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.


| July 2016



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

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.