1880s to 1980s
By Nick Baldwin
(Shire Publications, Paperback, 9780747807544, 63pp.)
Publication Date: February 23, 2010
List Price: $12.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Starting with steam power in the middle of the nineteenth century, the agricultural tractor became motorized in the early years of the twentieth century. From vast prairie types, lighter, one-man machines arrived in time to avert famine in the First World War. Mass production followed, which brought the price of tractors within reach of the average farmer. Meanwhile tractors changed from being simple substitutes for draught animals to highly sophisticated machines, with power takeoffs and hydraulically mounted implements. Pneumatic tires and diesel engines revolutionized the 1930s market, after which draught control and then inexpensive four-wheel-drive made sure that fuel and time went into crop production rather than wheelspin. This marked the end of the widespread use of tracked crawlers, as powerful and efficient wheeled tractors took their place, incorporating the latest multi-range transmission technology.
All the key developments and significant tractor makers are described in this book, from the beginning of the tractor's development to the 1970s. Illustrated by period views of machines at work and in contemporary sales literature, this is a nostalgic history of the machine that has been at the center of agricultural life since before World War II.