One from USA and one From England
Ford was of course the great industrial giant in the USA that first produced the Model T car and really made use of the conveyor belt in the industrial manufacturing of automobiles.
The company started out with cars, but also saw a great potential for expanding into other parts of the society. The farms at that time were run mainly with horses and heavy manual labour, but there was a clear need for more power so one could have larger fields and more efficient farms. Harry Fergusson came from England and his focus was on making a cost efficient and useful tractor to make farming more efficient.
He made prototype of what was to become the Ferguson tractor, but he couldn’t do it all alone. So he headed to America to show off his ideas to investors and others, in particular Ford. And the rest is, as they say; history.
The first tractors from the Ford-Ferguson cooperation was the Ford Ferguson which was produced mainly between 1939 – 1942. It was met initially with a lot of resistance as farmers felt that this rather small tractor would not be up for the challenges of ordinary farm life.
However, it did not take long before this tractor became a favourite among the American farmers and several thousand were sold. The revolutionary three-point lifting system of this small tractor made it very efficient and the effective production method lowered the price. A perfect combination.
World War 2 loomed and also Ferguson had made clear that he wanted to work mostly in England, so the Ford company and Ferguson soon went their separate ways.
Ferguson in England
Ferguson went back to England to work on his own model. In 1946 his first model was ready and out on the market, this was the Ferguson TE20 which became very popular especially in as World War 2 and its aftermath made a more efficient farming a necessity.
However, many of the farmers where unused to driving a tractor, the car had not really become part of everyday life in the rural areas and a tractor was different from cars.
So Ferguson also established a form of driving school to ensure that the farmers buying the tractors could use all of its abilities in the most efficient manner. The combination of great design, well-thought out handling and support ensure that this rather small tractor was instrumental in helping aid the recovery of the farm lands in England after World War 2.
In the mid 1950’s the Ferguson tractor was established in over 160 lands, and it was a versatile tractor that could be made into a specialist machine by using one of the more than
60 different extra parts.
The Ford company had focused mainly on USA, but they had also gotten their tractors out in the world. From now on the two companies were competitors. This competition has driven advances in the technology and today you have tractors that can almost drive themselves. Some of the newer models have computer system that allow them to plough perfectly straight lines thanks to an advanced GPS system and computer system.
In addition one has special tractors for harvesting grapes, gigantic tractors for working the large, endless fields of the USA mid-west and the list goes on.