The Ford Tractor Company was the brainchild of entrepreneur William Baer Ewing, who had no experience of building or selling tractors, but hoped to bask in some of the reflected glory from Henry Ford's successes in this area. To this end, Ewing hired a certain Paul Boynton Ford and persuaded him to lend his name to the proposed tractor, even though he knew no more about tractors than Ewing himself. The basic design for the Ford tractor was drawn up by William Hartsough, formerly of the Bull Tractor Co., with power provided by a two-cylinder opposed engine made by the Gile Boat Works of Luddington, Michigan. Some refinements were made by designer Robert Kinkead, who was hired by Ewing after he and Hartsough parted ways. However, it remained a poor concept, with the short wheelbase making it difficult for the driver to keep the tractor in a straight line when ploughing. The Ford Tractor Co. was incorporated in 1915 in South Dakota, with manufacturing facilities in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but sales were poor and after only a year it faced bankruptcy; the following year the company was reorganised in the state of Delaware. In 1917 Ewing was indicted for fraud by U.S. District Court relating to the sale of shares in the Ford Tractor Co., but charges were eventually dropped. This spelt the end for the Ford tractor, although Ewing was rumoured to have been involved with a new tractor venture in Canada during the 1920s.

(Click on images below to enlarge)

Ford at the Lester F. Larsen Tractor Test and Power Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA in 2011.


TOP       BACK       HOME
Copyright 2006-2017 David Parfitt. All rights reserved.