Friday, June 25, 2010

History of Tractors

History of Tractors
The first powered farm implements in the early 1800s were portable engines – steam engines on wheels that could be used to drive mechanical farm machinery by way of a flexible belt. Around 1850, the first traction engines were developed from these, and were widely adopted for agricultural use. The first tractors were steam-powered ploughing engines. They were used in pairs, placed on either side of a field to haul a plough back and forth between them using a wire cable. Where soil conditions permitted (as in the United States) steam tractors were used to direct-haul ploughs, but in the UK and elsewhere ploughing engines were used for cable-hauled ploughing instead. Steam-powered agricultural engines remained in use well into the 20th century until reliable internal combustion engines had been developed.[4]

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Charles W. Hart and Charles H. Parr developed a two-cylinder gasoline engine and set up their business in Charles City, Iowa. In 1903 the firm built fifteen "tractors". A term with Latin roots coined by Hart and Parr and a combination of the words traction and power. The 14,000 pound #3 is the oldest surviving internal combustion engine tractor in the United States and is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. The two-cylinder engine has a unique hit-and-miss firing cycle that produced 30 horsepower at the belt and 18 at the drawbar.

[Image: 800px-International_1920_tractor.JPG]

In 1892, John Froelich built the first practical gasoline-powered tractor in Clayton County, Iowa. Only two were sold, and it was not until 1911, when the Twin City Traction Engine Company developed the design, that it became successful.

A 1920 International Harvester tractor, showing features inherited from earlier steam tractor designs.In Britain, the first recorded tractor sale was the oil-burning Hornsby-Ackroyd Patent Safety Oil Traction engine, in 1897. However, the first commercially successful design was Dan Albone's three-wheel Ivel tractor of 1902. In 1908, the Saunderson Tractor and Implement Co. of Bedford introduced a four-wheel design, and went on to become the largest tractor manufacturer outside the U.S. at that time.

While unpopular at first, these gasoline-powered machines began to catch on in the 1910s when they became smaller and more affordable.[5] Henry Ford introduced the Fordson, the first mass-produced tractor in 1917. They were built in the U.S., Ireland, England and Russia and by 1923, Fordson had 77% of the U.S. market. The Fordson dispensed with a frame, using the strength of the engine block to hold the machine together. By the 1920s, tractors with a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine had become the norm.

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