Ford’s passion to mechanize farming paid off in revolutionary farm tractor
Fenders became available for the Fordson tractor in 1924. The long rear skirts were said to help prevent the tractors from rolling over backward, a trait for which the Fordson was notorious.
Photo by Sam Moore
Cover illustration of a Fordson tractor plowing.
From a 1921 Fordson Farming catalog
The first U.S. production Fordson tractor, which Ford presented to his friend Thomas Edison. The tractor is now part of the Henry Ford Museum collection.
Ford’s earliest tractor patent from 1912 laid out his innovative design: The horizontal engine block at the front, along with the hollow, cast transmission and differential housing are bolted rigidly together to form the supporting frame of the tractor. The round tank above the engine was the cooling radiator, with a fuel tank grafted onto the rear.
A 1917 Fordson with ladder-side radiator and six-spoke rear wheels at the Heidrick Ag Museum in Woodland, Calif. The black box on the left side of the engine contains the trembler coil ignition identical to that used on Model T Ford cars. The gray, box-like affair behind the coil box was the water washer air cleaner that the Fordson used until 1937.