The Farmall was the name of a make of tractor and later a brand name for tractors manufactured by International Harvester. The original Farmall was the first general purpose tractor with narrowly spaced front wheels. The narrow front combined with good ground clearance allowed for more nimble and accurate field cultivation, yet the Farmall could perform all the other duties a farmer would have previously achieved using a team of horses.

In time, other tractor manufacturers introduced models with a similar form factor (Shape) as the Farmall. As a class, these are generally referred to as row crop tractors.

In 2011 the Farmall brand was reintroduced to the market ona line of smaller models in Europe.[citation (source) needed]


Farmall (as found) -Driffield-P8100548

A Farmall displayed in as found condition at a Tractor show

Farmall -unrestored-Driffield-P8100582

An unrestored Farmall

Farmall BN tricycle-lamma-IMG 4511

A restored Farmall BN in single wheel tricycle version on display at the LAMMA show at Newark in 2009

McCormick-deering WD-9 at Bromyard 08 - P7060180

A McCormick WD-9

Farmall Cub at Astwood Bank 2008

A restored Farmall Cub

Farmall and the F-seriesEdit

The first row crop tractor manufactured by IH was given the name Farmall. Development began around the start of the 1920s, and the tractor was introduced in 1924. IH was fearful that this new "tricycle" type of tractor may not sell well, so when the tractors rolled out, they were meant to be sold only in Texas, as to minimize potential embarrassment if not successful.

The Farmall name became so famous that it came to be treated as a brand name. Originally, however, Farmall was a model or type name of McCormick-Deering.[1]

Farmall model M

A Farmall M model in unrestored condition displayed at a show in the UK

In 1932 IH introduced an updated Farmall, which received the designation Farmall F-20. The F-20 replaced the original Farmall, which became known by the Retronym Regular (after the introduction of the F-20). IH also added other new tractors to the series which became known as the "F-series". These included the Farmall F-30 (1931), the Farmall F-12 (1932), and the Farmall F-14 (1938). All Farmall tractors were painted battleship grey until November 1, 1936, when a switch to red was made.[2]

Letter seriesEdit

The F-series tractors lasted until 1938. In 1939, the "letter series" of tractors was introduced (A, B, BN, H, and M; in 1948 a new model called the C replaced the B and BN models). IH commissioned industrial designer Raymond Loewy gave the tractors a new, sleek look. The letter series offered a wider variety of options and power.

The tractors were updated to the "super" series beginning in 1947 with the Super A, followed by the Super C in 1951, the Super M in 1952 and finally the Super H in 1953 and each received many improvements. Many of these tractors (especially the two largest: the H and M models) are still in operation on farms today. The letter series of tractors was produced until 1954, a total of 15 years, and was a defining product line in IH history.

Letters to numbersEdit

For 1955 model IH tractors, the numbered "hundred-series" were offered. The "100" series models were given slightly different looks and few new features, but were essentially the famed "letter series" tractors. In 1957, IH again gave the tractor lineup an overhaul. Although the tractor design wasn't changed, new white paint was added to the grill and sides and new number designations were given. This improved sales at the time, but IH's inability to change and update was already showing.[3]

At the Hinsdale, Illinois Testing Farm in July 1958, IH entertained over 12,000 dealers from over 25 countries. IH showed off their new "60" series of tractors: including the big, first of their kind, six-cylinder 460 and 560 tractors. But the joy of the new line of tractors was short lived. In June of that year, IH recalled the 460, 560, and 660 tractors: their final drive components had repeatably failed in production models. IH, who wanted to be the first big-power manufacturer, had failed to substantially update the final drives on the new six-cylinder tractors. These final drives, which were essentially made up of unchanged model "M" components, would fail rapidly under the stress of the more powerful 60-series tractors. IH's competitors took advantage of the recall, and IH would lose customers in the ensuing months.[3]

Throughout the 1960s IH would introduce new tractors, and new methods of selling them. As producing tractors was the lifeblood of the company, IH would have to remain competitive in this field. They both succeeded and failed at this goal.

Standard, industrial, utility and other special purpose modelsEdit

Many Farmall tractor models have one or more mechanically similar models under another IH brand designed for other uses, such as industrial, utility, orchard or wheatland use. These models have lower ground clearance and a wide front axle. During the letter series era, these alternate models were under the McCormick-Deering brand, later models were under the International brand. Some examples of similar models:

The International 656 Row-Crop was a bit of an anomaly until IH dropped the Farmall brand, in that it combined some of the customary features of a Farmall (such as an adjustable wheel width) with a utility tractor.

End of an eraEdit

1973 would see some important events for IH. On February 1, 1974 at 9 A.M., the 5 millionth tractor came off the assembly line at the Farmall Plant in Illinois. IH was the first tractor manufacturer to accomplish this.[3]

Finally in 1973, IH officially dropped the Farmall name from its new tractor offerings after this date. This ended an era that began with the first Farmall Regular back in 1924. However, Farmall tags still appeared on some 1974 and 1975 tractors until the factories exhausted their stock of tags made before 1973.[4]

In 2011 the Farmall brand name was reintroduced on some models for the European market.[citation (source) needed]

Model list and power ratingsEdit

Farmall BMD

A typical original Farmall BMD in unrestored condition at show in the UK

Generally tractors were marketed by the number of 16" width plows (plough UK) they could pull in average soil to indicate their power.

Here is a list of all Farmall tractors produced for North America:

Note: Depending on the plough width used, a three-plough tractor could handle a four- or five-bottom plough. For example, in the 1950s and 60s it was very popular to upgrade the Super M-TA and 400 model 264 cid engine to 281 cid version. An economical cylinder sleeve and piston change was all that was needed. This brought the power level up to that of the 450 model. Above are general ploughing abilities. These plow ratings are generalizations dependent on soil conditions but were advertised as such.

There were also some Farmall models unique to the European market:

These models had a direct start diesel engines rather than gasoline start system of their American counterpart.[4]

Production informationEdit

Farmall Cub at Astwood Bank 2008

Farmall Cub at Astwood Bank Vintage Gathering 2008

The Farmall Cub, A, B, 100, 130, and 140 models had the seat offset from the engine, allowing the operator to look directly at the ground under the tractor. This feature was called Culti-Vision because it was created to give the operator an excellent view of the cultivator teeth as they cultivated the vegetable row. (Cultivating in this context refers to breaking up the soil next to the vegetable row, which kills weeds by uprooting them and/or burying their leaves).

IH "Red" became the standard tractor color after 1936 through the 1970s. The only variations known from the factory were Highway Yellow, used for municipal and Demonstrator White, used in the 1950s or Gold, exclusively in 1970, used for dealership demonstrator models. Tractors with other colors have been known to exist outside of the official colors. Most likely these were painted by the dealer at owner request, or painted by their owners.

The first Farmall tractor with an optional diesel engine was the M. It started on gasoline and was manually switched to diesel after warming up. The Super MD, 400, and 450 diesels used the same engine design as the M but with larger displacement (more cubic inches). The next Farmall tractor to offer diesel power was the 350. Unlike other diesel engines that IH manufactured itself, the 350 engine was built by Continental Motors. It was IH's first 'self-start' diesel tractor (no gasoline). IH then developed their own new self-start diesel engines for the 460 and 560 tractors.

The Torque Amplifier (TA), first introduced on the Super M in 1954, was an extra low-range gear ratio (comparable to the two-speed rear of a truck) that allowed for a quick downshift without the clutch to gain torque at the drive wheels. The TA model was then called Super M-TA. The TA became an option on the model 300 and larger tractors after 1955.

The Fast Hitch was IH's answer to the Ferguson System (three-point hitch) developed years earlier by Harry Ferguson. The Fast Hitch was first offered as an option on the Super C. Fast Hitch was then an option on the 100, 200, 300, and 400 and some later models. However, even the Fast Hitch had three incompatible variants (100—single prong, 200—two small prongs, 300/400—two large prongs). IH discontinued the Fast Hitch in the 1960s after the three-point hitch was standardized by the industry. There are kits available from a variety of sources that will either convert a Fast Hitch to a three-point, or add a three-point hitch to tractors that originally only had a fixed drawbar.

International Harvester was one of the earliest manufacturers to provide a stepless transmission in a row crop tractor. Introduced first as an option on Farmall 656 and 544 tractors, the hydrostatic transmission would become a defining feature of the Farmall 70 Hydro and Farmall 100 Hydro models. Note some models were marketed under the IH brand or International in the UK

Production factsEdit

  • From 1924 until 1963, Farmalls were the largest selling row crop tractors.
  • The Farmall H, produced from 1939 to 1952, became the top selling individual tractor model of all time in North America with over 390,000 sold.
  • The Farmall Cub (later re-named International Cub) remained in production the longest from 1947 until 1979 with very minor updates in engineering & design.
  • The Farmall Culti-Vision feature remained in production the longest from 1939 - 1979.
  • A few clever mechanics have created so called Super H-TA (Super H with Torque Amplifier), Super HD (Super H Diesel) and F-16 tractors. IH never manufactured such models.[5]
  • The Farmall Works plant at Rock Island, Illinois opened in 1926. The last tractor was built on May 14, 1985.
  • International's Ag division was sold to Tenneco in 1984.
  • Case IH has revived the Farmall brand on some of their latest tractors.
  • The Farmall Hydro 1066 had less drawbar power than the gear-drive Farmall 1066, leading to the creation of the Farmall Hydro 100.

International Harvester Farmall Regular specsEdit

  • Production: 1924-1932
  • Length: 136" Width: 86" Height: 67"
  • Weight: 3950 kg
  • Belt Hp: 20.05 Draw bar Hp: 13.27 Maximum Pull: 2728 lb
  • Number of Plows: 2
  • Fuel Efficiency: 9.64
  • Engine: IHC 4 Cylinder
  • Displacement: 220.9 Bore: 3.750
  • Stroke: 5.000 Rpm: 1200
  • Magneto: E4-A or Dixie Aero
  • Air Cleaner: Vortox 118 or IHC
  • Carburetor: Ensign R or IHC
  • Pulley Size: 14x6.5 Pulley Rpm: 693
  • Pto Diameter: 1.125 Pto Rpm: 535
  • Gears -Forward Speeds: 2, 3, 4 -Reverse Speeds: 2.75
  • Wheels - Front Tires: Steel - Rear Tires: Steel

Preserved examples of Farmall ModelsEdit

See the related model article for details (or if it does not exist you can start one).

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

  1. Pripps, Robert (1995). International Harvester Tractor Buyer's Guide. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 46. ISBN 0-7603-0011-9. 
  2. Klancher, Lee 1996. International Harvester Photographic History, Motorbooks International, Osceola, Wisconsin, p.123
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Updike, Kenneth (2000). International Harvester Tractors 1955-1985. Osceola, WI: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0-7603-0682-6. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pripps, Robert (2004). The Field Guide to Farmall Tractors. St. Paul, MN: Voyageur Press, 160. ISBN 0-89658-558-1. 
  5. "Farm Collector magazine, Nov. 2004".

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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