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      Tractor: Tractor: The Inventor - HARRY FERGUSON
    Posted on Tuesday, October 19 @ 12:04:56 UTC by Cars
      Tractor HARRY FERGUSON (1884-1960) Harry Ferguson was the son of an Irish farmer. He was still a young man when he showed a flair for mechanics and engineering. During his early twenties, he worked for his brother as a mechanic and a race pilot. Later, he designed and built several aeroplanes which he piloted. He became the Belfast agent for Overtime tractors (Waterloo Boy models renamed for the British market) and this first experience with tractors, together with a spell working for the Irish Board of Agriculture, started him thinking of better ways of attaching implements.

    After researching agriculture and, in particular, tractors and ploughs, he devised a two-bottom plough to be directly attached to a Model T Ford car. It was raised and lowered by a lever and, unlike other similar conversions available at the time, was simple to operate and did not require wheels or a drawbar. Ferguson later developed a plough suitable for use with the Fordson Model F tractor. His first system was devised from a series of springs and levers. In 1925, with Eber and George Sherman in the United States, he founded Ferguson-Sherman Inc which produced a plough with the "Duplex" hitch system compatible with Fordson line tractors. He made his first Ferguson hydraulic system for his prototype tractor, for which the British David Brown Company had made the differential gear and transmission. In 1933, in partnership with David Brown, Harry Ferguson founded the Ferguson-Brown Company. The result was 1,250 Ferguson-Brown Model A tractors. All of these were equipped with the Ferguson hydraulic system. After this, Ferguson and Brown went separate ways as they had different ideas about the direction the development of tractors should take. In 1938, Harry Ferguson met Henry Ford and as a result of their so-called "handshake agreement" Ford was able to produce Ferguson System tractors. Both parties brought different assets to the agreement: Henry Ford's reputation and manufacturing capacity were involved as well as an important part of his financial resources. Harry Ferguson brought the patents for the innovative ploughing system which offered Ford an advantage in his ongoing sales war with International Harvester. Called the Ferguson System, the three-point hitch was put together using a combination of linkages, three different linkage points - two on the bottom and another one on the top and hydraulics. Hooking up an implement to a tractor had previously been a complicated affair. Farmers used hoists, helpers, jacks and all kinds of imaginative ways to get heavy implements hooked up. With the Ferguson System they needed only to back up to the implement, hook it up, raise it on the linkage and drive off. The Ferguson System was used on Ford's 9N and 2N Models. At the same time, through Harry Ferguson Inc, Ferguson continued to sell tractors, parts and equipment, including several machines produced by Ferguson-Sherman Inc. Towards the end of 1946, Henry Ford's grandson, Henry Ford II, advised Harry Ferguson that his agreement with Ford would be ending on 30 June 1947. Ford then introduced a new model, the Fordson 8N, that had similarities with the Ford-Ferguson 2N. When the Ford Motor Company started to sell its new model. Harry Ferguson took two courses of action. First, he commenced litigation, pursuing the Ford Motor Company and its associates for millions of dollars. Second, he negotiated with the Standard Motors Company in Britain for it to produce his own tractor, the Model TE20 (TE was an acronym for "Tractor England"). This was similar to the Ford Models 9N and 2N. Nonetheless, it differed from the 9N in having a four-speed gearbox, an overhead valve engine, two foot-operated brake pedals on the left side and a one-piece bonnet (hood). Ferguson drove his first Model TO20 ("Tractor Overseas"), built in Detroit, in 1948. The Models TO20 and TE20 were identical except for their electrical systems and transmission cases. The TO20 had a Deico electrical system and a cast-iron transmission case, whereas the TE20 had a Lucas electrical system and an aluminium transmission case. The litigation with Ford dragged on for four years until in April 1952, Harry Ferguson settled out of court for $9.25 million. As by this time some of Ferguson's patents had expired, Ford had to make few changes to its designs in order to continue building tractors with hydraulically controlled three-point hitches. The following year, Ferguson merged with Massey-Harris and Harry Ferguson turned his , attention to developing a four-wheel drive system for high performance sports cars and racing cars. He died in 1960. A particularly unusual task to which some of
    Ferguson's tractors were put was as vehicles for the Antarctic expedition led by Sir Edmund Hillary. The various accounts of the expedition contain numerous references to the tractors used during the course of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The tractors were used to tow sledges, unload ships and for reconnaissance in conjunction with tracked Sno-Cats and Studebaker Weasels. The Fergusons were, for at least part of the time, equipped with rubber crawler-type tracks around the (larger than standard) front and rear wheels, with an idler wheel positioned between the axles. The output of the four-cylinder engines of the Fergusons was only 28bhp, so on occasions the tractors were used linked together to increase their abilities. They were also fitted with makeshift cabs to keep the drivers warm in Antarctic conditions. The expedition members were glad of the Fergusons' abilities on numerous occasions and drove one to the South Pole itself. The tractors were commended for their simplicity, ease of maintenance and reliability, that helped them perform well in a situation never anticipated by their designer.
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