Kay's McCormick-Deering OS-4


OS-4 One
OS-4 Two OS-4 Three


Kay Allen's McCormick-Deering OS-4 was listed on www.ebay.com in 2009 and she purchased it from from the owner in Red Oak, Texas. This gentleman had purchased it in Oklahoma and driven it in parades in East Texas. He knew nothing of its previous history.

The O-4 and OS-4 were the orchard models of the W-4, and the W-4 was the "regular" or "standard" model of the Farmall H. Although based on the Farmall H, the W-4's front axles, front frame, sheet metal, hitches, etc. were different. Although the W-4 was an agricultural tractor, it was intended for use with grain, hay, etc., and did not have the narrow front end needed for row-crop work. The W-4, O-4, OS-4, I-4 (industrial model), and later "Super" models made up the McCormick-Deering Four Series. "Super" models had the C-164 (164 cubic-inch) engine produced by increasing the bore of the C-162 engine by 3/8 inch. This increased the horsepower rating to 30 HP at the PTO/belt using distillate and 33 HP using gasoline.

The McCormick-Deering name was used on standard models for more than  three decades before being replaced by the International Harvestor name. The W-4 was the first tractor to use the McCormick-Deering name. Later models of the McCormick-Deering Four Series had just the name McCormick, along with the IH logo.

The OS-4 was less expensive than the O-4, because the OS-4 did not have the full fenders of the O-4. The OS-4 had the same fenders as the W-4. Full fenders weren't needed in orchards and groves with taller trees without lower branches. The O-4 and OS-4 had many characteristics of the W-4 and the Farmall H; differences included lowered seats; lowered steering wheels and controls; hand clutches; downward-pointing exhaust pipes; fairings which covered steering wheels, air intakes and fuel caps; and slower speeds of 1 1/2 MPH forward in first gear (versus 2 3/8 MPH) and 1 3/4 MPH in reverse (instead of 2 3/4 MPH). These slower speeds were more appropriate for spraying or pulling wagons to pick up fruit. The O-4 and OS-4 were about 20 inches lower than the W-4.

The McCormick-Deering OS-4 was built at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois. It was authorized on October 19,1944 and production began on November 30,1944. The Model OS-4 was discontinued on January 13, 1954; a total of 1,267 were produced. The price of an OS-4 in 1951 was $1,923

If you wish to contact Ms. Allen, please send a request to the WEBMASTER and it will be forwarded to Ms. Allen.


International Harvestor usually began assigning serial numbers to a new model with number 501. There was no attempt to match chassis and engine numbers; although, many times they were the same or fairly close to each other.

OS-4 chassis serial numbers were included in the W-4 sequence, The first W-4 was released in 1940, with serial number 501; the last W-4 was number 34076, built in 1953. Super W-4' s were built in 1953 and 1954, with serial numbers ranging from 501 to 3292 (some sources say 3932). Engine serial numbers were listed separately and were not part of the W-4 listings.

The first OS-4 was serial number 11170 produced in 1944; the last OS-4 was number 33753 manufactured in 1953. The serial number of Kay Allen's OS-4 is OBHS19331, it was made in 1948.

YEAR 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946
SERIAL # 501 943 4056 5693 7593 11171 13934

YEAR 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953
SERIAL # 16022 18880 21912 24470 28167 31214 33067

Chassis Serial Number Location:  Plate on left side of clutch housing Chassis Prefix:  OBHS
Engine Serial Number Location:  Pad on right side to crankcase Engine Prefix:  OBHSM


CHASSIS Chassis:    4 x 2 WD
Frame: Two-piece frame. The front part was a large iron casting to which were attached the steering bolster, radiator, engine, & bottom half of the clutch housing. The rear frame consisted of the top half of the clutch housing, the transmission case & the differential/axle housing.
Steering: Worm & gear type near the steering wheel on the left side, with a drag-link to the front steering bolster. The soft-rubber steering wheel was made by French & Hecht.
Brakes: External constricting shoes on forged-steel drums mounted on the differential shafts; later models had gray iron drums. The shoes & drums were encased in housings.
Power Take-Off:1 3/8 inch splined shaft. 
Front Tires: 5.5 x 16
Rear Tires: 11.25 x 25 or 12:00 x 26
Drawbar: Swinging.
Hydraulics: Lift-All Hydraulic Lift. In 1947 about 100 O-4s and OS-4s were equipped with live hydraulics; this became standard in 1951.
Seat: Adjustable, with cotton-duck covering.
ENGINE Type: C-152 4-cylinder, with overhead valves & removable sleeves.
Bore/Stroke: 3.375 x 4 1/4 inches.
Displacement: 152 cubic inches
Compression: 5.9:1 for high-octane gasoline (70 octane or higher); 4.75:1  for regular gasoline & distillate; 4.5:1  for kerosene.
Cylinder Heads: Three different heads to produce three different compression ratios.
Valves: Different intake & exhaust valves for different compression ratios. The valve-guides were replaceable.
Lubrication: A gear-type pump with a strainer produced 60-70 PSI pressure, except for the pistons & piston pins that were splash lubricated. The system incorporated a Purolater canister-type oil filter.
Rated RPMs: 1000-1650 RPMs.
Drawbar Horsepower:  22 HP with distillate; 25 HP with gasoline.
PTO/Belt Horsepower:  24 with distillate; 27.5 with gasoline.
Engine Mounts: Early models were mounted on rubber to reduce vibration; these mounts were subject to failure & were eliminated in later models.
FUEL Carburator:  1-inch IH D-10 downdraft.
Fuel Filter: Glass-bowl type.
Air Filter: Donaldson oil-washed filter.
Fuel:  High-octane gasoline, regular gasoline, distillate, or kerosene.
Intake Manifolds: A "cold" manifold for a high-compression engine; a "hot" manifold for a low-compression engine. The "hot" manifold had an adjustable heat control that circulated hot exhaust gases around the intake manifold to help vaporize low volitility fuels. The O-4 & OS-4 had a heat shield between the carburator & the engine.
Governor: Variable type. The throttle led to the governor, which controlled fuel/air input to the carburator.
COOLING SYSTEM Early models incorporated a fan which pulled air through the radiator. Later models had a fan which blew air through the radiator to avoid clogging the radiator with dust and debris.
Early models had manually-controlled shutters in front of the radiator; later models had thermostats.
CAPACITIES Cooling capacity:  4 1/4 gallons
Oil capacity:    6 qts.
Fuel Tank Capacity:  17 1/2 gallons--7/8 gallon starting
Clutch: Rockford 10-inch, single, dry disk.
Forward Speed with 12:00 x 26 Tires
1st gear:  1 1/2 MPH
2nd gear: 3 1/8 MPH
3rd gear:  4 MPH
4th gear:  5  MPH
5th gear:  14 5/8 MPH

Reverse:: 1 3/4 MPH
DIMENSIONS Weight:  4,120 lbs., equipped
Wheelbase:  66 3/4 inches
Length:  120 7/8 inches
Width:  55 1/2 inches
Available Tread Widths:  45 7/8 inches front, 41 3/4 inches rear
Height:  57 1.8 inches
Ground Clearance: 18-20 inches, depending on tire size.
EQUIPMENT Regular Equipment:  Gasoline engine, heat indicator, magneto, hand-operated single-plate over-center clutch, front drawbar, low-swinging adjustable drawbar, tilt-back waterproof upholstered seat, & pneumatic tires.
Attachments and Special Features:  Distillate/kerosene engine, muffler, radiator shutter, belt pulley, PTO, electric starting & lighting, wheel weights, 7-MPH 4th gear, engine-operated tire pump, and 5,000 & 8,000-foot high-altitude pistons.


Between 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. In1880, 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 marketing. 

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. 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. The Super H and Super Four Series were introduced on December 12, 1952, and were discontinued in late 1954. They were replaced by the number series, which was introduced on December 15, 1954.

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. Funds for research, development and testing were routed to other areas and, as a result, tractors with faulty crankshafts, clutches, and final drives were released and millions of dollars were spent on warranty claims, recalls and rebuilds. John Deere surpassed International Harvester in the manufacture of agricultural equipment during the 1950's. 

IHC began a massive program of product development in the 1950's in an effort to regain its former share of the market. Amongst other things, the company experimented with gas turbines, free-piston engines, fuel cells, and regenerative solar engines. Tractors with hydrostatic drives, torque amplifiers, and four-wheel drive were issued in the early 1960's. Also, the company began to produce garden tractors during that period. The weight-transfer hitch was introduced in 1968. During the 1960's, IHC introduced new procedures for obtaining feedback regarding customer satisfaction with IHC products and dealerships, and computers were acquired to assist with research, testing, inventory control, etc.

There was constant demand for larger and more powerful tractors during the 1960's and 1970's. IHC did not have funds to build new factories and equip them, so the company began "badge engineering" by acquiring tractors from other manufacturers and labeling them as IHC products. The Steiger four-wheel-drive articulated tractor was a notable example of this.

Profits sagged during the 1960's and 70's; although, sales figures remained high. IHC's aging factories and equipment attracted increasing scrutiny and regulation by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although the Agricultural Equipment Group was profitable, other divisions such as the Construction Equipment Division and the Truck Division were consistantly showing deficits, and IHC's Wisconsin Steel Company was registering huge losses. An economic crisis resulted after a five-month union strike during 1979 and 1980, acerbated by a sag in the economy. Development costs continued to rise. Although sales were at record levels in 1980, the company could not continue three decades of steady decline. Something had to be done.

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.