The history about the Ferguson tractor
The amazing story of an inventor - Harry Ferguson. Harry Ferguson was a small, slender Northern Irishman with a big idea - to see the world be well supplied with cheap food.
Harry was born November 4, 1884 on a farm near Dromore in County Down. Throughout most of his childhood he helped his father and brothers to lend a hand with the daily chores on the farm. He realized that agriculture was a lot of hard work and inconsiderable profit. That was how Harry got his interest in making farming more effective, and this interest would come to mean a lot for agricultural prosperity.
Harry Ferguson was interested in motors of any kind. He started in his brothers garage, later he constructed motorcycles from his own idea, which he won several races on. Later he was overcome by the development of aircraft and started to build his own airplane. He later co-founded the Ulster TT racing, one of the most famous race at the time.
In 1910 he set up his own garage in Belfast. When the food situation deteriorated, the Irish Department of Agriculture asked him to take over supervision of the operation and maintenance of all tractors and agricultural machinery in the country. That was where the first seeds were laid for his pioneering work on the tractor development.
The tractors were big and heavy and the implements needed to be adjusted manually, which meant that the driver had to spend time to get off the tractor and make the necessary adjustments. Harry saw, that there was a need to adapt the implements and connect them with the tractors, so they could function as one unit instead of two.
Ferguson worked with his ideas for 20 years. The result was a prototype of a light plough with a mounting system for mounting on a Fordson tractor, which he demonstrated for Henry Ford.
Ferguson had hoped that Ford would produce his plow. Due to lack of materials in England, it had to be produced in America, but that was not the case. Instead it was the manufacturers George and Eber Sherman, Ohio, that in the years 1922-1928 came to produce them under the name Ferguson-Sherman Corporation.
The ploughs were mounted on Fordson tractors, but when the production was no longer profitable for Ford, it was stopped, and thus the foundation for the sale of Ferguson plow disappeared. But Ferguson was not beaten. He planned instead to produce his own tractor.
His idea was to construct a tractor with associated implements, which could cover the farming's normal needs and that could be used anywhere in the world, with higher productivity and lower costs as a result. The prototype was ready in 1933. It weighed only 800 kg, had a three-point suspension system and an associated hydraulic implement control, which made it considerably different from the common tractors.
Despite its modest size, the tractor was more effective than the bigger tractors. The hydraulic lift combined with the mounting system was labor-saving and made the tractor safer to operate. The implements could be mounted on the tractor and transported in raised position out to the field, where the implements could be lowered into the ground with a handle. When you reached the end of the field, you would raise the implement from the ground, turn the tractor quickly and easily, after which the implement again was lowered into the ground.
What was crucial to the tractor being more effective and just as strong as the conventional tractors, was, that the suspension transferred weight from the implement to the tractor, and thus improve its wheel grip and traction power. The force appearing from the resistance of the implement, when it was pulled through the ground, was transferred to the tractor in the form of increased weight. That is, it was not necessary to construct extra weight to improve traction power, and thus the engine's performance ability was utilized more efficiently and economically.
Once again Harry Ferguson went over the Atlantic and presented his invention to Henry Ford, who agreed to mass produce the tractor. The first were finished in 1939. Ferguson was passionately convinced that his system was a means not only to win the war, but also to secure a peace with enough food for all.