The Model 312 Three-Bottom McCormick-Deering Fast-Hitch Plow


                                                            Brian Wayne Wells



This article remains under construction. Periodically new  blocks of text and media may appear and/or the present blocks of text will be modified or corrected.

The three-bottom semi-mounted Model 312 Fast-Hitch plow attached to a Farmall 560 tractor.

At noted in the previous article located immediately below, Mark Wells, brother of the current author negotiated and purchased a Farmall Model 656 Hydro tractor in the summer of 2018. 

Later, Mark purchased a three-bottom McCormick-Deering semi-mounted plow at the 2019 Swap Meet held on the grounds of the LeSueuer County Pioneer Power Association.  This plow was a Model 312 Semi-mounted Fast-Hitch plow and was purchased from Jay Gardner from eastern South Dakota.   Wthe intended to be matched to the Farmall 656 Hydro Tractor that he had purchased the previous summer.  The Model 312 Fast-Hitch plow .  He purchased the plow from Jay Graber from Freeman, Huchinson County in eastern South Dakota. 

The International Harvester Company had been making Fast-Hitch plows since they had introduced the Fast Hitch on their Farmall Super C tractor in 1951.  This plow fitted to the Super C was the Model C-20 Fast-Hitch fully mounted two-bottom plow.  Fast-Hitch plows for the Letter-Series tractors, other than the Super C tractor were not available.  However, with the introduction of the Super MTA in 1954, International Harvester anticipated the Hundred-Series Farmall Tractors all of which would be sold with the option of a Fast-Hitch drawbar.  International Harvester manufactured two-bottom and a three bottom Fast-Hitch plows to be used with these new Hundred-Series tractors optionally fitted with Fast-Hitch.  The “Fast-Hitch” drawbar consisted of a two-point hitch with two receptacles or “hitch sockets” on the back of the tractor.   

The Fast-Hitch hitch sockets on the back of a Farmall tractor.

The hitch sockets on the back  of the Farmall tractor were meant to accept the two implement prongs on the front of all the Fast Hitch implements.  These prongs were made to fit into the hitch sockets on the tractor as the tractor was being backed up to the implement.  When the prongs were far enough into the sockets the hitch latches would automatically lock into place and secure the implement to the Farmall tractor. 

An International Model 311 Fast Hitch plow. Note the implement hitching prongs on the left side of the picture.  This is a fully mounted plow and the the wheel near the rear end of the plow is only a gauge wheel to help the plow maintain proper depth when operating in the field.

The operator of the tractor had only to back the tractor far enough to hear the latches on top of both sockets snap into place.  Then the operator would lift the implement with the tractor hydraulics and shift the tractor into a forward gear and head out to the field, all without getting off the tractor.  The advertising of the Fast-Hitch system had the simple slogan “Back, Click, Lift and Go.”       

This is the Model 411 Fast-Hitch plow mounted to a Farmall Model 560 tractor. The four-bottom Model 411 Fast-Hitch plow represented the extreme limit of the fully-mounted plow in the late 1950s. The drawbar horsepower of the new Model 560 demanded that a fifth bottom be added to a Fast-Hitch style plow. However, adding a fifth bottom to a fully-mounted plow would cause the front end of the tractor to become very light on the ground Accordingly, a semi-mounted format was developed to share the weight of the plow with the tail wheel when the tractor and plow were in transport.

The production run of the Hundred-Series was divided into two sub-categories.  The early-style Farmall Hundred-Series (including the Models 200, 300 and 400 tractors) was produced from November of 1954 until Sepember of 1956.  These were the tractors which first featured the Fast-Hitch system. 

The Farmall Model 400 represented the top of the line of the early-style Hundred-Series tractor.

(Despite the fact that the early Hundred-Series tractors were the first tractors to be sold with factory-installed Fast-Hitch drawbars, there are more than a few 1954 Farmall Model Super M-TA’s which are to be seen today with Fast-Hitch system hitches attached. 

Looking rather light in the axle housings and differential, this Super M-TA has a Fast-Hitch attached .

Because the Super M-TA represents the very tail end of the Letter-Series Farmalls [including the Farmall Model A, B, C, H and M).  Some observers have assumed that some of these Farmall Super M-TA were fitted with the Fast-Hitch system “from the factory.”  However this is not true.  All of the Super M-TAs with Fast-Hitch are “after-market” creations by collectors and restorers.  Indeed, the current author is trying live out a childhood dream by adding a Fast-Hitch to the Super M-TA bearing the Serial Number    .  The story of this Super M-TA is contained below on this web site at the article called “

r and     to receptacles   had their production run early in 1954 well prior to the introduction of the early style Hundred-Series in November of 1954 Farmall Model I

In August, 1956 the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois, all production of the early-style Hundred-Series Farmall tractors was closed down to allow for the retooling of the assembly lines at the Farmall Works in preparation for the introduction of the two-color late-styled Hundred-Series Farmall tractors (including the Models 230, 330, 350 and 450 tractors). 

The two-color late-style Hundred-Series Farmall 450 replaced Model 400 as the flagship of the the late-style Hundred-Series line of Farmall tractors.

Production of this two-color late-style category of the Hundred-Series tractors began in November of 1956 and lasted until April of 1958 when the Farmall Works was once again closed down for another more extensive retooling of the assembly lines at the Farmall Works in preparation for the introduction of the new streamlined tractors introduced in the late summer of 1958.  This line of Farmall tractors included the Farmall Models 560, 460, 340and 240.  By this time the two point Fast-Hitch drawbar was almost standard equiment on these tractors.     

another obegan Trac.    The second sub-category sHovember of started in November, 1958  the  and the two-color late-style Hundred-Series (the 230, 350 and the 450 tractors).    

and a  and an 

These plows were all of the fully mounted style.  In the autumn of 1956, the two-color late Hundred-Series tractors were introduced.  Producion of the two-color late Hundred-Series During the production run of the two-color Farmalls of the late Hundred-Series, a four-bottom fully mounted plow was introduced.  

 Nhad made a a x McCormick-Deering Model 312 semi-mounted plow as part of its first introduced to the farming public of North America in the autumn of 1958 as part of the Series 12, line of Semi-mounted Fast-Hitch plows (the Models 312, 412 and 512 semi-mounted plows.  The Series 12 semi-mounted plows were introduced together with the McCormick Deering Series 11 fully mounted line of plows (the Models 211, 311 and Model 411 fully mounted plows.        

Largest of the McCormick Deering Series 11 mounted plows was the Model 411. mounted plow–shown here in this advertising photo mounted on a Farmall Model 450 Tractor.  This implies that the Series 11 fully mounted plows were introduced sometime between the autumn of 1956 and the autumn of 1958 during the production run of the 50 series Farmall Tractors.

The 1973 Farmall 656 Bearing the Serial No. 45739


                                                            Brian Wayne Wells

This article remains under construction. Periodically new  blocks of text and media may appear and/or the present blocks of text will be modified or corrected.

In the early spring of 2019, Mark Wells negotiated with Randy Scultz regarding the purchase of a Farmall 656 Hydro tractor from the Werner Implement Company Inc. dealership located at 119 Main Street East in Vermillion, Minnesota. Vermillion (2010 population 419) is in the middle of Dakota County Minnesota. The negotiations were successful and Mark Wells of Wells Family Tractors obtained the Model 656 Hydro tractor.

This particular Model 656 which bears the Serial Number 45739, indicating that the tractor was built at the Farmall Works factory located in Rock Island, Illinois, in the year 1971. The Farmall Model 656 had been introduced by the International Harvester Company (IHC) in 1965 as a new tractor occupying the 4-5 plow position in the new line of IHC Farmall 56-Series tractors that was introduced in 1965. The 56-series consisting of the Models 656, 756 and 856 tractors was to continue until in production through 1973. During the production run, tractors in the 56-series were being offered to the farming public in gasoline, diesel or liquid petroeum versions. No. 45739 is one of the gasoline powered versions.

The particular engine used in the gasoline powered Model 656 was the International Harvester Company-made Model C-263 4.3-Liter, 6-cylinder engine. This engine allowed the Model 656 tractor to generate 66.06 horsepower (hp) at the PTO and 53.23 hp at the drawbar. The C-263 engine is famous for being the first 6-cylinder ever made by International Harvester in 1958. Starting in 1958 the C-263 engine was installed in the Farmall Model 560, the first six-cylinder tractor ever made by International Harvester.

The C-263 6-cylinder engine first used by the International Harvester Company during the production run of Model 560 tractor from 1958 through 1963.

The word “Hydro” associated with No. 45739 indicates that this particular tractor was fitted at the factory with the optional hydrostatic transmission. This means that once the transmission is engaged by suppressing the clutch engaging the gear shift lever on the right side of operator’s dash board or control panel, the tractor can be smoothly shifted through an unlimited range of speeds from an absolute stand still to the top road speed of 21.0 miles per hour, merely by moving the hydrostatic lever on the left side of the operator’s dash board forward or backward.

In 1971, the standard transmission that was available on the Farmall Model 656 was the five (5) speed gear-driven transmission. Speeds of this 5-speed transmission were:

1st gear–2.5 miles per hour (mph)

2nd gear–4.0 mph

3rd gear–5.0 mph

4th gear–7.0 mph

5th gear 15.8 mph

Reverse gear–2.8 mph

However, since 1954 Farmall tractors had been offered with the option of a Torque Amplifier (T.A.) Engaging the control lever of the T.A. would reduce the speed of the tractor by 33%. In effect, the T.A. doubled the number of speeds of the transmission. With the T.A. lever engaged, the speeds in each gear were:

1st gear TA–1.8 mph

2nd gear TA–2.8 mph

3rd gear TA–3.3 mph

4th gear TA–4.8 mph

5th gear TA– mph

Reverse TA–2.0 mph

This reduction in the speed of the tractor would occur smoothly while the tractor was on the go and would would not require the pushing in foot clutch and disengaging the transmission. The effect of engaging the TA was similar to the automatic transmission in a modern automobile when going up a steep hill.

A Farmall Model 656 rolls off the assembly line in February of 1971 at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois. This tractor is missing the “Hydro” decal on the front of the hood and has the T.A. (Torque Amplifier) lever rather than the Hydro lever box attached to the side of the operator’s control panel. Accordingly, this is a “gear driven” Model 656 rather than a Hydro Model 656.

Like most of the tractors made by the International Harvester Company in 1971, No. 45739 was fitted with the International Harvester’s two-point “Fast-Hitch” hitching system. The Fast-Hitch was first introduced on the 1-2 plow Farmall Super C in 1947. At first the Fast Hitch system was an optional system for the Model Super C tractor. Over the years, the Fast-Hitch system became more common on larger tractors and in 1955 beame a available on most of the tractors manufactured by the International Harvester Company, especially those row-crop IHC tractors known as “Farmall” tractors. optional using the the tractors, No. 45739 was fitted with the optional International Harvester Fast-Hitch. The Fast-Hitch system was complimented by a number of implements which allowed International Harvester to build a number of farm implements. Largely, these implements were tillage implements meant for work in the fields on the diversified farms of the Midwestern United States. International Harvester brought these implements to the farming public under the brand-name McCormick-Deering.

Fast-Hitch allowed McCormick-Deering to make fully-mounted or semi-mounted plows to be attached to the tractor. fand which was the

In about 2017, No. 45739 was sold to the Werner dealership by Larry and Eric Rechie father and son who farmed together south of Medford, Minnesota, in Rice County.

No 45739 was delivered to the Wells Family Tractors garage later in the summer of 2019 by Tom Lubick, an employee of the Werner Implement Company. As it turned out, when No. 45739 was traded into the Werner dealership, it was Tom Lubick, who performed a great deal of the repair and refurbishing of No. 45739 in preparation for the eventual sale of the tractor by the dealership men of the

In the early spring of 2019, Mark Wells negotiated with Randy Scultz regarding the purchase of a Farmall 656 Hydro tractor from the Werner Implement Company Inc. dealership located at 119 Main Street East in Vermillion, Minnesota. Vermillion (2010 population 419) is in the middle of Dakota County Minnesota. The negotiations were successful and Mark Wells of Wells Family Tractors obtained the Model 656 Hydro tractor.

much of the mechanical work on No. 45739noted in the above article a Model 312 semi-mounted plow was purchased from Jay Graber at the LeSueur Pioneer Power Swap Meet in the last full week end in April, 2019. ntThe xiczgting that the