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Fitch Four Drive

Updated: 04/01/2011 @ 10:22am

Considered one of the first successful four-wheel-drive tractors, the Fitch Four-Drive remains very much a mystery with collectors. And for good reason, too, as there may be four Fitch Four-Drives in existence today.

The tractor was the brainchild of Mason County, Michigan, farmer John H. Fitch, who made history by designing a tractor that not only had four wheels that were powered but also employed driveshafts (not chains or belts) to transfer that power to the wheels. The Four-Drive, offered in as many as eight different models (the Cat Model E 15-30 is shown above), was built rugged to a fault and gained a reputation for generating enormous drawbar power. For example, during the National Tractor Demonstration in Wichita, Kansas, in 1918, a Four-Drive pulled a four-bottom plow nonstop for 88 hours, tilling a total of 100 acres!

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