Irish Farm Implements: Ferguson Tractor Heritage

Harry Ferguson lives on in the Ferguson tractor and farm implements from one Irishman’s collection.

| June 2014

  • Colin Taylor on his 1942 Ford Ferguson competing in the 2012 Mullahead Ploughing Match in County Down. Colin bought this tractor more than 10 years back and he and his dad restored it.
    Photo by Colin Taylor
  • A pair of TEF Diesel Fergies, each with a banana loader. Colin finds the pallet forks particularly useful for lifting and moving his Fergie implements.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin frequently takes his Fergies on road runs. This one is pictured mid-run (with the splendid Mourne Mountains that County Down, Northern Ireland, is so famous for in the background).
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin reckons that this “banana loader” is the handiest Ferguson implement he owns.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin’s favourite tractor of all (and the first one he ever owned) with a Ferguson reversible plough, outside the house of Harry Ferguson himself!
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin and his mother, Maria (since deceased), on one of his Fergies.
    Photo courtesy Josephine Roberts
  • Colin’s dad, Sam, ploughing on the TE-50 with a 3-furrow Massey Ferguson plough.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin’s Ferguson hammer mill on the rear of his 1952 Ferguson TEK vineyard model. Colin and his fiancée bought this tractor for their son Callum just after he was born.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • A chance ride on a little gray Fergie as a small child set the course for Colin. Now in his mid-30s, he’s the proud owner of this fantastic Fergie collection.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin’s son Callum sitting on Colin’s TE-50. If you look closely you just might be able to see the foot throttle and the 135 engine hiding under the bonnet. Behind the tractor is a Ferguson Universal seed drill, which Colin is using to sow corn.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin’s Ferguson potato spinner in action.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Three Ferguson tractors, two Ferguson trailers, a winch and a banana loader – just a fraction of Colin’s collection.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • The Ferguson Bridge. Colin, his dad, Sam, and a posse of fellow Fergie fanatics recently recreated the iconic “Ferguson Bridge.” Colin has been planning to make the bridge since acquiring his second banana loader. “People would ask me why I wanted two,” he recalls, “and I would say, ‘One day I’ll have a job for them both!’”
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • The half-track kit is handy for work and for play.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • It doesn’t get much more Irish than this: Colin’s Ferguson potato planter at work. Colin’s cousin, Stephen Kearney, is driving the tractor, and family friends Eamon Cusack and Anthony McEvoy are on the planter.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Colin’s 1955 TED-20 undertaking a spot of bulldozing work.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts
  • Three generations of Fergie fanatics: Colin, with his sons, Callum and Aaron, and his dad, Sam, pictured with Colin’s much loved Ferguson-Brown tractor.
    Photo by Josephine Roberts

I’ve discussed in this column before the importance of the Ferguson tractor for us Brits. Not only was it a hugely successful machine and the first tractor for many farmers here, its revolutionary 3-point linkage system completely changed the way in which farm implements and tractors worked together.

Engineer and inventor Harry Ferguson was born at Growell, Northern Ireland, in 1884. How proud the Irish nation must be of him, for whilst he is best known to tractor enthusiasts as the man who brought us the world-famous little gray tractors and the hugely innovative Ferguson System, he was also famous for several other feats of engineering. Ferguson was the first Irishman to build and fly his own airplane and he also developed the first four-wheel drive Formula One car.

It is most fitting that only 10 minutes away from Harry Ferguson’s old home lives a truly dedicated Ferguson tractor fanatic called Colin Taylor. Colin is doing his personal best to preserve as many of Ferguson’s wares as possible.

The first tractor Colin drove was a little gray Fergie that belonged to a friend of his father’s. Colin recalls his father lifting him onto the seat, putting the tractor into gear and walking alongside as the 4-year-old boy steered the tractor around a field. Soon Colin looked forward to going to his dad’s friend’s place so that he could “have a spin on the tractor”; he reckons that was the point where his enthusiasm for tractors took root.

Most enthusiasts start their collections later in life, but Colin got a head start. He began his collection whilst still in his teens. Although he is now only in his 30s he has already built up an extensive and fascinating collection of Ferguson tractors and implements.

Fergie mania

When young Colin and his family moved to a rural area, they bought their own tractor for cutting the grass, but the tractor was a Ford and it was the gray Fergies that Colin really idolized. He began to collect pictures and information on Ferguson tractors and constantly daydreamed about owning one. Colin fell in with a neighbour who owned a Ford Ferguson and started helping out with the tractor. Before long he was driving it around the show ring for his neighbour, an important milestone for a 12-year-old lad.


Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

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