remained and these adopted the corporate name Navistar International Corporation. By 1986, Navistar had become the nation's largest manufacturer of medium to large size trucks and engines, which were sold under the International brand name.
available regarding International Harvester and its products. Popular
titles of interest to IHC collectors and aficionados are cited
below. Obviously, there is a great deal of overlap between the titles;
however, each has either original information or a unique
Baumheckel, Ralph Baumheckel, & Kent Borghoff. International Harvester Farm Equipment; Product History, 1831-1985. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1997.
Fay, Guy. International Harvester Experimental & Prototype Tractors. Motorbooks International, 1997.
Fay, Guy. International Harvester Tractor Data Book. MBI, 1997.
Fay, Guy, and Andy Kraushaar. Farmall Letter Series Tractors. Originality Guide. MBI, 1998.
Fay, Guy, and Andy Kraushaar. Original Farmall Hundred Series, 1954-1958. Motorbooks, 2003.
Klancher, Lee. Farmall; The Golden Age, 1924-1954. MBI, 2002.
Klancher, Lee. International Harvester Photographic History. Motorbooks International, 1996.
Leffingwell, Randy. Farmall; Eight Decades of Innovation. MBI, 2005.
Leffingwell, Randy. International Harvester Tractors. MBI, 2004.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall Cub Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1997.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall F-Series Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1993.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall Model H Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1993.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall Model M Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1994.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall Regular Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1994.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall Super Series Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1996.
Letourneau, P.A. Farmall TracTractor Photo Archive; Photographs from the McCormick-International Harvester Company Collection. Iconografix Photo Archive Series. Iconografix, 1996.
McCormick-IHC Collection at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI). Search under Library & Archives/McCormick Collection of Manuscripts. www.wisconsinhistory.org
National International Harvester Collectors Club. www.nationalihcollectors.com
Pripps, Robert N. International Harvester Tractor. Illustrated Buyer's Guide. MBI, 1995.
Red Power Magazine. www.redpowermagazine.com
Sanders, Ralph W. Vintage International Harvester Tractors. Voyageur Press, 1997.
Updike, Kenneth. Classic Farmall Tractors. Voyageur Press, 2008.
Updike, Kenneth. Farmall Cub & Cub Cadet. Farm Tractor Color History Series. MBI, 202.
Updike, Kenneth. International Harvester Tractors, 1944-1985. Motorbooks, 2000.
Updike, Kenneth. Original Farmall Cub & Cub Cadet. MBI, 2005.
Wendel, Charles H. 150 Years of International Harvester. Motorbooks International, 1993.
Will, Oscar H., III, and Todd Markle. Farmall Regular & F-Series. Collector's Originality Guide. Voyageur Press, 2007.