The 1955 Farmall Model 300 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 22368and the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.
Brian Wayne Wells
The tricycle-style Farmall Model 300 tractor. This tractor has the optional three hydraulic levers which are attached to the hood of the tractor behind the steering wheel on the operator’s platform. From this angle the levers can be seen in this picture, just just behind the headlight. Two of these levers will control the hydraulic oil flow through the two hydraulic hoses, which are seen in this picture in front of the belt pulley. These two hoses will led to hydraulic connectors on the rear of the tractor to be used for remote hydraulic cylinders on any farm equipmdnt that might be towed by the tractor. The third lever is probably for the fast hitch on the tractor.
This article remains under construction. Periodically, new blocks of text will appear in the article and/or current blocks of text will be corrected.
Introduction of the “letter-series” tractors actually began on June 21, 1939 with the full scale production of the Farmall Model A tractor at the company’s “Tractor Works” factory located at 24th Street and Western Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. During the last half of 1939, the Tractor Works would turn out 6,243 Farmall Model A tractors and the next year–1940 (the first full year of production)–the Chicago factory would manufacture 34,756 Farmall Model A tractors.
An advertisement of the introduction of the “letter-series” tractors in 1939. In the summer of 1939 the Farmall Models M, H, and A of the letter-series were introduced. Six months later on December 26, 1939 a fourth model–the Model B was introduced.
However, the real action in Farmall tractor production was occurring across the State of Illinois on the Mississippi River at Rock, Island, Illinois. In Rock Island, at the company’s “Farmall Works” facility the larger Farmall tractors which held the future of the company, were being produced. The three-plow Farmall M, which was the largest of the row-crop tractors of all the letter series tractors, began production on July 15, 1939 at the huge “Farmall Works” factory. The Farmall Model H tractor began production on its own assembly line within the Farmall Works.
The Farmall H assembly line at the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois was always busy turning out the most popular of all Farmall letter series tractors–the Model H.
As noted in other articles at this website, when the two-plow Farmall H began production on July21, 1939, the Model H quickly became the leading seller in the Farmall line of tractors, immediately out-selling the larger Farmall M. (In 1939, 10,152 Farmall Model H’s were made and sold as opposed to only 6,739 Farmall M’s) There were at multiple assembly lines in the large Farmall Works facility. One of the assembly lines in the Farmall Works was dedicated to production of the Farmall H, while production of the Farmall M was performed on another assembly line in another part of the factory.
From the very first of the production run of the letter series in the summer of 1939, the Farmall Model H was the most popular selling tractor of the series.
During the years that followed the introduction of the letter-series tractors, production of the Farmall H continued to outstrip production of the Farmall M in the years that followed. (41,734 Farmall H’s were made in the model year1940 and 40,850 were made in 1941. During the same years, production of the larger Farmall M was limited to only 18,131 in 1940 and 25,617 in 1941.) These were the glory years of tractor production for the Farmall Model H.
However, with the coming of the Second World War, the United States government began to restrict the use of raw materials and manufacturing capacity for anything but the war effort. Civilian manufacturing was greatly curtailed during the war years. Accordingly, in model year 1942, production of the Farmall Model H at International Harvesters‘ Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois fell to 29,353. In 1943, production of the Model H fell to 27,661 tractors. In 1944, production rose again to 35,872, but still did not reach the pre-war production figures. Production in 1945 was 28,697 Farmall H’s. Even with the end of the war, the number of Farmall Model H’s rolling off the Model H assembly line at the huge Rock Island Farmall Works facility in 1946, still was limited to 26,343 Farmall H’s. (During these same immediate post-war years, production of the Farmall M lagged behind at 9,025 tractors in 1942; 7,413 Farmall Model M’s in 1943; and 20,661 Model M’s in 1944; 17,479 in 1945; 17,259 in 1946 and 28,885 in 1947.)
Public appreciation of the benefits of the more powerful Farmall Model M was delayed. The Farmall M would become the best selling tractor in the Farmall line only in 1949, a full ten years after 1939 when the M was first introduced.
However, as the demand for bigger and more efficient farm equipment grew in the post-war years, farmers turned to buying larger farm tractors like the Farmall Model M. As a result the sales gap between the Model H and the Model M sales narrowed and in 1947 sales of the Farmall M reached 28,885 tractors and actually surpassed sales of the Farmall H (27,848 Farmall H’s in 1947) for the first time. After falling behind the Model H in sales for the year 1948, (31,885 Farmall Model H’s as opposed to 28,806 Model M’s were manufactured in 1948), the Model M once again took the lead in the sales and production again in 1949 with 33,065 Farmall M’s rolling off the Model M assembly line while only 27,099 Farmall H’s rolled off the Model H assembly line at the Farmall Works facility in Rock Island, Illinois. This time the Model M would continue to lead the Farmall H in production figures for the remainder of the production run of the letter-series tractors. (In 1950, production of the Model M reached 33,939 tractors. In 1951, a record, 43,405 Farmall M tractors were made and sold.
In 1952, the International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Model M with the new Farmall Super M. Early in the production year of 1952 the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois made 7,295 Farmall M tractors before the factory was closed down for retooling and preparation for the production of the Super M. International Harvester actually built 12,015 Super M’s at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois in the latter part of the 1952 production year. (An additional 1,905 Super M’s built at the newly constructed factory located in Louisville, Kentucky.)
An aerial view of the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois
Meanwhile, on the Farmall H assembly line at the same Rock Island factory, 23,948 Farmall Model H’s rolled off the Model H assembly line in 1950; 23,938 followed in 1951 and an identical number of 23,938 were made in 1952. Accordingly, after the first three years of production of the Farmall H–1939-1941, production of the Farmall Model H became much more consistent during the 11 years from 1942 through 1952. During these 11 years the average yearly production of Farmall Model H’s was 27,871 Model H’s per year, or 2,323 every month during this period of time. If we assume that the average month consists of 20 working days excluding weekends and holidays the daily production of Farmall H’s during this period was 116 tractors each work day.
Additionally, 727 Farmall H’s were made in 1953 bringing the total number of Farmall H’s manufactured during the entire production run from 1939 through 1953 to 391,227 individual tractors. Of course, in 1953, the International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Model H with a the Farmall Model Super H. So after making the 727 Farmall H’s in the early part of the production year of 1953– the Farmall Works facility closed down for a retooling of the H assembly line. Following the retooling of the H assembly line, the Farmall Works produced 21,707 individual Super H tractors in the latter part of 1953.
Adding the 1953 production of Farmall H’s with the 1953 production of Super H’s together,results in the combined production figure of 22,434 individual tractors that came off the Farmall H assembly line at the Rock Island Farmall Works in 1953. This combined production figure for 1953 was only 5,437 less that the average yearly production of the Farmall H assembly line in the Farmall Works facility. The loss of production time in 1953 from the average production year appears to be the equivalent of two-months and seven working days. This was probably the amount of time that was needed for a skeleton crew of workers to retool the Farmall H assembly line at the Farmall Works to begin full production of the Super H.
Introduction of the Farmall Super H occurred at the Minnesota State Fair in late August of 1952 which was the actual beginning of the 1953 “model year.”
Up to this point, this article has been referring to the term “production year.” If the “production year” coincided with the calendar year, it would logical to assume that the 1953 production of 727 Farmall H’s occurred over the first six days in January, 1953. However, it is more likely that the 1953 production figures are not for the “calendar year” of 1953, but rather are for the “production or model year” of 1953. Tractors did not change styling on an annual basis the way that automobiles were starting to do annually in the post-World War period, but tractors were starting follow a “model year” system like automobiles rather than following a traditional calendar year system. Under the model year system, new model automobiles were introduced in September of the previous year rather than on January 1st of the current year. However, the model year in tractors would need to begin in August of each year, especially for model years that involved substantive changes in the model of tractor. The reason was that State Fairs around the nation offered the best opportunity for tractor manufacturers to advertise their new tractors to the nation’s farming public. State Fairs created a great deal of excitement and were an advertising opportunity that tractor manufacturers simply could not afford to miss. Especially favored by tractor manufacturers was the nation’s largest agricultural fair–the Minnesota State Fair–which was held over the last ten (10) days before Labor Day each year.
Accordingly, we can comfortably predict that full production run of the Farmall Super H was begun in early August of 1952 to have sufficient time to get examples of the new Super H off the production line and shipped to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota “block house” (the International Harvester Company-owned distribution warehouse located at 2572 University Avenue in the midtown area between the two cities. Ordinarily, the staff at the block house would be hurriedly re-shipping the tractors they received from the Farmall Works to the various dealerships around Minnesota who they served. However, in this case the block house staff would be instructed to not ship any Super Hs out to their dealership until after the official introduction of the Super H at the large International Harvester tent on the State Fairgrounds on the first day of the State Fair.
Television in the early 1950 helped create even more excitement around the Minnesota State Fair. Tractor Manufacturers could not pass up the advertising possibilities to reach the farming public available at the Minnesota State Fair. Here KSTP Channel 9 television out of Minneapolis at the State Fair adds to the excitement and advertising possibilities of the State fair in the 1950s.
Production of the Farmall Super H tractor was short-lived. It was well advertised that the Model Super H had more horse power (hp.) than the regular Farmall Model H. (Testing in Nebraska had shown the new Super H to turn out 30.68 hp. at the drawbar and 33.40 hp. at the belt pulley. While the regular Model H had created only 24.17 hp. ag the drawbar and 26.40 at the belt pulley.) However, one small difference that probably went unnoticed at the State Fair. This was the fact that the wheel base of the Super H was about an inch longer that the regular H. (89.25 inches for the Super H and 88.325 inches for the regular H) a single inch added to the wheel base would hardly be noticeable to anyone. However, it pointed to a trend. When the Model 300 replaced the Super H in August of 1954, there would another increase in the wheel base of the tractor to 92.25 inches for the Model 300. .
The International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Super H in their line of farm tractors with the Farmall Model 300 tractor at the start of the model year 1955. Once again the “model year” of 1955 actually began in August of 1954. Indeed, the model year of 1955, saw the introduction of the whole line of the “Hundred Series” tractors by the International Harvester Company. The Hundred Series line of tractors included the larger Model 400 and the smaller Model 200 and Model 100 tractor in addition to the Model 300. .
Following the re-tooling of the Model H assembly line at the Rock Island “Farmall Works” factory, production of the new Farmall 300 was begun on about August 1, 1954, the start of the new 1955 model year.
The production figures of the Farmall Super H and the Farmall 300 are confusing because both Super H and the 300 were produced for only one entire model year each–1952 and 1954, respectively. Every year has 250 working days excluding Saturday and Sunday of each of 52 weeks in the year. By using the serial numbers index we can determine how many tractors can be built in a single day at the Rock Island Tractor Works. Whether the tractor was the Farmall H or the Farmall Super H or the Farmall 300, the average daily production figure was 85 tractors per day. As noted above, instead of the January to January, calendar year we must consider the model year which for reasons stated above, must be considered rather than the calendar year. Instead, of January 1, we look at the August 1 as the beginning of the new model year. Following this procedure we can determine that the 1955 model year of the Farmall 300 began on August 1, 1954. and ended on August 1, 1955. At the rate of production of 85 tractors built per day, the production of the Farmall 300 bearing the Serial No. 22368 occurred on the Monday, July 18, 1955. Just 10 days prior to the start of the new model year of August, 1955-August, 1956.
When the new Farmall 300 was made available to the public, there were a number of options that were available for the 300. These options had not been available on predecessors of the 300, i.e. the Farmall Super H or the Farmall H. First, one of the most common options available on the Farmall 300 was the newly developed “Torque Amplifier” or “T.A.” After being available in 1954 on the Farmall Super MTA tractor during the short production run of the Super MTA in 1954, the T.A. option was made available on “Hundred Series” tractors, e.g. the Model 400 and Model 300 etc., when the Hundred Series was introduced in the 1955 model year.
An advertisement of the Torque Amplifier or T.A. that was available for the tractors of the new Hundred Series.
The 1955 Farmall Model 300 bearing the Serial No. 22368 was first purchased by a farm family from Carver County and probably purchased from an International Harvester dealership in the county seat of Chaska . The tractor was equipped at the factory with every single piece of optional equipment that had been made available for the Model 300. Besides the Torque Amplifier option which is described above, No. 22368 is fitted with the optional three hydraulic valve levers located on the right side of the dash board on the operator’s platform.
The optional set of three levers on the right side of the dash board of the Farmall 300 tractor.
This set of three levers is optional as compared with Hundred Series Farmalls fitted with only two levers or even just one lever. These levers are the hydraulic valve control levers on the tractor. Each lever controls the hydraulic oil that can be pumped to down a hose to a cylinder located on the tractor or located “remotely” on an implement being towed by the tractor.
As will be discussed below, when No. 22368 was purchased in the spring of 2018, a Model 33A McCormick-Deering hydraulic loader had been mounted on the tractor. Accordingly, the lever nearest the dash board controlled the valve that directed hydraulic oil down the hoses to the cylinders located on the arms of the loader which would allow the loader to raise the bucket which was attached to the arms at the front of the tractor.
Specifications for the McCormick-Deering Model 33A tractor loader indicate that the loader has the capacity to lift 1500 pounds. Here the Model 33A mounted on a Farmall Super M tractor is put to the test lifting the front end of an International Model W-4 tractor.
The hydraulics on the Hundred Series Farmalls are independent “live hydraulics.” This means that the hydaulics will operate even when the foot clutch on tractor is depressed or disengaged. Additionally, the cylinders on the Model 33A loader mounted on No. 22368 are “two-way” hydraulic cylinders. This means that the cylinder can apply pressure and power in both directions–when contracting as well as when extending. This means that the cylinders on the loader can be contracted under power so that the bucket is pressed against the ground and the front wheels of the tractor can be lifted off the ground. The other two hydraulic valve levers of the optional three-lever set on No. 22368 can be connected to hoses leading to other hydraulic cylinders. (Indeed later in this same article discussion will had of connections made to the middle hydraulic lever.)
However, the third lever of the set of three (the outside lever located the furthest from the dash board of the tractor) is connected to the optional Fast Hitch drawbar of No, 22368. The optional Fast Hitch drawbar on the Hundred Series tractors is usually painted white and can be raised and lowered by hydraulics controlled by the third (outside) valve lever.
This rear view of a Farmall Model 300 tractor reveals that the tractor is fitted with the optional Fast Hitch drawbar. Here the removable drawbar is painted white.
Continue reading The 1955 Model 300 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 22368 and the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.