| April/May 1999

Fordson Tractor

The Fordson Tractor

National Director Fordson Tractor Club 250 Robinson Road Cave Junction, Oregon 97523

The scholarly treatise, 'Nebraska Tractor Shows, 1913-1919 and the Beginning of Power Farming,' appeared in the December 1998 issue of GEM. This interesting article was submitted by Reynold M. Wik, a well-known Henry Ford biographer and author of Henry Ford and Grass Roots America.

However, this feature in GEM showed a picture of a Fordson (page 29) with an 'incorrect' caption, and this needs calling attention to, as those of us in the huge hobby of antique collection and restoration do need accuracy in the correct identification of tractors we all love and admire. The caption on page 29 states: '1917 Fordson, Courtesy of the University of Nebraska.'

This cannot be, for two reasons. Number one, there never was a '1917 Fordson!' Reason? The Fordson name (and logos) were not known or used until February of 1918. One might review 'The Real Fordson' which appeared in a series of five issues in GEM from July 1985 to November 1988. These articles pointed out that the first six thousand tractors made by Henry Ford-and-Son had no identification on them at all and are now 'MOM' tractors, an acronym for the British 'Ministry of Munitions' which had purchased them for the War effort.

The second reason for noticing the incorrect identification by year arises when looking at the various characteristics which point it out as a much later model. For example, the seven-spoke rear wheels did not come out until the end of 1919. The maple wooden steering wheel was last used in 1923 and the 'composition' rim was used after that. The square-ended fenders did not officially appear with a reinforced dash until 1923. So obviously, it could not be a '1917 Fordson.' True, this may be 'nitpicking,' but tractor collectors, with Fordson now becoming quite popular, will want to know the correct year of manufacture. A clearer photo might identify it more accurately.

The first book to attempt to identify most makes of tractors was published in 1979 by C. H. Wendel (of 'Reflections') and entitled Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors. This book has been accepted for many years as the bible for antique tractor collectors.

david bartle
8/14/2012 8:02:33 PM

I have come across an article that shows Fordson engine number one was produced October 1917 and engine number 76 was produced December 1917. I believe your article to be in error stating that there were no Fordson's produced prior to 1918. 1918 was the first full year of production with engine numbers from 260 in January up to 29979 in December. ref: