International Harvester

The International Harvester Co. was formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1902 by a merger of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co., the Deering Harvester Co. and a number of smaller companies. Cyrus McCormick was responsible for introducing a highly successful reaper in the 1830s, and his descendants turned the company into a world famous producer of harvesting machinery. McCormick's main rival was William Deering, who in 1870 had founded a company to manufacture binders, mowers and other harvest equipment. In the 1890s the rivalry reached new heights, and in 1902 the two companies decided to pool their resources and a merger was announced. Although McCormick had experimented briefly with tractor design, culminating in the lightweight "Auto-Mower" of 1898, the first tractors produced by the International Harvester Co. (I.H.C.) in 1906 were entirely different. These early tractors consisted of an International "Famous" single-cylinder stationary engine mounted on a proprietary chassis produced by Samuel Morton, and featured friction drive to the wheels. They were available in several different sizes - 10, 12, 15 and 20 hp. The friction drive proved unsuitable under heavy load, and so was replaced by gear drive in the Type A and Type B models that appeared in 1907 and 1908, respectively. Numerous modifications were made to the Morton chassis for the Type C tractor of 1909, which was the first to carry the soon-familiar "Mogul" name and was available in 20 and 25 hp versions.
In 1910, a new tractor factory was built in Chicago, and this marked the beginning of a period of internal rivalry between the two branches of the company; "Mogul" tractors would now be built in Chicago, whereas the Milwaukee plant was responsible for the development of the new "Titan" range. The Type C Mogul was followed by a 45 hp model (later uprated to a 30-60) and a 25 hp "Junior", all with two-cylinder horizontally-opposed engines. The first Titans were known as the Type D, and their horizontal engines featured two cylinders lying in parallel. The early 20 and 25 hp models were soon joined by 18-35 and 27-45 (later 30-60) models.
Around the middle of the decade, a move away from these heavyweight tractors towards lighter models was evident, with the introduction of the transitional four-cylinder 15-30 Titan and the 12-25 Mogul with fully-enclosed engine. This trend towards smaller tractors resulted in some of the best-selling models produced by I.H.C.: the Mogul 8-16, introduced in 1915 (and later joined by the 10-20), and the Titan 10-20, which was built from 1916 to 1922. Although the designs were still rather primitive for their time, these tractors proved immensely popular and large numbers of them were shipped to many countries worldwide.
Another transitional tractor, the I.H.C. 8-16 "Junior" appeared at the end of the decade, and heralded the shape of things to come with its in-line four-cylinder engine that was fully enclosed under a bonnet. One unusual feature that was not seen on later tractors was the positioning of the radiator behind the engine, which allowed the bonnet to slope downwards and gave better visibility to the driver (this arrangement was also seen on the French-built Renault PE tractors of the same period). The 8-16 gave way in the early 1920s to the 10-20 model, with its distinctive louvred bonnet sides and the radiator back in front of the engine, and this was joined by the more powerful 15-30 (later known as the 22-36). These tractors were produced well into the 1930s, and found their way all over the world; the 10-20 was also offered on crawler tracks, which increased its range of applications.
To meet the demands of farmers who grew row crops as well as grains, I.H.C. began development of an all-purpose tractor in the 1920s, the "Farmall". The first model, the Farmall Regular, was a tricycle design with a wide rear axle in order that the wheels could pass between the rows of crops while cultivating etc. This gave way in the 1930s to the F-20 and F-30, which were also available with a wide front axle or as high-clearance models. It is here that our interest in I.H.C. ends, although the Farmall name was used on successive ranges of tractors up to the 1960s. I.H.C. continued to build tractors until the 1980s, when it was take over by Case, although subsequent models were badged as "Case-IH" to no doubt capitalise on the strong reputation of International Harvester products.

The photos of I.H.C. tractors have been split across several pages to minimize download time. Click on one of the following to view photos of particular tractors:

 


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