The 1955 Model 300 Tractor Bearing the Serial No. 22368 and the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.

The 1955 Farmall Model 300 TractorBearing the Serial No. 22368   and the  300 the Accompanying Model 33A Tractor-Mounted Loader.  

by

Brian Wayne Wells

The tricycle-style Farmall Model 300 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 would not make the Farmall M the best selling tractor in the Farmall line until 1949.

However, as the demand for bigger and more efficient farm equipment grew in the later 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.

Additionally, even though, the International Harvester Company replaced the Farmall Model M with the new Farmall Super M and actually built 12,015 Super M’s at the Farmall Works in Rock Island, Illinois in 1952 (and another 1,905 Super M’s built at a newly constructed factory located in Louisville, Kentucky), Farmall Model M production continued at the Farmall Works during the early part of the year with 7,295 Model M’s rolling off the Model M assembly line at the Farmall Works in Rock Island.

An aerial view of the Farmall Works factory in Rock Island, Illinois

For the remainder of the Farmall H production run, 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 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 full 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.  In that same year–1953– the Farmall Works facility produced 21,707 individual Super H tractors.  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.”

It might be tempting to think 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 “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 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 25727University 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 Faior.  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.  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 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

The new Farmall 300 was made available to the public with a number of options that were not available on either of the 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 which was produced for a short period of time in 1954, the T.A. option was made available on the Model 400 and the Model 300 upon the introduction of the entire “Hundred Series” of Farmall tractors.

The 1955 Farmall Model 300 was first purchased by a farm family from Carver County.  Tne tractor was later Fitted with a mounted McCormick-Deering Company Model 33A tractor loader.  This loader was first introduced by  McCormick-Deering  in the autumn of 1958.

The tractor was later purchased in about 2000 by David Falk of Waconia, Minnesota.   ,

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