Ferguson-Brown 'A'

| May/June 1984

National Director, Fordson Tractor Club, 250 Robinson Rd Cave Jet, Oregon 97523

A biography has been published in England on the life of Harry Ferguson, self-taught inventive genius, considered the most talented farm mechanical engineer of his time. A small booklet, by Colin E. Booth of the UK, has also contributed to the Ferguson story with the 'Ferguson Album', as published by Allen Con-die's Vintage Tractor Publications of Scotland. This joins Condie's series of Albums on subjects such as: International, Case, John Deere, Marshal, David Brown, and, of course, Fordson. Each of these modern tractors owes its current three-point hydraulic lift to the inventive mind of Harry Ferguson.

Ferguson's mechanical ability (which paralleled Henry Ford's) led him to invent a unique light-weight plow to mount on the back of model T Fords which had been converted into tractor-like vehicles, made by Eros, Make-A-Tractor Company of Minnesota, and others. The design enabled the driver to lift the plow from his seat using balance springs and a lever. By the time the plow was marketed in 1917, the production of the Fordson for the U.S. and world markets saw its 1918 demise.

A New Plow for Fordsons

After selling his stock of plows, Ferguson turned his inventive mind to designing a new plow for Fordson tractors in the early 1920's. To prevent the tractor from rearing up when hitting an obstacle, he invented a system he called the 'duplex' linkage, which had two parallel link sone mounted above the other to form a semi-rigid brace between the tractor and plow. These links not only pulled the plow down to its working depth, but more importantly, placed the plow's weight and the plowing forces, directly on the tractor. Being 'wheel-less', the plow's weight was kept at a minimum, and allowed plowing close to fences.

In the beginning these plows were manufactured for the American market by Roderick Lean Manufacturing Co., of Mansfield, Ohio. After this company's bankruptcy in 1924, Ferguson then contacted the two Sherman brothers, Eber and George, and in December, 1925, Ferguson-Sherman Incorporated was formed to manufacture the plows in Evansville, Indiana.

(The Fordson Tractor Club's library has an original owner's manual of each of these company's production, and it is interesting to note that both companies are still in business today.)