Letters: The Handshake Agreement Model Tractor
A reader shares an interesting story about the Handshake Agreement and a box and model tractor
Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford in Dearborn, Mich., at the famous "handshake agreement."
I have what I call a very valuable bit of information in relation to the handshake agreement between Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford.
About 25 years ago, Ellis Hunt, Barton, Vt., was parts man for Amyot Bros., a John Deere agency. He told me about working for Massey-Ferguson in Illinois. He said they were cleaning out a storage building and a black box sat on the floor. He asked what was going to be done with it. He was told he could have it. In it was the model tractor that is shown in the photo taken at the handshake agreement; the box is shown in the same photo on a shelf under the table.
Hunt (since deceased) said he later went to England, where he met Ferguson and told him about the box and the model. Ferguson reportedly said, “I would like to have that back.” Hunt said he hand-delivered the box and model to Ferguson. Hopefully it is now in the Ferguson Museum, rather than in some landfill somewhere.
I feel that the handshake agreement between Harry Ferguson and Henry Ford is the most important thing that ever happened in the history of agricultural machinery.
I still have a 1952 Ferguson 30. In 1941, I sat on a brand-new 9N at my neighbor’s farm. But I never head it run or saw it work, and never saw it again. I was 4 years old. We had a 1946 2N for many years. I had that engine all apart, rebuilding it, when I had to report to the Army on May 5, 1959 – so my brother-in-law had to put it together.
I thoroughly enjoy Farm Collector.
Everett W. Demeritt, North Walcott, Vt.
Editor’s note: Interesting story, Everett. Several salesman’s samples of the Ferguson System tractor and plow were produced and each was packaged in a wooden box. Some have found their way into collectors’ hands. Given the passage of time and absence of documentation, it’s hard to know the exact history of any particular one, but the possibilities are intriguing!