The Old Tractor
“Is that a Fordson in the barn there?” I ask
Yes it is.” Wayne replies. “A 1919.”
[Fordson was a tractor designed by Ford Motor Co. in 1917. Due to WWI it did not go into full production until 1919. Although rated one of the worst tractors on the market at the time by the Univ. of Nebraska the Fordson became the best selling tractor in the U.S. due to its low price, $750, and simple design. For many farmers this was the tractor that replaced the horse.]
“My grandfather bought it new in 1919.”
A forward looking man.” I replied.
“Yes he was. But the fact is he never got the hang of drivin’ it. He kept runnin’ into things. He preferred his oxen and horses. One day he went out to start it. No starter on them. Had to hand crank it. I guess he forgot to retard the timing or somethin’ cause when it fired that hand crank came back around and flung him clean into the hay loft. Well he climbed out of the hay, got down and walked out of the barn past where one o’ the hands was standin’. My Granddad turned to him and said, ‘Fred get a pitchfork and bury that damn tractor with the hay. I don’t want to ever see it again.’ As far as I know that was the last time it was used.”
Thanks Al and Lorraine, hope it’s cooler up there for you. Always enjoyed Maine, although mainly around Boothbay, with the Larkin’s and Mann’s. You’re not far from the Canadian border, Maritimes here we come! I remember leaving Ashby and being in Nova Scotia the same evening, and the Bay of Fundy flooding so says when we stopped to cook breakfast the next day. If Kenny was with us, he would weep over the Fordson. Surely it must have value, having stood silently for a 100 years? Simple machines like that can be restored, given time, money and energy.
Safe troubles, Love, Robin.
Hello Robin, There is a British connection here. In the U. S. we say the Fordson did not go into production until 1919 but it actually went into production in 1917. Britain was concerned about its wartime food production and the yet to be named tractor fit the bill. It was low priced and designed for smaller farms. The British Ministry of Munitions (MoM) purchased virtually all of the 1917 and 1918 production. Indeed Ford referred to it as the MoM tractor during those years. At the conclusion of the war the tractor still had no name. As an aside, at the insistence of the British government, Ford also constructed a tractor manufacturing plant in Ireland. Although the plant had not begun production by the end of the war it would supply the UK market after the war.
If you recall the Univ. of Nebraska Tractor Museum one of the guides mentioned that a Nebraska entrepreneur got wind that Henry Ford was interested in tractors and began the Ford Tractor Co. in 1915 and was marketing tractors under that name. In 1919 Henry Ford, because he could not use the name Ford on his tractor, named it Fordson, a shortening of the company name Henry Ford & Sons.
The tractor actually isn’t worth a great deal. Over half a million were made in the US and unless they were scrapped they just sit there. Much like the model T they’re fun for those that like to tinker with them but they don’t command a great price.
We hope your sale is proceeding successfully. Talk soon.
Alan & Lorraine