under the Massey-Harris and Massey Ferguson badges GOLDEN ... history part 3.pdf · Massey Ferguson...

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POWER FARMING 69 O ne of the biggest farm mechanisation growth areas was in combine harvester sales as more grain growers switched from binders to reduce their labour costs. Demand was also helped by the launch of self-propelled harvesters which were rapidly replacing the older tractor- powered combines with their more limited capacity, and there was also a trend from bagger models to labour-saving tanker combines. A combined effort by Hugh Victor Mckay’s company and hands-on inventor, Headlie Taylor saw the release of the Sunshine Auto Header in 1924, it was the first Australian made production line SP Header. This centre fed combine could master a 3.66m (12ft) cut and had power to spare with a 18.7kW (25hp) Fordson engine. In 1930 the H.V. McKay Company was granted local distribution of Massey-Harris machinery, but M-H purchased a slice of H.V. McKay and by 1932 it was renamed H.V. McKay Massey Harris. Local Auto Header production ceased in 1947, and it would not resume again until 1956 with the locally designed Massey Ferguson SP 585. Massey-Harris went on to introduce self-propelled combines to the world, and through the 1940s and 1950s, they were the HISTORY OF POWER FARMING 1891-2011 PART THREE This diesel powered 790 bagger combine was made in Scotland under the Massey-Harris and Massey Ferguson badges top selling combine brand world-wide. The Massey-Harris harvester sales success was largely due to the skill of Tom Carroll, an Australian engineer who joined M-H in 1917 as a combine specialist and played a leading role in maintaining the company’s world leadership in harvesting technology until he retired in 1961. Major competitors for Massey-Harris in the combine market throughout the 1940s and 1950s included International Harvester, they had self-propelled models available from 1942, while John Deere’s success in the self-propelled sector began with the launch of their 55 model in 1946, considered to be one of the most important models in combine history. European makers made a slower start in self-propelled combine development, partly because their smaller average farm size, where lower-priced trailed harvesters were popular, and also because their local combine market was dominated by machines from the Massey- Harris combine factories in France, Germany and Scotland. Claas announced their first self-propelled harvester, the SP55, in 1953 and later expanded to become easily the biggest combine maker in Europe. The Clayson range in Belgium included self-propelled models GOLDEN AGE OF POWER TRACTORS AT THE FORE IN The mid-1940s was the start of a golden age for farm wealth and mechanisation, there was above average rainfall in most parts and farmers were paid “a pound for a pound of wool.” Farmers invested heavily in tractors and machinery to boost output, and makers were about to be run off their feet

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Transcript of under the Massey-Harris and Massey Ferguson badges GOLDEN ... history part 3.pdf · Massey Ferguson...


    One of the biggest farmmechanisation growthareas was in combineharvester sales as more graingrowers switched frombinders to reduce their labourcosts. Demand was also helpedby the launch of self-propelledharvesters which were rapidlyreplacing the older tractor-powered combines with theirmore limited capacity, andthere was also a trend frombagger models to labour-savingtanker combines.

    A combined effort by HughVictor Mckay’s company andhands-on inventor, HeadlieTaylor saw the release of theSunshine Auto Header in 1924,it was the first Australian made

    production line SP Header.This centre fed combine couldmaster a 3.66m (12ft) cut andhad power to spare with a18.7kW (25hp) Fordson engine.

    In 1930 the H.V. McKayCompany was granted localdistribution of Massey-Harrismachinery, but M-H purchaseda slice of H.V. McKay and by1932 it was renamed H.V.McKay Massey Harris. LocalAuto Header productionceased in 1947, and it wouldnot resume again until 1956with the locally designedMassey Ferguson SP 585.

    Massey-Harris went on tointroduce self-propelled combinesto the world, and through the1940s and 1950s, they were the


    This diesel powered 790 baggercombine was made in Scotlandunder the Massey-Harris andMassey Ferguson badges

    top selling combine brandworld-wide.

    The Massey-Harris harvestersales success was largely dueto the skill of Tom Carroll, anAustralian engineer who joinedM-H in 1917 as a combine specialist and played a leadingrole in maintaining the company’sworld leadership in harvestingtechnology until he retired in1961.

    Major competitors forMassey-Harris in the combinemarket throughout the 1940sand 1950s included InternationalHarvester, they had self-propelledmodels available from 1942,while John Deere’s success inthe self-propelled sector beganwith the launch of their 55

    model in 1946, considered tobe one of the most importantmodels in combine history.

    European makers made aslower start in self-propelledcombine development, partlybecause their smaller averagefarm size, where lower-pricedtrailed harvesters were popular,and also because their localcombine market was dominatedby machines from the Massey-Harris combine factories inFrance, Germany and Scotland.

    Claas announced their firstself-propelled harvester, theSP55, in 1953 and later expandedto become easily the biggestcombine maker in Europe.The Clayson range in Belgiumincluded self-propelled models


    The mid-1940s was the start of a golden age for farm wealthand mechanisation, there was above average rainfall in mostparts and farmers were paid “a pound for a pound of wool.”Farmers invested heavily in tractors and machinery to boost

    output, and makers were about to be run off their feet






    from 1955 in a factory that nowbuilds New Holland combines.

    Tractors were also in demandand sales expanded rapidly afterthe end of World War II in 1945.Their popularity was helped bytechnical developments thatpromised to raise productivity,and one of the main featuresfuelling that demand was anew generation of dieselengines.

    While some firms in Europeand the United States hadalready offered diesel poweredtractors during the 1920s and1930s, sales were usually disappointing. This was partlybecause the early engineswere difficult to start andexpensive, and also becausefew farmers were aware of thediesel performance benefitssuch as improved pullingpower, better reliability andlower fuel consumption.

    The breakthrough for dieselpower came in the mid 1940sand early 1950s when the firstof the new generation tractorengines arrived.

    As well as all the diesel benefits, they were also easierto start using an electric motorin place of the petrol engineneeded to start many of theolder diesels, bigger sales volumes made them lessexpensive and they were alsofaster running to provide asmoother performance andbetter torque characteristics.

    Demand for diesel power intractors and combine harvestersgrew rapidly, encouraging

    many European and Americanequipment companies to offerthis type of engine, somedeveloping their own powerunits and others buying inengines from specialists suchas Perkins, which became theworld’s biggest manufacturerof diesel engines for farming.

    Four-wheel drive was anotherproductivity development thathad made little headwaybefore World War II, but waswelcomed from the late 1940sonwards. Depending on groundconditions, pushing enginepower through four wheelsinstead of two increases pullingpower by 15 per cent or moreand the extra productivity wasa big draw card to many farmers.

    At first, most of the 4WDdevelopment came fromEuropean makers, with Deutzin Germany, SAME and Fiat inItaly and the Steyr factory inAustria designing four-wheeldrive tractors with smallerdiameter front wheels.

    While specialist companieshere and elsewhere choselarge diameter wheels frontand rear. Using equal diameterfront and rear wheels, such asthe system developed byBaldwin, Phillips Acremaster,County, Doe and Muir Hill, ismore efficient than havingsmaller front wheels, but thedisadvantage is a big turningcircle.

    One of the obvious ways toimprove productivity duringthe period after World War IIwas to fit a better transmission.

    A Perkins P6 diesel engine was standard equipment on the British built Massey-Harris 744PD from 1948

    John Deere launched their model 55 self-propelled CombineHarvester in 1946

    HV McKay’s Sunshine Auto Header released in 1924 was thefirst Australian made production line self-propelled combine

    Many 1940s production tractorswere still equipped with a basicthree or four-speed gearboxwhich would have been familiarto a tractor operator 30 yearsearlier.

    Problems with this type oftransmission included a very

    limited choice of forwardspeeds that did not matchsome types of implements, andthe lack of synchromesh on atleast some of the ratios madegear shifting difficult.

    In the search for a differenttype of transmission it was

    The Perkins P6 was the first in anew generation of high-speed,easy to start, diesel engines fortractors


    their own hydrostatic tractordevelopment programmes.

    Massey-Ferguson built twoexperimental prototypes whileInternational Harvester chose ahydro drive for an experimentaltractor completed in 1961 andoffered a hydro drive combinein 1964.

    Some of the enthusiasm forputting fluid drive systems intractors faded as the test programmes identified theirone serious flaw – power lossesare about 15 per cent higher thanfrom a gearbox transmission,and that means less productivityand higher costs for jobs thatrely on drawbar pull.

    International Harvester wasone of the few companies thatbuilt hydrostatic tractors commercially with productionin the United States andBritain until 1985, and theVersatile company in Canadaoffered a series of specialloader tractors with hydrodrive until the mid-1990s. Inspite of limited success in tractors, hydrostatic drivesremain popular for equipmentsuch as telescopic loaders andcombine harvesters.

    The Ferguson System successstory started in the 1930swhen David Brown and, later,Henry Ford helped to establishHarry Ferguson’s three-pointlinkage with hydraulic control,and the demand continued togrow after the war. More farmerswere realising the benefits of theFerguson System, this encouragedmachinery manufacturers to


    New Holland’s IntelliFill system will load a trailed progressivelyfrom one end to the other

    Britain’s National Institute ofAgricultural Engineering (NIAE)that took the lead.

    In the early 1950s they startedwork on a project to build atractor with a hydrostatictransmission. It was based on aFordson Major, the mechanicaltransmission was replaced bya hydro drive system, and thetractor was demonstrated forthe first time in 1954.

    Hydrostatic transmissionsoffer impressive benefits.Instead of driving a set ofgears, the engine powers apump that sends pressurisedoil through a pipe to motorsthat drive the wheels, and afterpassing through the motorsthe oil circulates back to thepump again.

    Instead of operating a clutchpedal and changing gears, thehydro driver simply operates a lever or foot pedal that gives infinitely variable speedadjustment up to the maximumwithout altering the enginespeed.

    The precise speed controlmakes it easy to find exactlythe right travel speed, clutchwear is eliminated, there areno gear changes to causebreaks in the power deliveryand with correct maintenancehydrostatic transmissionshave a reputation for long-termreliability.

    There was enormous interestin the NIAE’s experimentaltractor and predictions thatthis was the transmission forthe future. Some makers began

    offer more implements to fitthe three-point linkage.

    In 1946 Harry Ferguson

    Fiat’s first four-wheel drive model was the 19kW (25hp) 25R available from 1954

    started selling his famous TE-20 series tractors, whichwere made for him at the

    The hydrostatic transmission on this experimental Fordsonattracted worldwide interest

    Linking two tractors together produced the high horsepowerDoe Triple-D with four-wheel drive


    Standard car company factoryin Britain, and he later built thebasically similar TO seriestractors in America.

    Other companies producedtractors with a modified versionof the linkage until theFerguson System patents hadexpired and by the late 1950salmost all the leading wheeledtractor manufacturers includeda three-point linkage as standardequipment or as an extra costoption.

    Harry Ferguson’s tractoroperations in Britain and theUnited States are examples ofthe huge structural changesthat resulted from the rapidgrowth in power farming.

    One of the developmentswas that all the leadingAmerican tractor companiesplus the Canadian basedMassey-Harris decided toestablish manufacturing orassembly plants in Europe.

    John Deere chose Germany,but others set up subsidiariesin Britain where industry hadsuffered less wartime damagethan on the continent. Fordwas already Britain’s biggesttractor maker, but the newarrivals included Allis-Chalmers,International Harvester andMinneapolis-Moline plusMassey-Harris from Canada.

    Britain also produced thePlatypus crawler tractors, builtby a company formed by ourlocal farm machinery maker,AC (Cliff) Howard of HowardRotavator fame, as our localtractor industry was under-going major changes duringthe 1940s and 1950s.

    While production of Howard’sDH 22 tractor was still inAustralia, the company wasalso offering the DH 22 toBritish farmers, productionended in the late 1960s after arun lasting almost 30 years.

    Tractor technology wasimproving at a faster pace overseas than locally, andimports built on vast productionlines for world-wide supplywere beginning to gain favourhere.

    The McDonald Imperial OilTractor, credited with the firstAustralian built oil-burner in1908, had achieved peak salesof about 400 tractors a year in the 1930s, but was only selling in small numbers whenproduction ended in 1955.

    Another casualty was the KLBulldog, built here, but basedon the German Lanz Bulldog

    International Harvester wasthe only major manufacturerto offer a range of hydrostaticdrive tractors

    The success of the Ferguson System linkage, shown here on a Ferguson TE-20 tractor, forcedother companies to offer three-point linkages

    Locally built Howard DH22 tractor with its rotary cultivatorattachment enjoyed a 30-year production run until about 1960


    with a semi-diesel engine. TheAustralian Bulldog was availablefor just 10 years from 1949,with total production estimatedat almost 1000 tractors.

    International Harvesterfilled some of the void, when itreleased its first Australianbuilt tractor, the AW-6, in 1949with 25kW (34hp) available atthe drawbar. By 1953, 10,000tractors were on local farmsand by 1955 there were elevenmodels available in the range.

    Production expanded toinclude the Farmall AM-7 andMcCormick International A414with sales booming and themodel range expanding untilthe ultimate demise of IH and


    its merger with Case to formCase IH in 1984.

    Another shining light for thelocal tractor industry was thesuccess of the Chamberlaintractor project. The company,started by the Chamberlainfamily, expanded to become thebiggest tractor maker inAustralia.

    It all started in December1945 when the first prototypeof a locally designed and builttractor, the 40-K was rolledout, it was to prove itself equalto the best coming out of theUS, and by 1951 it was in massproduction.

    The design had in fact beenroughed-out in the 1930s,

    In our next installment. By theearly 1970s, farmers had all thepower they could muster with 45kW(60hp) tractors common-place.There was just one drawback, asthe power bulge grew, so did accidential tractor deaths onfarms – at its peak – more than100 operators perished each year.Something had to be done, a testscheme for roll-over protectionstructures (ROPS) began in 1970.Safety cabs saved lives and withtheir arrival came terms such asoperator comfort and convenience,soon followed by cab suspensionand the first simple electronic systems began to emerge. �

    when AW (Bert) Chamberlainand his sons AH (Bob) and HF(Bill) formulated plans for aheavy-duty wheeled tractor tomeet the needs of Australianwheat farmers.

    The 40-K had a rugged horizontally opposed two-cylinder four-stroke enginethat ran on kerosene fuel withan octane rating of 51. It had amaximum power output of31.9kW (42.7hp) at the beltand 30.6kW (41hp) at the drawbar with a pull of 2405kg(5300lb) at 4.6kph (2.86mph).

    It was to be the first of aproud line of Chamberlaintractors that was to continueuntil 1986, when the company,

    Chamberlain’s 40-K ran off a rugged horizontally-opposed two-cylinder four-stroke engine with a boreof 6.125in and stroke of 6.25in (156mm x 159mm), on kerosene fuel with an octane rating of 51

    Nuffield was one of the new companies entering the tractor industry in the late 1940s

    by then named ChamberlainJohn Deere, elected to terminate production and thelast home-built models werereplaced by imported JohnDeere tractors. �

    During 2011 – our 120th year, aseries of articles will appear inPower Farming describing someof the most memorable Tractorand farm equipment releasessince 1891, up to the present day.Make sure you don’t miss this incisive look at the history of farmtractors and equipment inAustralia. Order now online, tomake sure you receive a copy, goto our subscription page atwww.powerfarming.com.au

    In the next120 year series