Remembering the Innovative 3-Point Hitch Tractor

Ferguson enthusiasts commemorate the 80th anniversary of the first 3-point hitch tractor and other Ferguson milestones.

| August 2016

  • Harry Ferguson with Henry Ford (left).
    Photo courtesy Farm Collector Archives
  • In 1938, Ferguson demonstrated his tractor to Henry Ford on Ford’s Fairlane estate farm. Ford was so impressed that the two men quickly worked out a partnership deal and shook hands on it. They never wrote out a contract.
    Photo courtesy Farm Collector Archives
  • Harry Ferguson demonstrates the new 1936 Ferguson-Brown Type A tractor with 3-point hitch.
    Photo courtesy Farm Collector Archives
  • A 2-bottom plow is attached directly to the tractor. Harry Ferguson is in the tractor seat.
    Photo courtesy Farm Collector Archives
  • A 2-bottom plow is attached directly to the tractor.
    Photo courtesy Farm Collector Archives

This year marks the 80th anniversary of commercial production of the world’s first 3-point hitch tractor, the Ferguson-Brown Type A. This year is also the 90th anniversary of Harry Ferguson’s patent for the device that is the basis of the Ferguson System of automatic draft control.

Harry Ferguson’s 3-point hitch with draft control revolutionized agriculture and has been hailed as the greatest innovation in farm mechanization, coupling tractor and implement in such a way that they operate as a single unit. Some form of Ferguson’s 3-point hitch is featured on nearly every tractor manufactured today.

Ferguson Enthusiasts of North America (FENA) is commemorating these anniversaries, as well as the anniversaries of other events in Ferguson history. A series of events, special displays and activities are planned at this year’s FENA Expo held in conjunction with the Ozarks Steam Engine Assn. and Southwest Missouri EDGE&TA Branch 16 Steam-O-Rama in Republic, Missouri, Sept. 15-18.

From David Brown to Henry Ford

The Ferguson-Brown Type A was produced by the U.K.-based David Brown Co. from 1936 to January 1939. David Brown also produced the world’s first 3-point hitch implements, the Ferguson Type B 2-bottom plow, the Type C spring-trip cultivator (later called a tiller), the Type D ridger and the Type E row-crop cultivator. Those four implements remained in the Ferguson line, virtually unchanged, until Ferguson merged with Massey-Harris in 1953.

Three of those implements — the plow, cultivator and tiller — remained in the Massey Ferguson line well into the 1980s virtually unchanged, with the exception of the plow, which was improved. The tiller and cultivator are still in production today. That speaks volumes about the durability of those original Ferguson designs.

The Ferguson-Brown Type A led to the famous “handshake agreement” with Henry Ford in 1938. That partnership resulted in creation of the Ford-Ferguson 9N in 1939. When World War II-era restrictions on supplies of steel, copper and rubber were imposed, Ferguson responded by introducing the 2N.


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