Introduction (Inside Cover)
Most tractor enthusiasts, irrespective of their allegiance to a particular brand, will be aware that despite many crises (including workforce strikes and financial difficulties) The International Harvester Company was one of the most prolific agricultural machinery manufacturers in existence, until it was taken over by Tenneco in the 1980s to form Case IH.
It all began in 1831 when a young Cyrus Hall McCormick first tried a reaping machine in an oat field in Virginia, USA. After several years of developing the reaper, McCormick emerged with a machine that was hailed by many critics as one of the greatest agricultural innovations of all.
Success saw McCormick move his company to Chicago, Illinois, where he was quick to realise the potential of overseas sales, product training, service and spare parts. McCormick was keen to get his son involved in the business and before he died, in 1884, Cyrus Jr had established himself as a worthy successor - eventually becoming President of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, aged 25.
At the beginning of the 20th century McCormick was head-to-head, in terms of sales, with the Deering Harvester Company and it was inevitable that the two companies would come together. In 1902 they were amalgamated, along with the Milwaukee Harvester Company; the Piano Manufacturing Company; and Warder, Bushell and Glessner. The new business was called The International Harvester Company.
Four years later, the new company's first viable tractor - based on a Morton truck and featuring an International 'Famous' single-cylinder engine - was produced. This was the forerunner to the Mogul and Titan tractors that became prolific in Britain during World War 1, before the likes of the Farmall F-12 took hold in the mid-1920s.
The 1940s and '50s were the years when IH established itself with some truly great models. The streamlined Farmalls, like the H and M models, put International Harvester firmly on the tractor-building map - inevitably leading to the production of tractors at the IHGB plant at Wheatley Hall Road in 1949.
British-built models would become very popular over the years, with the four-cylinder B-250 an obvious example, but the influx of engines and complete tractors from Rock Island, Illinois, and Neuss-on-Rhine, Germany, helped to cement International Harvester's status among Britain's farming community.
The stories behind the evolution of The International Harvester Company in North America and its satellite facilities are epic, but it was the tractors and machinery produced at these factories that gave the company such prowess.
During the company's glory years, many fantastic machines were produced - with the American, British and German factories uniting to create the iconic tractors that we know and love today.
Alternative farming practices in America, such as min-till, invariably meant that tractors built there were quite different to those used by farmers in European countries, but IH had a knack of filling gaps in its product line-up by offering a global range of models. Many of these were popular at the time, whereas others have only recently become attractive to collectors. The recent influx in imports has created a new level of excitement among enthusiasts, with models that were once specific to one country now commonplace throughout the world.
This book aims to showcase International Harvester's brilliant machinery and the dedicated enthusiasts who are passionate about preserving the company's heritage. It is a blend of history, restorations, model profiles and buyer's guides - a true collection of all things IH.