Introduction (Inside Cover)
The fascinating history of David Brown agricultural machinery began in 1936, when a subsidiary of David Brown and Sons (Huddersfield) Ltd. teamed up with Harry Ferguson to build the Ferguson-Brown tractor. This was, of course, the first production tractor to feature a converging, hydraulically-operated, three-point linkage and would set both parties on their way to producing some of the most famous tractors ever built.
This all stemmed from humble beginnings, with the Ferguson-Brown tractors produced in a small part of David Brown's renowned gear-manufacturing facility. More than 1,300 were built before Ferguson and Brown went their separate ways - Ferguson teamed up with Ford in the USA and David Brown began making tractors to its own individual design.
The VAK1 was launched to an enthusiastic crowd at the 1939 Royal Show, but the outbreak of World War 2 put paid to building agricultural tractors and it would be a further seven years before manufacturing could begin in earnest - although the company did produce airfield tractors for the Royal Air Force during the war years.
Despite its rather late joining of the tractor bandwagon, David Brown gained a loyal following and a reputation for build quality, giving it a fighting chance against the firmly-established marques such as Fordson.
Further iconic machines followed, such as the Cropmaster, 25D, 30D and 50D tractors as well as the Trackmaster crawlers, before the company took the decision to add another string to its bow. Looking to become more of an all-round manufacturer and supplier, in 1955 it purchased Harrison, McGregor & Guest Ltd. The Albion range of implements produced by this company fitted the bill precisely.
The new plant at Leigh gave David Brown a dedicated implement factory, but this would be revised later to become the manufacturing plant for tractor components, loaders and backhoes, leaving the original Meltham factory to concentrate purely on building tractors.
A strong export business evolved over the next few years and this success attracted the attention of Tenneco Inc. This large, American-based company was originally founded in 1940 to build a natural gas pipeline from Texas to West Virginia, but quickly became a multi-faceted business. After purchasing David Brown Tractors in 1972, Tenneco Inc. decided to merge the company with another of its recently-acquired companies, JI Case of Racine, Wisconsin.
In 1973, the new colour scheme of white, orange and black was adopted for all DB and Case tractors and a successful alliance was forged until 1986 when, following Tenneco's purchase of International Harvester, Case IH was born.
Less than two years later, Case IH took the decision to close the Meltham factory and so the former International Harvester plant at Doncaster became the main focus for the tractor-building efforts of the much-revised company.
This may have upset enthusiasts and customers, but their loyalty remained and the company's products are now more popular than ever. The iconic Cropmaster and the Primrose Yellow-wheeled tractors have always been a hit on the historic tractor scene, but in more recent times the popularity of the Chocolate Brown/Orchid White and Power Red-liveried tractors is now definitely in ascendance.
In this book we meet those that have a true passion for David Brown - diehard fans that have a penchant for anything associated with the company and will go to extraordinary lengths to preserve the history of a once-great tractor manufacturer.