IHC History: Part 2
During the several years following the merger, the IHC company fought off several lawsuits. The company pulled out of several states due to lawsuits that went on until the 1920s. For a while the company maintained the names of the component companies and McCormick Deering. Eventually after several settlements the company settled on International Harvester Company.
The IHC company was a full line manufacture of agriculture equipment. With new capital the company was able to compete in all phases of farm equipment. Eventually the company made and sold tractors, stationary engines, trucks, plows, Scout off road vehicles, construction equipment, household appliances, jet engines, along with a full line of farm equipment.
Early machines were powered by teams of horses. The care and feeding of horses was almost as much work as was the rest of the farm. Horses needed care year round, their feed represented a significant portion of the farm crops, and horses could not be worked long hours. A harvest crew could require nearly 50 horses. In the beginning of the new century the internal combustion engine was developed to the point that it was light weight and reliable enough for farm use. Both McCormick and Deering had been experimenting with Internal combustion engine power farm implements from before the merger.
These early experiments taught the companies much about IC engines but neither developed a product to market. IHC continued development of the IC engine and introduced a complete line of engines for portable farm work.
The Famous Engines introduced in 1906 were used to power an IHC line of friction drive tractors. These were large tractors used as traction engines to pull large plows and for belt work on threshing machines. There was limited use for large heavy tractors so a smaller tractor was needed. IHC lead the development of farm tractors and later in construction equipment. Over the years many were tested in the Nebraska Tractor Tests.
In 1924 IHC was facing fierce competition from small cheap tractors in the Fordson. The 10-20 and 15-30 were powerful tractors of high quality and reliability but were also very expensive. The 10-20 sold for over $1000 while the Fordson could be had for as little as $350. The problem was that both tractors were designed for tasks such as plowing. Horses were still needed for careful work such as cultivating.
IHC experimented with a general purpose tractor. A tractor with the visibility necessary for working close to the crop as in cultivating but with the power and balance for traction work such as plowing. The result was the Farmall. Shortly after the introduction of the Farmall in 1924, Ford moved all production of the Fordson to England and ceased to be an important player in the US market until the 9N of 1939.
The Farmall introduced the tricycle style of row crop tractor. The narrow frame aided visibility around crop rows and tall wheels were designed to work tall row crops such as corn and cotton. Mounted implements such as cultivators and corn pickers further extended the use of the tractor. The row crop Farmall replaced the last horses on many American farms and was the start of a long and distinguished line of Farmalls.
Over the years several books have been written about IHC. The company had a long history but was merged with J.I. Case in 1982 to form Case IHC. The truck division was split off to form Navistar and has continued to be a successful leader in the heavy truck industry.
After the merger of IHC and Case in the early eighties, many of the archives of the IHC company were moved to the Wisconsin Historical Society. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/libraryarchives/ihc/
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