Fordson

Henry Ford's experiments with tractor design began as early as 1907. Tractors at the time were heavy machines suited to the large farms of the prairies, but Ford wanted to produce a cheap lightweight machine that the smaller farmer could buy to replace his horses. Ford already had a thriving automobile business, so it was natural for him to use readily-available parts for his early tractors. Ford's "Automobile Plow" of 1907 used a Model B car engine and radiator, steering and wheel hubs from the Model K car; rear wheels were taken from a binder. Ford continued to seek a small, compact tractor that would be suited to mass-production, and in 1916 he unveiled a unit-frame experimental design that would later give way to the Fordson. During the First World War, Ford became involved with producing tractors for the UK Ministry of Munitions. Britain was desperately short of tractors and called on Henry Ford to produce thousands of machines to plough up land for much-needed food. The original plan was for the tractors to be built in the UK to Ford's plans, but for various reasons it was eventually decided that Ford sould ship them complete from the United States. The unmarked MOM (Ministry of Munitions) tractor subsequently became the legendary Fordson F, which went on to sell in the hundreds of thousands. Ford's mass-production facilities allowed him to produce tractors far cheaper than other firms, which led many to go out of business as they could not compete. Our interest in Ford tractors ends with the Fordson F, although the company continued to play a major role in tractor design on both sides of the Atlantic for many years to come.

(Click on images below to enlarge)



Ford "Automobile Plow" of 1907 at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, USA in 2004.



MOM Fordson at Bicton Park, Devon, England in 2006.



MOM Fordson at Stapehill Abbey Museum, Dorset, England in 2006.



MOM Fordson at Carrington Rally, Lincolnshire, England in 2009.



MOM Fordson at the Little Casterton Working Weekend, Lincolnshire, England in 2011.



Fordson #1 at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, USA in 2004.



Fordson F with Athens Plow Co. mid-mounted disc plough at the Little Casterton Working Weekend, Lincolnshire, England in 2006.



Fordson F with Athens Plow Co. mid-mounted disc plough at the Lake Goldsmith Rally, Victoria, Australia in 2007.



Fordson F with French vineyard conversion at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, Dorset, England in 2007.



Fordson F with special rear wheels made by the Tractor Grip Wheel Co. of Toledo, Ohio at the Booleroo Steam & Traction Preservation Society Museum, Booleroo Centre, South Australia in 2007.



Fordson F with Trackson full-track conversion at Carrington Rally, Lincolnshire, England in 2005 and 2009.



Fordson F with Trackson full-track conversion at the California Antique Farm Equipment Show, Tulare, California, USA in 2005.



Fordson F with Trackson full-track conversion at the Booleroo Steam & Traction Preservation Society Museum, Booleroo Centre, South Australia in 2007.



Fordson F with Trackson full-track conversion and front-mounted saw at Bonanzaville, Fargo, North Dakota, USA in 2011.



Fordson F with Hadfield-Penfield "Rigid Rail Tracks" half-track conversion at the California Antique Farm Equipment Show, Tulare, California, USA in 2005.



Fordson F with Hadfield-Penfield Model FTA half-track conversion at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. This tractor was used in a mine east of Jackson, California.



Fordson F with Hadfield-Penfield "Cahl" half-track conversion made by the Hadfield-Penfield Co. of Bucyrus, Ohio at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Fordson F with Towner Locomotor rail conversion at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. This tractor was used to pull three or four ore trucks in the mines, mainly at Placerville, California.



Fordson F with Trakford full-track conversion at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. The Trakford kit was made in San Francisco and was available at a cost of $525. This tractor was used in a mine east of Jackson, California.



Fordson F with Trackson Model D full-track conversion, and fitted with a White two-speed heavy-duty PTO, crane and winch, at Tractor World, Malvern, Worcestershire, England in 2009. The tractor spent its working life in Butte, Montana, USA, where it was used by the Montana Power Company to lay a gas pipeline.



Fordson F with Snow-Motors conversion at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2005.



Fordson F with Austin Western roller conversion at the Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, Vista, California, USA in 2008.



Fordson F with Austin Western roller conversion at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.

 


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