Fordson Hoist Tractors

With the Success of the Fordson Tractor, a Host of Specialty Machinery Developed to take Advantage of the Fordson Platform The Winch Hoist was One


| October/November 2002



Stretched Fordson tractor

A stretched Fordson and hoist unit. The manufacturer of this particular unit is unknown.

One of the most popular accessories on modern four-wheel-drive pickups is a winch mounted on the truck's front bumper. Compact, frame-mounted winches first became popular during World War II, installed by the thousands on Army Jeeps and on large Army trucks. How many of us still remember the famous winch-equipped Dodge Power-Wagon?

While the term 'winch' generally takes on a more modern connotation, larger units were referred to in the past as a 'hoist,' a word that aptly describes their intended function.

Mechanical winches or hoists have been a mainstay in various industries for centuries. The 'steam-donkey' used in early logging operations enabled logs to be skidded up to a landing, sometimes on over-head cables strung from tall trees that had been 'topped' to make the operation possible. Smaller logging outfits tended to use stationary or portable winches, often with some type of gasoline engine providing power. And then there were winches and hoists mounted on Fordsons.

Fordsons Out Front

Fordson 'skid-units' or complete Fordson tractors with integrated winches and hoists became popular with the success of the Fordson tractor. These hoists (some of them front-mounted, others mounted on the back - one company even featured a side-mounted hoist) could be either single or double drum versions.

Fordson seems to have led the field in the development of the earliest stationary or portable winches used in industrial, construction or farming jobs. As many previous articles on Fordson tractors have noted, Henry Ford never made any attachments for either the Model T or the Fordson tractor. This prompted many early entrepreneurs to manufacture a great variety of mechanical innovations to retrofit on the Model T or Fordson tractor.

Period advertisements for various hoist-equipped Fordson tractors. While most of the units show here were adapted to fully operational Fordson tractors some, like the Huston, were built with a fordson platform that was mounted on skids.