Tractor & Construction Plant Wiki
Predecessor Massey Manufacturing Co
A.Harris, Son & Co
Successor Massey Ferguson
Founded 1891
Founder(s) Hart Almerrin Massey and Alanson Harris
Defunct 1953
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Products agriculture machinery tractor, combine harvester
Massey Harris 744D EUX 811

Massey-Harris 744D of 1949 fitted with a Perkins diesel engine

Massey-Harris seed drill - rear at Bath - DSC01678 edited

Massey-Harris Seed Drill at the Bath and Southwest Tractor show in 2009

Massey-Harris was started in Canada in 1891, created by the merger of the Massey & Harris manufacturing companies.


Massey Manufacturing Co.[]

The firm was founded in 1847 in Newcastle, Ontario by Daniel Massey as the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufacturers. The company began making some of the world's first mechanical threshers, first by assembling parts from the United States and eventually designing and building their own equipment. The firm was taken over and expanded by his eldest son, Hart Almerrin Massey, who renamed it Massey Manufacturing Co.. In 1879, Hart moved the company to Toronto, Ontario, where it soon became one of the city's leading employers. The massive collections of factories on King St. West became one of the best known features of the city. Massey expanded the company and began to sell its products internationally. Through extensive advertising campaigns he made it one of the most well-known brands in Canada. The firm owed much of its success to Canadian tariffs that prevented the larger American firms from competing in Canada.[citation needed] A labour shortage throughout the country also helped to make the firm's mechanized equipment very attractive. Further, the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1885), and Toronto's direct connection to it via Nipissing Junction, near North Bay, ON. (1886) facilitated direct sales and distribution to the settlement of the western prairie provinces, a very large and expanding market.

A. Harris, Son & Co. Ltd[]

Alanson Harris, a farmer and mill owner, founded his implement business in 1857 at Beamsville, and was later joined by his son, John, in partnership in 1863. Using some good American designs, such as the Kirby mower and reaper, business flourished, and the company became keen competitors to the Massey company, moving to Brantford in 1872. During the 1880s, the "Brantford binder" became one of the firm's best-selling lines and in 1890, the Harris Co. introduced the open-end binder, a modification of the D.M. Osborne company design. Hart Massey, beaten for the first time in a technological advance, did not counter with his own technological change. Instead, he proposed a merger of the two companies. Alanson, perhaps recognizing after the death of his son in 1889 that this course was astute, agreed, and on 6 May 1891, Massey-Harris Company Ltd. was formally established.[1]

Massey Harris 201

Massey Harris 201 (One of only 503 made) on the Massey Ferguson owners group Stand at the at the 2008 Newby Hall Vintage Show in Yorkshire.

The Merger Of Massey & Harris companies[]

Massey-Harris sn plate 2080 DSC01637 edited

The serial Nimber plate for a British Massey Harris tractor

In 1891, Massey merged with the A. Harris, Son & Co. Ltd. to become Massey-Harris Co. and became the largest agricultural equipment maker in the British Empire. In 1910, the company opened a factory in the United States, making it one of Canada's first multinational firms.

The Massey-Harris Company decided that they needed a tractor in their range, so in 1917, they introduced Bull tractors built in the U.S. and branded them as Massey-Harris for the Canadian market. When in 1919 the Bull Tractor Co. failed, Massey-Harris then sold tractors based on Parrett designs that were built over the border in Chicago.[2]

In the 1930s, they introduced the first self-propelled combine harvester. Massey Harris also produced one of the world's first four-wheel drive tractors. Hart Massey's sons, Charles, Chester, Walter, and Fred became closely involved in the business and eventually took over its operations. They were, however, the last generation of the Massey family to run the company. Other members of the family went on to do other accomplishments: Vincent Massey became Governor General of Canada and Raymond Massey became a noted actor in American films. The Massey family used their fortune to improve the city of Toronto, and many institutions, such as the University of Toronto, Upper Canada College, Crescent School, Appleby College, Massey Hall and Metropolitan United Church, were partially financed by the Massey family.

Between the two World Wars, Massey-Harris also opened factories in France and Germany. In 1930 they acquired a majority interest in H.V. McKay Pty. of Sunshine, near Melbourne, Australia. In 1946 Massey-Harris began producing mowers and hay machinery at Trafford Park, Manchester in the United Kingdom, (an industrial area now more famous for football as home to Manchester United and shopping at The Trafford Centre other neighbours included Ford and cereal maker Kellogs).

Imported Canadian built 44 and 55 tractors were sold by the U.K. branch of the company until the 744 PD went into limited production at Manchester in 1948. The British division of the company Massey-Harris Ltd, had operations in Manchester, England and Kilmarnock, in Scotland.

J I Case Plow Works Company Take over[]

Main article: Wallis

In 1928 after 2 years of negotiations to market Wallis tractors, built by the J.I. Case Plow Works of Racine, Wisconsin, USA. In 1928 Massey Harris bought the company, and gained a tractor to add to their line up. They then sold the J. I. Case Plow Co. name to the J. I. Case Threshing Machine Co., effectivly bring back together the Case company that had split years earlier. The Wallis tractor was then developed to form the Challenger and Pacemaker models in 1936.[3]

The Formation of Massey-Harris-Ferguson[]

For more details of the merger, see Massey-Ferguson.

In 1953, the company merged with the Ferguson Company to become Massey-Harris-Ferguson, before finally taking on its current name in 1958. But the company soon began to decline financially. Facing increasing international competition and an agricultural sector diminishing in importance, the firm began to struggle. See Massey Ferguson for details post merger.

Model Range[]



See also: Wallis

UK Preserved Examples[]



See also[]


External links[]

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