The History Of Ford Tractors

Ford is clearly known as being one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world and has been so since the Model T. Most people don’t realize, but Ford also has a rich history in the tractor industry as well.

The Start

When Ford Motor Co. got started in the early 1900’s the farming industry was much bigger than it is today. Henry Ford created the slight spin off of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford and Son Company, which was in charge of creating Fordson, the tractor line. They were originally made for Europe and Canada specifically. They were produced during World War 1 in hopes of helping with food production during the war. They were released to the United States just a few years after being released in Canada and Europe. By the time they got into the United States Ford was a household name, helping boost the tractor’s success. Tractors never rivaled car production for Ford, but they represented a decent piece of the total business at one time.


Henry Ford faced a very unique situation when he sought to get into the tractor industry. His shareholders did not want their dividends affected by the new tractor business. They did not invest in Ford to produce tractors, but rather their vehicles. This caused Henry Ford to create a new business separate from Ford Motor Co., Fordson. Fordson was owned by Henry Ford & Son, who just combined this name when starting the tractor production. One caveat from the agreement to split Fordson off from Ford Motor Co. was that Fordson could never use the Ford brand on their tractors. Ford investors didn’t want the name on tractors they didn’t produce in case Ford Motor Co. ever decided to get into the tractor industry themselves. Fordson was acquired by Ford Motor Co. shortly after it officially became Fordson, but still operated under the Fordson name. Ford Motor Company LTD (U.K.) used the Fordson brand on tractors and even some trucks all the way until 1964, when it was officially discontinued.

Henry Ford was one of the greatest innovators and businessmen of all time, so his investment in tractors at the time made a lot of sense. Ford already had so much infrastructure in place to produce cars and engines that a jump into the tractor industry at a time when tractors were in such high demand made a lot of sense. Unfortunately for Henry, his idea was met with a lot of worry from his investors that they would be losing money in the short term, so that complicated the process. Tractors didn’t pan out as well as they could have for Henry Ford, but the Fordson brand was around for about 50 years and had a presence around the world.


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