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Whatever Happened to McCormick-Deering?

Let's Talk Rusty Iron: Sam Moore takes a closer look at IHC's McCormick-Deering line

| August 1998

  • Logo for the International Harvester McCormick-Deering line of equipment.
    Logo for the International Harvester McCormick-Deering line of equipment.
  • William Deering
    William Deering
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick
    Cyrus Hall McCormick

  • Logo for the International Harvester McCormick-Deering line of equipment.
  • William Deering
  • Cyrus Hall McCormick

Not long ago, someone asked: “Whatever happened to McCormick-Deering?”

As most of you know, McCormick-Deering was never a “company” itself, but the trademark name of a line of tractors and farm machinery manufactured by the International Harvester Co.

Between the mid-1880s and 1902, a vicious battle known as “the Harvester Wars” was waged on America’s grain fields. The farm equipment manufacturer’s capacity to build harvesting machines far exceeded demand, so sales representatives of the two giants, McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. and Deering Harvester Co., along with their smaller rivals, tried every trick possible to sell their binders to reluctant farmers. The struggle became so intense that competing salesmen would not only bribe farmers to buy, but also allegedly sabotaged the competition’s machines and physically attacked people.

As the war dragged on, binder prices fell drastically and selling expenses grew to more than 40 percent of total sales. Something had to be done and, in 1902, a merger among the five largest companies was brokered by the J.P. Morgan banking firm. The McCormick, Deering and Milwaukee Harvester companies, Piano Mfg. Co., and Warder, Bushnell & Glessner (Champion harvesters) merged to become the mighty International Harvester Co.

For many years after the merger, IHC sold two parallel lines of equipment, one named McCormick and one named Deering, each slightly different from the other, but wearing the IHC logo. This was deemed necessary since each line had its loyal customers, and there was usually both a McCormick and a Deering dealer in every farm community.

The U.S. government filed an antitrust action against IHC in 1912, and the suit dragged on until a consent decree was signed in 1918. One of the terms of the agreement called for IHC to have only one dealer in each town, meaning that the dual McCormick and Deering lines of equipment could no longer be maintained. Indeed, the expense of designing, building and supporting both lines of equipment had been a serious drag on the company, so in 1923 a new grain binder – one combining the best features of each of the older machines – was introduced and called the McCormick-Deering. All of IHC’s other farm implements soon followed suit, and the famous McCormick-Deering line was born.

5/21/2016 12:04:49 PM

I have a 1941 Farmall A. Is it a McCormick Deering Farmall A or just a McCormick Farmall A.?

9/21/2015 7:41:54 PM

Hello Can someone get me going in the right direction in finding a part (part # 2395-L) for a McCormick Deering no.7 DNSilage Cutter? el free too e-mail me at Thank You

9/11/2015 1:09:08 PM

Hello, I am working on a long term project for the DEERING ESTATE park ( in Miami (last home of Charles Deering) for which I am collecting images/video related to Deering Harvester Co. and equipment from the McCormick-Deering line. If you would like to share your images/video (old or new, amateur, etc), I will make sure to credit them properly when using them. At this point we are creating fairly informal yet educational videos to display throughout the Museum and park. As our research develops and we are able to acquire more artifacts, we hope to establish a permanent exhibition.


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