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      Tractor: Tractor: THE BEGINNINGS OF MASS PRODUCTION
    Posted on Tuesday, October 19 @ 12:12:06 UTC by Cars
     
     
      Tractor THE BEGINNINGS OF MASS PRODUCTION The contrasting economic conditions facing farming on either side of the Atlantic prior to World War I meant that America was where the majority of tractor production took place. Because of the differing sizes of farms on the two continents, designs that were specific to American prairie cultivation began to emerge and machines designed for drawbar towing of implements, especially ploughs, were experimented with.

    The International Harvester Corporation was formed in 1902 through the merger of McCormick and Deering. Along with other companies, such as Avery, Russell, Buffalo-Pitts and Case, they built experimental machines at the beginning of the 20th century. Case built one in 1911 and by 1913 the company was offering a viable gasoline-powered tractor. Another early tractor was manufactured by two engineers, Charles Hart and Charles Parr. Although this first model was heavy and ungainly, they quickly went on to produce more practical machines, including the 12-27 Oil King. By 1905 the company was running the first factory in the United States dedicated solely to the manufacture of tractors. Many early tractors were massive machines styled after steam engines, because their makers assumed that the new gasoline-powered machines would simply replace steam engines as a source of power and perhaps did not envisage the much wider role that tractors would come to play in farming. The trend to smaller tractors started in the second decade of the 20th century. Among the pioneers who made small tractors were the Bull Tractor Company with a three-wheeled machine, Farmer Boy, Steel King, Happy Farmer, Allis-Chalmers and Case. The latter manufactured the 10-20 in 1915. As early as 1912, the Heer Engine Company of Portsmouth, Ohio produced a four-wheel-drive tractor. The Wallis Tractor Company produced a frameless model known as the Cub in 1913 while, six years earlier, the Ford Motor Company had built the prototype of what was intended to become the world's first mass-produced agricultural machine. The company did not actually start mass production of its first tractor, the Fordson Model F, until 1917. The frameless design, light weight and automobile-style method of production meant that the Ford Motor Company was soon among the industry leaders in tractor manufacture. Many early tractors were built with two-cylinder engines as their source of power but even this allowed for a variety of configurations, including horizontally opposed cylinders, vertical and horizontal twins and the design of crankshafts, which varied as engineers sought to make engines as powerful and reliable as possible. John Deere's two-cylinder machines earned their "Johnny Popper" nickname from the distinctive exhaust note created by a crankshaft on which the con rods were offset by 180 degrees. The theory behind the offset crankshaft was that it would eliminate much of the engine's vibration. J. I. Case favoured the horizontally opposed twin in an attempt to minimize vibrations. The popularity of tractors soared and, while a handful of only six tractor makers were recorded in the United States in 1905, there were in excess of 160 operating by 1920. Many of these companies were not realistic long-term propositions and others were bankrupted by the Wall Street Crash, while a number of companies all but disappeared in mergers. In Britain, Hornsby of Lincoln was building tractors by the 1890s. Its first model, the Hornsby-Akroyd Patent Safety Oil Traction Engine, was completed in 1896. It weighed 8.5 tons and was powered by an oil-burning Stuart and Binney engine that was noted for its reliability. Tlie engine was started by means of a blowlamp that created a hot spot in the cylinder head and so allowed the single-cylinder engine to fire up without the need for an electric starting mechanism. Hornsby used a 20hp engine with a horizontal cylinder for its tractor and constructed four of these machines. One of them was exhibited at the Royal Show in 1897 and was awarded the Silver Medal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England. In September of that year a landowner called Mr Locke-King bought one of the tractors: this was the first recorded sale of a tractor in Britain. The Hornsby Company supplied various machines to the British War Office with a view to military contracts, and experimented extensively with crawler tracks. The patents that it took out for these tracks were later sold to the Holt concern in the United States. Fetter's ofYeovil and Albone and Saunderson of Bedford both built tractor-type machines. Dan Albone was a bicycle manufacturer with no experience of the steam propulsion industry, so he approaclied the idea of the tractor from a different viewpoint. He combined ideas from the automobile industry with those of agriculture and built a tractor named after the River Ivel. Albone's machine was a compact three-wheeled design, which was practical and suited to a variety of farm tasks. It was a success and went into production; some machines were exported and the company would no doubt have become a major force in the industry had it not been for Albone's death in 1906. The company ceased production in 1916. Herbert Saunderson was a blacksmith who went to Canada where he became involved with farm machinery and the Massey-Harris Company. He returned to Britain as that company's agent and imported its products. Later he branched out into tractor manufacture on his own account. Initially Saunderson built a three-wheeled machine because Albone's Ivel was attracting considerable attention at the time. Later, in 1908, a four-wheeled machine was constructed and the company grew to be the largest manufacturer and exporter of tractors outside the United States. A later model was the Saunderson Universal Model G. When World War I started, Saunderson was the only company in Britain large enough to meet the increasing demand for tractors. In the mid-1920s Saunderson sold his business to Crossley. Other manufacturers were also developing tractors at this time, including Ransome's of Ipswich. Petter produced its Patent Agricultural Tractor in 1903. Marshall and Daimler built machines and looked for export sales. To this end a Marshall tractor was exhibited in Winnipeg, Canada in 1908. In 1910 Werkhuizen Leon Claeys, founded in 1906, built its factory in Zedelgem, Belgium, to manufacture harvesting machinery. There were other, similar, tentative steps being made in numerous European countries. However, because labour was more plentiful and cheaper in Europe than in the United States, technological innovation was slower as it was not such an economic necessity. In Germany, Adolf Altona built a tractor powered by a single-cylinder engine that featured chain drive to the wheels. This machine was not wholly successful but considerable progress was made in Europe as a result of Rudolph Diesel's experiments with engines. Diesel (1858-1913), sponsored by Krupp in Berlin, created a low-cost reliable engine that ultimately bore his name; it operated by compression-ignition and ran on heavy oil. Diesel experimented in France, England and Germany and found widespread acceptance of his engines throughout the world. He disappeared off a British cross-channel steamer during the night of 29 September 1913 and is believed to have committed suicide. Deutz introduced a tractor and motor plough of what was considered to be an advanced design in 1907. Deutsche Kraftplug, Hanomag, Pohl and Lanz were four other German companies involved in the manufacture of tractors and powered agricultural machinery. In France, De Souza and Gougis were two of the manufacturers that entered tractors in a tractor trial held at the National Agricultural College at Grignon, near Paris, where tractors undertook a variety of voluntary and compulsory tests. Elsewhere in Europe, progress was also being made. Munktell in Sweden made a tractor in 1913 and in Italy Pavesi made the Tipo B. In 1910, Giovanni Landini manufactured the first tractor with a fixed-mounted "hot-bulb" engine. In Russia an engineering company produced three designs prior to World War I. Experimentation with tractors, crawler tracks and agricultural machinery continued until the outbreak of World War I. Farming had been depressed during this time, but the war demanded a huge jump in productivity. The British wartime government instituted policies to encourage increased domestic food production, including speeding up the rate of mechanization in an attempt to increase productivity and reduce the labour needed. A number of tractor producers had gone over to war-related work - Ruston Hornsby of Lincoln was involved with tank experimentation - but Saunderson tractors were in production and Weeks-Dungey entered the market in 1915. Importing tractors from the United States was seen as a quick way to increase their numbers on British farms. The International Harvester Corporation marketed the models from its range that it considered to be most suited to British farming conditions: the Titan 110-20 and the Mogul 8-16. The Big Bull was marketed as the Whiting-Bull and a Parret model was renamed the Clydesdale. Another import was the Waterloo Boy, sold in Britain as the Overtime by the Overtime Farm Tractor Company. The Austin Motor Company offered a g Peoria model and marketed it in Britain as the Model 1 Culti-Tractor. The war was to have far-reaching effects on both the economics of farming and on the production of tractors.
     
     
     
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