February 6, 2023

If you watched the December 31 episode of This week in agribusinessYou saw host Max Armstrong interview Case IH representatives and executives about celebrating the Farmall brand’s 100th anniversary.

For this reason it was interesting for us to look back to the December 8, 1934 issue of Nebraska Farmer, where on page 19 we found an advertisement for McCormick-Deering “Farm-Operating Equipment” with a Farmall F-20 tractor belt—driving a McCormick-Deering hammer mill.

Paid for by International Harvester Co., the ad promotes chain stores serving Nebraska in Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha, Cheyenne, Wyo., St. Joseph, Mo., and Sioux City, Iowa. At the bottom of the ad is a photo of a McCormick-Deering Farmall and a Lister 4-row cultivator in the field.

Raised on Farmall

Many farmers working today grew up with one Farmall tractor or another. For many it was an H or M, painted bright farmall red. For previous generations it could have been a Regular or F-20. For others it was a 560, 806, 1256 or 1568. Farmalls have been around for ages.

Indeed, at 9:00 a.m. on February 1, 1974, the 5 millionth Farmall tractor left the Farmall Works facility in Rock Island, Illinois, making IHC the first tractor manufacturer to reach this production milestone. The Farmall license plates continued on the new 1974 and 1975 models until the old license plates were gone, but the company officially dropped “Farmall” from the new tractor models in 1973. That would be until Case IH reintroduced the Farmall brand to utility tractors in 2004.

OLD AD: This advert in the December 8, 1934 issue of Nebraska Farmer showcases the versatility of Farmall brand tractors. (Farm Progress)

If you look back at the brand’s history, you will see that the early engineers were not convinced that the brand would ever take off. Engineers further developed the concept of the old motorized cultivator into a tractor that, as a real all-purpose machine, wanted to completely replace the team.

The redesigned model, named Farmall, differed from other production tractors in that it was the first design to bring a combination of specialized features into one tractor.

New configuration concept

It was a tricycle configuration with a single front wheel or a closely spaced pair of wheels that included high ground clearance for cultivating; was light and had power for pulley work, plowing, or other tillage; was affordable; and had an easily adjustable axle track.

However, this configuration produced a rather odd looking tractor for the day. When it was first introduced in 1924, it was only introduced in Texas to minimize potential negative feedback from early customers. To the surprise of some, the new all-purpose machine was a hit, and large-scale production began in 1926 at a new Farmall Works facility in Rock Island.

From 1924 to 1963 Farmalls were the best selling row crop tractor. The Farmall H, produced from 1939 to 1954, was the best-selling tractor of all time in North America, with only the Ford 8N selling more units.

Whether it was a Farmall Cub, which was the longest-producing line of the Farmall brand from 1947 to 1979; a regular or F-20; a Super M or 450; a 560, 706, 1066 or 1568, the Farmalls are still in service today and doing a good job across the country.

The brand itself may be a century old, but as the Nebraska Farmer ad announced in 1934, it evolved over the years, adapting to the needs of farmers as technology continued to advance.

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