Farm Tractor Books to Add to Your Bookshelf

Check out these farm tractor books that focus on the International Harvester line and evolution of the Farmall tractor.

Case International Harvester tractor

Typical of the fine photography throughout Red Combines and Red Tractors, this shot shows a mint-condition IH 5488 — one of the last tractors produced by International Harvester — paired with an original condition 1990 Case IH 1640. Image courtesy Red Combines 1915-2015.

Photo by Lee Klancher

Content Tools

Mr. Klancher’s opus

Make sure your bookcase is on a load-bearing wall before adding this stellar pair to your library: Two massive tomes by Lee Klancher weigh in at a combined total of 13 pounds. Pound for pound, they’re a solid investment. Red Combines 1915-2015: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Combines and Harvesting Equipment and a companion volume, Red Tractors 1958-2013: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Farm Tractors in the Modern Era, are a knock-out punch on International combines and tractors built from 1958 to 2013.

Drive down any rural road in America, Klancher notes, and you won’t have to look hard to find a vintage red tractor pulling chopper boxes, raking hay or powering grain augers. But Klancher’s passion for the International Harvester line goes well beyond the casual drive-by. The acclaimed author and photographer demonstrates that in this remarkable pair of books covering a seemingly infinite number of tractors and combines.

Red Combines tells the story of the extensive research and development behind International’s Axial-Flow combine, a machine that took the market by storm when introduced in 1977. More than 100 of the key engineers and leaders who designed, built and sold the machines were interviewed for the book, and their stories offer an intimate and unique perspective on the way innovations are brought to the marketplace.

Klancher and his talented crew deliver an uncommon blend of appetizer and entrée, easily digested nuggets and meaty, in-depth text. Every page in both volumes sparkles with Klancher’s fabulous photography, archival images, and images that have never previously been published anywhere.

There is the definite sense that once he got started, the author just couldn’t stop. He tells the whole story of International’s combine development against a background of rich context. Red Combines starts with a bit of American history and proceeds at a steady clip through ag industrialization, evolving technology, impact of foreign and domestic economies, labor relations, mergers, research and development, corporate intrigue, competition, construction of the modern combine, development of combines in foreign countries, special use combines, custom harvesting and absolutely incredible futuristic concept images. No matter what your favorite line is, this is fascinating stuff.

Red Tractors presents a thorough history of IH tractors from the 560 and 460 to the 50 series, as well as Case IH tractors from the early Magnum to the present day. With fresh perspective from the engineers, industrial designers and others who actually built the tractors, as well as more than 700 archival images, prototype drawings and Klancher’s glorious photos of restored tractors, this book provides an unprecedented history of red tractors during the past 50 years.

Richly detailed and phenomenal imagery, Red Tractors contains thousands of documents and texts, fresh interviews from more than two dozen current and former IH engineers, managers, designers and other employees. Including Dr. Glenn W. Kahle and Ed Harnach, the lead engineers during creation of the 50 series and the Magnum, as well as Greg Montgomery, the industrial designer who penned the 50 series, original Magnum and MX series Magnums.

Both books are also available in collector’s editions, leather-bound and packaged in a clamshell case that includes four prints of concept drawings of tractors that were never built.

Red Combines 1915-2015: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Combines and Harvesting Equipment, Lee Klancher, hardback, 384 pages, fully illustrated with photos, illustrations, vintage promotional pieces and more; Octane Press. To order a copy, visit our store.

Red Tractors 1958-2013: The Authoritative Guide to International Harvester and Case IH Farm Tractors in the Modern Era, Lee Klancher, hardback, 384 pages, color photos, illustrations, vintage promotional pieces and more; Octane Press. To order a copy, visit our store.

Definitive history of IH trucks

The International Truck & Engine Corp. has built the trucks that have been a staple of agricultural and industrial trucking for nearly 100 years. International Harvester Trucks: The Complete History tells the story of the light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks, vans and station wagons built by International Harvester during the course of more than a century, beginning with the company’s early days, through its first truck model in 1907, right up to the present.

The focus is on the trucks themselves, including collectible pieces like the Travelall and Scout. Author Patrick R. Foster is a recognized transportation historian, and that expertise shows through in an accessible writing style illustrated with hundreds of never-before-seen archival photos. The definitive history of one of the world’s most prolific truck manufacturers!

International Harvester Trucks: The Complete History, Patrick Foster, 2015, hardback, 208 pages, color photography throughout; To order a copy, visit Quarto Knows.

Greatest tractors of all time

From John Deere to International Harvester, hundreds of manufacturers have built farm tractors. Some have been innovative, changing the face of agriculture and influencing design across the industry. Some have been quirky flash in the pans. The best of the bunch is celebrated in Tractor Superstars: The Greatest Tractors of All Time.

Author Tharran Gaines focuses on 79 favorites, ranging from the Hart-Parr 17-30 to the Allis-Chalmers WD. Matching technical information and captivating historical detail with high-quality photos of each tractor, Gaines delivers a fascinating sweep of old iron in one compact package. A fine addition to your library!

Tractor Superstars: The Greatest Tractors of All Time, Tharran E. Gaines, softcover, 160 pages, color photography throughout; Voyageur Press. To order a copy, visit our store.

Evolution of the Farmall

Award-winning author and photographer Randy Leffingwell and renowned tractor historian Robert N. Pripps tell the story of the Farmall tractor in this newly updated text. Farmall: The Red Tractor that Revolutionized Farming is packed with handsome color and archival photography. Tracing the evolution of Farmall, the text covers tractor model variations, improvements, engine and hydraulic advances, and accompanying implements through every Farmall generation.

Fully updated from the first printing in 2007, Farmall covers 21st century tractors from Case IH, New Holland and Steyr, including new versions of the Farmall. Packed with tractor models and specs!

Farmall: The Red Tractor that Revolutionized FarmingRandy Leffingwell and Robert N. Pripps, hardback, 256 pages, color photography throughout; Voyageur Press. To order a copy, visit our storeFC