In 1987 the newly formed Case IH company, created from the merger of Case and International Harvester in the fall of 1985, announced that they were working on an entirely new, “from the ground up” design in a tractor series. The dealerships of the new company had been selling a compilation of Case- and IHC-designed tractors after the merger and were clamouring for new horsepower
Case IH engineers didn’t let them down. The fall of 1987 dealers were gathered in Denver, Colorado, to witness the new line, dubbed the Magnum series of tractors.
Historically, the Farmall Model H was the overlooked little brother. As part of IHC’s new generation of Farmall tractors in 1939, the H lived in the shadow of its big brother, the Model M.
The M was the beefy big boy of the Farmall line. It stood out in the field of horsepower at the time because it was powerful and very attractive with streamlined styling. So strong was the M’s presence that several antique tractor historians have identified the M as one of the best-known tractors of all time.
Rarely does an engineering advance come along that has such an impact that it changes agriculture, let alone sets a standard for future tractor design.
Such was the case with Harry Ferguson’s Type A tractor.
Not that the Type A was an exceptional leap forward in tractor technology by itself, although it certainly was a solid machine. Rather, it was the device at work on the back of the tractor, a hydraulically powered three-point hitch, that made history.
For over 10 years, the marvel of the industrial revolution, Ford’s Rouge Plant outside of Detroit, had not built a single tractor. It kept turning out cars by the millions, but this plant had been home to the most successful tractor of all time – the Fordson.
Nearly 740,000 Fordsons exited the Rouge Plant’s doors until 1928 when its production stopped in the U.S., giving other manufacturers welcome relief. For the previous decade the tractor world consisted of Fordson and some other brands.
Certainly Allis-Chalmer’s purchase of Advance-Rumely in 1931 put that company on the map as a major manufacturer of farm equipment.
But Allis lacked a modern tractor to match the times. IHC had introduced their revolutionary Farmall in 1924 establishing the row-crop tractor as the future of horsepower.
The fixed front axle fleet Allis was sending to their dealers was losing ground to the Farmall. Management in Milwaukee – home base for Allis-Chalmers – was demanding a machine to put them back into the market.
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