Just about each and every part of the Fordson tractor was improved upon by commercial manufacturers, either by redesign or addition. This early trend held true for almost any equipment/machinery item possible. One can even start at the very front of the Fordson with the crank, travel back to the drawbar and find advertisements in early farm and equipment magazines showing these after-market items.
To name just a few, and, starting at the front with the crank again, improved additions or replacements were available for radiators, water pumps, ignition magnetos, manifolds, Ricardo heads, governors, spark plugs, pulleys, air cleaners, brakes, steering wheels, seats, seat springs and wheels. Even drawbars and hitches were redesigned. Advertisements show many interesting innovations to these and other parts.
Then, too, farm and construction machinery was designed and built to fit the Fordson, including attached plows, graders, road rollers, dump trucks, buckets, snow plows, booms, skid units, gleaners, corn pickers, cultivators, row crop wheels, mowing machines, railroad engines, full tracks, half-tracks and even a ‘snowmobile.’
One of the more common add-ons, however, was the cordwood saw, sometimes referred to as the ‘saw rig.’
Modern chainsaws have replaced the early one- and two-man whipsaws that loggers and woodcutters used. Even the drag saw, a great laborsaving device, has come into disuse and faded away. But the cordwood saw continued to be utilized up to fairly modern times. While most modern tractors mounted their saw rig on the front, the Ford-Ferguson, Ford 8-N and Ferguson TO-20 and 30 used the opposite end, as their pulley-power take-offs were built onto the rear of the tractor.
Most used the ‘belt-up’ method introduced by the Fordson. Lift up the frame to travel, drop to the ground, activate the pulley and the circular blade was ready to saw away.
For those who couldn’t afford to own a Fordson tractor, various companies made just the saw frames -either portable or stationary – which could be powered by small gas engine (or whatever was available).
Model T Ford owners could buy an attachment to power almost any kind of equipment, including their cordwood saw. Even Montgomery Wards and Sears sold either the individual saw frames or their Fordson-mount-ed saw.
The early 1920’s buzz saw attachments helped convince the public of the Fordson’s versatility and, along with the other attachments, machinery and equipment, led the way to virtually eliminate the use of ‘manpower’ and true horsepower, the only sources of labor power available up to that time. The Fordson tractor and after-market items were ahead of their time and should be recognized and given their due credit for the many innovations now in common use today.
Jack Heald is the National Director of the Fordson Tractor Club. FC