Trucks & Heavy Equipment | 27 January 2016The Farmall Tractor: Production During World War II Share article facebook twitter google pinterest As World War II dawned on the horizon, innovation of the tractor made tremendous strides and the Farmall evolved even more rapidly, including one of its best-selling models: the 1939 Model H. In its fully updated and expanded second edition, Farmall: The Red Tractor that Revolutionized Farming explores the history of America’s most enduring tractor from its early beginnings in the 1920s to its thriving success today. Here we take a look at prewar production of the Farmall from the late 1930s into the 1940s, including the short-term manufacturing switch back to steel wheels, as World War II claimed all industrial copper and rubber. The International Harvester Corporation (IHC) produced more than 117,000 of these small farm tractors between 1939 and 1948. In 1940, the base machine sold for $515. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1939 Model H. IHC manufactured its first Model H tractor on July 3, 1939. It quickly became the best-selling Farmall. Farmall Works produced more than 10,000 in 1939 alone. This was the right tractor at the right time. It would share a wheelbase with the larger Model M so that Bert Benjamin’s implements functioned interchangeably. This meant that farmers didn’t have to purchase two sets of tools if they owned both an M and an H. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1939 Model M with Elwood Front Wheel Drive. Elwood Manufacturing began producing 4WD kits in the mid-1950s. Farmers needed increasingly efficient methods and equipment to get engine power onto the ground. More power to the rear wheels alone sometimes resulted in wheel spin. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1941 Model AV. The Model A vegetable tractor provided owners and operators an extra 5 inches of ground clearance over the standard A. These little tractors measured only 115 inches long and 69.25 inches high at the steering wheel. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1941 Model H. IHC developed the Model H at the same time and in the same testing venues as it did the M. This H, with 25.5 drawbar horsepower, made easy work of plowing in dry, hard Indiana soil. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1941 Model A. The adjustable front end allowed a range of tread width from 44 up to 64 inches. The tractor weighed just 1,870 pounds. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1942 Model H. The war claimed all industrial copper and rubber. This quickly returned tractors to steel wheels and crank starting. Model H tractor production remained high during the war years. IHC produced 34,987 in 1942, 21,375 in 1943, and 37,265 in 1944. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition 1945 Model M. It was big, powerful, and handsome. IHC hired outside industrial designer Raymond Loewy to “style” its new letter series models that first appeared in 1939. Loewy’s prototype designs displayed full engine covers trimmed with slender chrome strips. The Executive Committee vetoed the chrome because of costs, and engineers eliminated the covers to improve engine cooling, as seen on this and all subsequent production Ms. Photo credit: Randy Leffingwell / Farmall, 2nd Edition ————————————————- The complete history of the tractor that changed farming forever. Award-winning author and photographer Randy Leffingwell and renowned tractor historian Robert N. Pripps tell the story of the Farmall tractor, one of the most significant and popular farm tractors ever made. International Harvester’s Farmall ushered in innovations in engineering, manufacturing, and design that changed the world of tractors. Along the way, the Farmall became an icon in agriculture. In Farmall: The Red Tractor That Revolutionized Farming, the history of the Farmall is traced from the first Farmall, developed in the early 1920s, through its evolution to the new Farmall models. The book combines a broad cultural history of Farmall with photos of restored machines, as well as color and black and white archival photography. Trace all of the tractor models, variations, improvements, engine and hydraulic advances, and accompanying implements through every Farmall generation. This new, up-to-date history of Farmall includes the latest models and implements, bringing you all of the information you want about these unique tractors. Randy Leffingwell wrote his first book, American Muscle, in 1989 while still on staff at the Los Angeles Times. Since then, he has authored another 47 titles for Motorbooks and its sister publisher Voyageur Press, including Porsche 911 50 Years, Corvette 60 Years, and The Art of the Corvette. Leffingwell is considered one of the top Porsche historians working today, and he enjoys a close working relationship with Porsche AG. He lives in southern California, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. Robert N. Pripps has authored and co-authored dozens of farm tractor books, including Classic Farm Tractors, Vintage Ford Tractors, Big Book of Caterpillar, Big Book of Massey, and more. Pripps lives near Park Falls, Wisconsin, where he owns a maple syrup farm. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.