National Director Fordson Tractor Club, 250 Robinson Road, Cave junction, Oregon 97523
By Thomas G. Brent
Canadian Fordson Branch Director, Box 150, Dewdney, British Columbia, Canada V0M 1H0
Since the publication of the first article on the 'Real' Fordson Story (GEM, July '85) produced no corrections or additions, the story now continues with a bit of wonder as to why no one noticed the two left wheels in the front and rear view of the first uni-frame prototype!
From October, 1916 and continuing into the first three months of 1917, the field testing weather was nearly over, but a hectic design schedule kept the tractor engineering team busy on design improvement. This must have been a very fertile time. As the new year dawned, America's entry into the war was imminent. Great Britain had a desperate need for an inexpensive, mass-produced small tractor needed to plow the typical small English field. While a great deal of progress had been made from the earlier car-type tractors, Ford was not completely satisfied with the new unitized design, and hesitated about going into full production.
From nearly the beginning of 1917 the following occurred. On February 3rd President Wilson severed diplomatic relations with Germany. In March Henry Ford received permission to build a tractor factory at Cork, Ireland. By setting up in neutral Ireland at the time, Ford would have been free of any accusation of assisting a participant in war. Besides, he may have had some sentimental reasons since Ireland was the Ford's ancestral home. Eventually it was realized that the factory could not get into production until the end of the war since UK firms were tied up with war contracts. Indeed, Fordsons made for the post-war European market at the Cork plant did not get into full production until July 1919. Yet, all editions of the Fordson Operators Manual from early 1918 through 1919 states 'Factories at Dearborn, Michigan and Cork, Ireland'. But by the 8th edition of 1920, the manual says simply 'Manufactured by Henry Ford &. Son, Inc. Dearborn, but 'distributed by the Ford Motor Company, Highland Park.' In a year or so the tractor plant was moved to Detroit. This was of course by the time Ford had finished buying out all outstanding Ford Motor Company stock and re-incorporating the tractor business back into the car company. While the earlier Fordsons used the logos 'Henry Ford and Son, Incorporated, Dearborn' on the driver's end of the gas tank, starting in 1922 it read FORDSON, Ford Motor Company, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
April, 1917 found Britain with fewer ships to import food, U-boats were sinking, many cutting down delivery. There was an urgent need to put all the idle land into food production. These lands included golf courses, parks, commons, road edgeways, all smaller unused fields. Large steam and gas engine tractors were just too big and clumsy. However, both a shortage of manpower and horses (used at the front to pull heavy artillary pieces), seemed to predict a quick expansion of new land very difficult. A 'miracle' was needed! The only answer was for the introduction of a small, cheap, easily manageable tractor that perhaps women and children could operate. Indeed, a picture on file shows a white-painted 1916 Ford & Son uni-frame prototype discing in the mud, one woman is driving, another, both in overcoats, is leaning against a very muddy wheel. The caption states 'Defying the chills of winter' and further reads 'English women are tilling the land now that so many men are gone. A thousand are needed to run tractors alone, it is said'. Evidently two of those prototypes sent over with Sorenson were left for further testing.
Percival L. D. Perry, in charge of Ford affairs in Britain was in favor of producing the 'Ford & Son' tractor, having driven the prototype on a number of occasions. Working in the Food Production Department, he was able to experiment with several tractor designs and makes. With him were other authorities in engineering who helped judge all of these tractors, including the Ford. Perry was already at that time working with Ford on procuring a site at Cork, and was considering another at Dagenham, a suburb of London, East of Stratford.
April 6, 1917 saw America's entry into WW I. On April 7th, negotiations opened to build the 'Ford & Son' tractors possibly at Cork. Lord Perry cabled Ford (Cable #208): 'Would you be willing to send Sorenson and other engineers over with drawings and everything necessary so your tractor could be built in England?' Also, a factory was being readied at Dagenham and a consortium of British motor companies had been loosely formed to start production: Arrol-Johnston, Austin and Woolsey. Ford was to waive patent rights.
In answering Perry's request, Ford cabled: 'I am in full accord with the principle, we will work day and night, get all information possible for gear-cutting, cast iron, malleable foundries and drop forge plants. We are sending a full organization depending upon your assistance at the earliest possible moment.'
Since Sorenson was getting ready to set sail for England at the end of April, he quickly packed an express car full of tractor parts, patterns, farm implements (mostly Oliver plows) and chose five engineers to accompany him.
During May, cablegrams were being dispatched with details hammered out by the engineers back at the Dearborn plant. One particular screw reportedly took 100 words of explanation. But we must remember with Sorenson were two more prototype models tested earlier with the worm gear still on the top, 36' rear wheels and the car-like radiator.
On May 3rd, Sorenson embarked on the troopship Justice, arriving some 11 days later. During the end of May and middle of June, supply outlets and small manufacturing plants were contacted and briefed on how to provide certain parts for eventual assembly. However, the Kaiser was now starting to bomb England heavily and air raids dropping many bombs on London on July 25th prompted a new decision. Sorenson was consulted and asked: 'Could the 'Ford & Son' tractor be built at Dear- born in large numbers if Britain furnished the shipping, and how fast could they be built?' Sorenson replied, 'We can build 50 in 90 days from now, with rapid increase later, how many do you want?' Lord Milner of the Ministry on Munitions (MOM) then countered: 'We'll take 5,000 but at what cost?' Sorenson's reply after consultation with Ford back in Detroit: '$50 over cost.' Then Sorenson was ordered home on June 28 with British apologies for all his work in vain on British soil. Ford was now starting to get ready to produce the 'Ford & Son' uni-frame tractor at the Brady Street and Michigan Avenue plant in Dearborn, an old brick factory with enough surplus bricks left over to add on a large section which was started immediately. On the same day that Sorenson was ordered home, Ford proposed 6,000 units and P. Hanson of England accepted for MOM. It would be interesting to note that with a 6,000 order, Ford would clear a cool $300,000. (Cost plus $50)
The Michigan corporation of 'Henry Ford and Son' had been formed to build not only tractors, but implements, street cars, tanks, ambulances, and airplanes, mostly apart from the parent Ford Motor Company. But at this stage in time, the tractor had the high priority. Still, there was reluctance on the side of both parties to manufacture this prototype with its inherent weaknesses when Sorenson had returned on July 11.
The British journal Implement and Machinery Review had questioned if the Ford tractor was the best choice when other makes previously demonstrated were superior. Besides a large consignment of other makes of tractors lying idle in and about London, it could be six months before Ford tractors might arrive from Michigan.
The August, 1917 Automobile Topics announced: 'Ford Tractor Ready to help the Farmer'.
Other word leaked out to the press that the 'prototype' was 'ready for production'. But back at the plant in a meeting with Sorenson, Farkus and other engineers, Ford was purportedly heard to state: 'Now we will design a completely new tractor'. In all actuality, this statement probably occurred months earlier, perhaps January of 1917, and preliminary work had already begun on a much improved model. One picture dated July 12th, and labeled 'The First Production Fordson' did have most of the characteristics of the X-series (and later MOM tractors), and even of the later American 'F' Fordson. The July 28th issue of Automotive Industries states that 'Eight tractors were in use on Ford's experimental farm with many improvements planned, before final production'. Nothing was mentioned of the previous 50 'uni-frame models' tested the preceding summer. So until actual records are found to prove or disprove the actual true dating of events, let's consider Ford and his engineers' thinking at that meeting mentioned earlier.
While it looked to the general public that the new uni-frame tractor tested in England, at the Ford Farm and at the Nebraska trials, was the model to meet the small farmer's demand, Ford and his co-workers knew all about the weaknesses. These were: Running hot, light weight no traction, too high off the ground, weak drawbar, too costly for mass production, expensive parts, and extreme heat for the driver straddling the worm-gear during long operating conditions in warm weather.
In sincerely believing that an economical motorized tractor would lift the work load off the farmer who had depended upon horses and other beasts-of-burden, deep down Ford realized that the current design was inadequate. But the order from Britain called his hand. Perhaps he was aware that these new tractors operating in Britain would be a perfect testing ground for a new concept, so why not take the problems one by one, what to be done? The main weaknesses had to be overcome and quickly! A new tractor was needed that was strong, cheap, inexpensive and easy to manufacture. It is doubtful if so much could have been accomplished in so little time from the date of Sorenson's return on July 11th, the 8th of October when production actually started, and when the first 75 'MOMs' rolled off the assembly line by the end of November. These were the final results, but having no Ford identification, hence the nick-name 'MOM' tractors, which stood for the Ministry Of Munitions who purchased them for England's agricultural war effort.
To put engineering progress in perspective, we will have to imagine that meeting of Ford and his engineers. Ford had spent one-half million dollars by the end of 1916 on his 'Tractor projects'. To put a faulty product on the market would give Ford a bad name, so: 'Gentlemen, let's take the problems one by one, re-design this tractor, make it simple, hold down the costs.'
First, the heating problem. The car-type radiator was just too small. How about one big enough to hold much more water and also add weight on the front end? Solution: the now familiar cast iron radiator top casting, capacity now is 11 gallons of water. The extra weight of the casting and the extra water would help hold the front end down. This was designed and streamlined back into the gas tank area. Present day tractors are shown with weights added on the frame at the front of the radiator! Next, forget a water pump and oil pump, let's get 'Circulation by percolation' for water, and 'splash' circulation for the oil.
Ignition. The distributor on the stem is too expensive, has an oiling problem. Let's go with the Model T coils, magneto, and return to the commentator system. Besides, the American farmer is familiar with these and can easily work on them.
Front axle: Too weak, hard to assemble. Why not make a one-piece cast iron front axle similar to the one tried on #28 of the uni-frame series which would also add weight, be easy to assemble, cheap!
Worm gear on top, hard to lubricate, too hot for the driver. Let's reverse it, place on the bottom, will sit in a bath of oil, heat is away from the driver. However, placing the worm gear below the big pinion increased the lift on the front, only partly overcome by the added front radiator and axle weights. An added bonus was a heavy cast 3-hole drawbar, an add-on casting at the bottom of the rear end. Just remove, turn the wheels, the worm gear pops out! This also helped out with another problem. The previous 36' wheels were just too small. 'By reversing the worm and bringing the center line of the axle up a little higher, it took up the difference in the size of the wheel, allowing a wheel of 42'. The extra road clearance was just what Ford wanted in his new tractor'.
Instead of a later date, it is easier to believe that the famous story of the combining of the transmission and rear end into just one huge casting occurred at this time, but probably not with X-1 and X-2 models. (Name given to the new series of uniframe). Notice on the first uni-frame prototype these are two separate transmission-rear end units. But as told in many publications, Ford had an idea to simplify the design with just two main castings. The engine block was the front one; the transmission-clutch housing-rear end as the 2nd. This would make for quicker, easier assembly. So Farkus just took a blueprint of the two previous pieces and glued them together, filling in the missing pieces with freehand drawing. Then the pattern makers took the older wooden patterns, glued them together, using wood filler to fill in the previous flange edges. In the early hours of the morning the core box was finished, by 10 a.m. the casting was on the floor, warm, but successful. Joe Galamb walked in, very upset, and condemned the new casting as 'impractical, too big, won't work.' But Sorenson backed Ford and this casting went into production and was never changed for 30 years, and used by the American 'F', Irish and English 'N' models up to 1945. Some publications attribute this story as applied to the first uni-frame prototypes, but a close look at all of these models show the three-unit castings. So the change took place as the X-series evolved.
With the exception of the gas tank and retention of a square bottom edge for hinges and side louvers soon to be an obsolete appendage, the remainder of the 'add-on' tractor parts would now be concentrated on one-by-one.
While the rear wheels had been frozen at 42' in size, the design, width, hub and cleats were experimented with extensively. The same is true of the front wheels, not arriving at a frozen design until the end of the MOM run of tractors, to be covered in the 'MOM and Early 1918' sections.
But the other add-ons needing 'redesign' included the seat, seat spring, steering and steering wheel, carburetion-manifold systems, exhaust, air washer, coil box and tool box.
Ford and the engineers looked at these for their faults and good points, and came up with the following:
First the seat. A smaller round-hole version was decided upon, with a spring of different design to follow the contour of the new rear end casting. The last of the uni-frame prototypes had returned to center steering, making much more sense as the driver straddled the transmission. In plowing by leaning slightly to the right the driver would have a clear view of the furrow. A sturdier steering wheel spider was made up, cast, V-shaped body, as opposed to a later more solid design. Wooden rims were standard as on the Model T.
The carburetion-manifold system went through a number of evolutionary stages. A look at the picture of earlier uni-frame models and the X-models in this article will see the vast changes made. The Holley brothers who worked for Ford initially, were busy developing a design that would start on gasoline and operate better when switched to kerosene. These would go through a number of changes until the MOMs started production. With this manifold system, a standard down-and-to-the rear straight tail pipe with necessary bracket was the final design.
The air washer as designed by the Holley brothers also went through a number of changes. Note the completely different design of the X-series. The same is true of the one gallon gas tank. The X-design is a completely different design from the MOM and later American 'F'.
Being in the way of the steering wheel and the driver's knuckles, the engineers finally decided to move the coil box to a side-mount on the left side of the engine. To save money and time, Model T coil boxes of that time were were used. But this created a need for special cast brackets to hold the standard Model T coil box's rear projections away from the engine. The coil box had to be placed on the left side of the engine as the carb-manifold set-up was on the right side. At first the magneto plug had been on the right (see photo of X-9), but after the coil box was moved to the left side of the engine, the mag plug was eventually moved to that side.
A larger tool box was originally mounted on the right rear axle of the uni-frame prototype, but now with 'X' axle casting nearly doubled in size, the engineers decided on a smaller tool box to be positioned at the bottom of the dash. These were the add-ons.
While we have been following the possible design stage of the 'X-series', now let us turn to the probable month-by-month and tractor-by-tractor development of the most neglected period in Fordson history. At no time before and no time since have so many long-lasting significant and innovative changes, (some on purpose, some accidental), ever been made in any tractor history. The story can be followed by the scarce but actual pictures that have been printed in various publications.
At the time of the other articles on Fordsons, Allen Condie of Scotland, Arthur Battelle and Michael Williams of England, and in America Professor David L. Lewis, Fred Heidrick, 'Buzz' Stetler and others just did not have access to the newly discovered materials on the X-series, nor were they fortunate enough to have seen pictures of the X-9 which still retained many of the pre-Fordson features. Battelle, during several trips over to the U.S., has gone through materials at the archives in the Ford museum in Michigan, and suspects there is much material that survived the 1970 fire, remaining to be rediscovered.
The 'X-series' fits perfectly in between the earlier uni-frame prototypes and the final MOM model, the first 6,000 that supposedly went to England. Written records state that 10 of these X-tractors were built, but evolutionary photos and printed statements suggest that there may have been as many as 12 or 15. Actual proof in the X-series exists in the X-9 model as purchased at the Greenfield auction in 1981 by Cecil Church of Illinois. Mr. Church has possibly the 2nd largest Ford collection in America, the honor of the largest going to Edward Towe of Deer Lodge, Montana, both Fordson owners and Ford-son Club members. At the time of the auction the flyer simply read 'Ford-son tractor for sale'. However, several years earlier, Club member Donald Fitzgerald of Ann Arbor, Michigan had spotted an unusual Fordson, as early as October 1976. Later he had written to the club's headquarters, then in California, about this unusual Fordson rusting away in the 'boneyard' of the Greenfield Museum grounds where an annual Harvest Festival invited antique tractor and engine enthusiasts to the yearly affair. Originally this tractor had a manifold and carb on it, but Fitzgerald noticed that one year it had mysteriously disappeared, no doubt taken by one of the exhibitors who attended the annual affair. How it would help Fordson research if that party could, at least anonymously, send a picture or description to us of what it actually was. Perhaps it was a prototype of the later Holley 234, or it may simply have been an early version of the Holley, or just a standard model. On the other hand this unit may have been one of the manifolds used on one of the earlier X-models. We can only guess it was an early version of the 234, recognized by its 'new owner' as a unit that would fit his Fordson. More than likely at least it had an original brass float unit, later to be cast iron with a brass lid. Perhaps also the manifold would have on it 'Detroit and Coventry' (Coventry was both a suburb of Detroit and a town southeast of Birmingham in England) as appearing in all the early parts books, but with only few of these existing.
Anyway, at the time of Mr. Fitzgerald's discovery, the museum would not even discuss selling this tractor with X-9 as the engine serial number. To his surprise and amazement, he found out after the auction was over that it was simply listed as a 'Fordson Tractor, year unknown.'
Mr. Church, attending the Ford Museum auction for other vehicles itemized, suspected its uniqueness and purchased the X-9 at the auction October 28, 1981. Since then he has restored this prototype beautifully, paying as much attention to its uniqueness as possible, and attempting to return it to its original condition as much as is possibly known. For this, Philip J. Read of England sent him a pair of coil box bracket castings that he had made up for his MOM (#307) restoration as well as a pair of re-cast concave hubcaps that were peculiar to MOM units. Besides the manifold and carburetor, only one of the pistons inside the engine was missing. It is still a mystery why the engine had been re-assembled at some time with one piston gone. We understand the three remaining pistons left were a bit different from the earliest known Fordson pistons, so they must have been original. Mr. Church has provided us with photos of this unusual and rare modelthe only one in North America with the rear oil filler common to the first 1,000 Hercules engines. Some of these pictures will appear in this and the next article on the 'Real Fordson'.
The new 'X' series consisted of the new one-piece rearend-transmission, worm-gear-on top, new radiator cast top tank and other features, newly contoured Hercules engine and new axle. But for the next 10(or 15)X prototypes, many combinations of ideas and parts were evidently tried out, tested, rejected or accepted. These include at least 3 or 4 designs of rear wheels, about the same number of front wheels. Some of the early rear wheels were heavily 'dished', 16 inches wide with as many as 16 angle-iron cleats which were 3' by 4' instead of the production American 'F' which were only 2 by 2 and were special curved cleats flush with the wheel width. Some of the 'X' cleats extended past the wheel width. Evidently one of the major engineers favored the cast iron spoke front wheels, as they appeared on and off up to nearly the end of the testing time, but the sturdier flat spoked steel bar wheels won out. These were originally only riveted to the hub, with a later special 'casting' process to be discussed fully in the 'MOM' article.
First, let's consider the 'X' models previous to 'Number 9'. One carryover from the previous models was a small oval nameplate that was simply stuck on the new top radiator casting which read 'Henry Ford & Son'. The 'Henry Ford' in a half-circle at the top, '&' in the middle, and 'Son' on the bottom in order to make it fit. This is the same as shown on the uni-frame prototypes.
Since some features were carried over from the 50 uni-frames, it is easy to see the confusion caused in periodicals published at the time showing pictures as well as drawings. The 'Dyke's Automobile & Gasoline Engine Encyclopedia' of that period gives details on how to service the 'Ford' tractor, and shows a mixed schematic of a top drawing with the 1 piece rear end casting and cast iron top water tank, but directly below is a drawing of the earlier two-piece rear end, car-like radiator and older contoured engine, and a top view as appearing in Article No. 1's schematic. Clymer's publication of the same period which shows the tall-stem distributor also labels it as the 'Ford' tractor. The name 'Fordson' had not been 'invented' yet at that time.
Pictorial evidence indeed shows a number of different versions of the X-series. Unfortunately, accurate dates do not always accompany the pictures and schematics.
Tracing the 'probable' development from X-1 to X-10 (the number given in several Ford 'histories') we will also consider X-11 to X-15. Indeed, if there were 50 of the uni-frame prototypes made up for testing, it is difficult to believe that only 10 of an entirely new concept would be tested before full production of the MOM began. Besides, enough add-on features in those pictures show not only an evolutionary progression, but an occasional regression of these parts as the continuing testing process was carried out. Indeed, the many differences form picture to picture suggest more than the 10, although near the end, as time was running out, no doubt the design was frozen as much as possible to start a factory casting pattern, either at the tractor plant or outside manufacturing. The last of the X-series in all practicality should resemble the MOM the closest, and be made up just prior to the MOM production assembly line.
While some of the following is partly conjecture, a nominal time frame will be followed in an attempt to reconstruct the 'X tractors' in numerical order with various physical changes that seem to have taken place.
After two weeks of hurried up and highly experimental design urged on when Ford had made the statement upon Sorenson's return that 'We must design a completely new tractor', this would then tend to pinpoint the first X-model with the present basic Fordson lines being cast as early as June 25, 1917. Still at this time the transmission and rear end were in two sections. Possibly two of these two-piece rear end castings were made up before the idea came up to turn into one. More than likely these X-l and X-2 models were soon discarded to make room for X-3 and X-4 with the one piece casting.
As far as we can speculate, the X-series were built in pairs, the 2nd being a 'back-up' system. A number of artist's concepts of the X-l and X-2 (but possibly actually the X-3 and 4) appear in several books. May we refer you to page 3 of Allen Condie's Seventy Fordsons For All Seasons. Important to note is an unusual air washer behind the engine, soon discarded, as there were no provisions to add on the one gallon gas tank. However, the round top was used as the upper section of the later X-9 air washer. The front wheels are the cast spoke design which turned out to be too brittle. Besides, the hub was too small to accommodate the later larger bearings. The artist has drawn in a (much smaller) plate for a later added pulley. The exhaust pipe angles down, then to the rear, attached to a prototype of the Holley manifold syst em, not yet fully developed. Evidently this was a straight gas machine, as no vaporizer provisions are seen. A 'squarish' float similar to the later Holley 295 is shown.
The rear wheels are closer to the final design except for 16 cleats. The ignition system is vague, but the shape of the Fordson to come is inherent in this artist's conception. We must remember that while the body sections are finalized, only the add-ons will change from here on.
At first left-overs from the earlier uni-frame prototypes were fitted to the new body, but soon discarded for testing of the new units as fast as the engineers and foundry people could come up with them. Already the season for spring plowing was nearly gone, so the engineers had to base their designs on previously tested units, their successes and failures.
Models X-5 and X-6 were next to be built on or about August 1st. This is the model used for testing a possible later pulley discarded on production models as an added expense not really needed for the English order. In the picture enclosed note the unusual manifold system, and the tall-stem distributor. This is the last model to use the 'tall-stem' as Ford simply preferred his Model-T 'Coils and timer' system, and defended them by the 'lost-cost' factor. An after-market item was a tall-stem distributor found recently on several 1927 models in Oregon and California. Earlier schematics in Clymer's show the physical characteristics of this tall stem unit.
Now only two months of testing time is left before the October 1st production deadline. (The first MOM actually rolled off the line October 8.) No wonder Ford was a bit queasy in the time lacking for fully testing new equipment, so a lot of 'midnight oil' was to be burned. Since his tractor factory made up just the main castings and was then only set up for assembly, he started his famous 'farm' system of having outside manufacturers or 'jobbers' make up these parts according to his engineers' specifications. Some of these companies, brand new at the time, evolved into large corporations of their own, primarily based on the experience of furnishing tractor parts. The Holley brothers, originally just Ford employees, are a good example of this as they provided the carbs, manifolds and air washers. John Kelsey made the wheels, McCord the gaskets, The Bohn Aluminum and Brass Company made the pistons (only of iron instead), The Timpken Detroit-Axle Company made the worm drivers and bearings. The worms came from Cleveland, and so on.
August 15, 1917 seems the logical assembly date for X-7 and X-8. One of these is pictured in Ford Trucks since 1905, page 24. It is believed that the given date of July, 1917 is incorrect as it appears to be a typical fall chore of discing under some rather high grain which has been growing all summer. Note the wider rear wheels, deeply dished, and the front cast spoke wheels. The heavily dished wheels are 16 inches wide compared to the later 12', and the lugs are ordinary angle iron 3 x 3 instead of the later contoured and heat-treated standard cleats of 2 by 2. Check how the cleats extend out past the wheel width. Of interest the magneto plug is on the left side, a later feature, after the X-9. Of course this could have been the X-10 model, but earlier wheels discard this theory.
The 1st of September would be the date for the X-9 and X-10. Since things were hurried up with but little time for testing, in all probability 4 or 5 models were made within several weeks, with X-9 receiving the earlier engine with the magneto plug on the right side instead of the left as all the other models now have. Once the mounting studs had been positioned on the left side of the engine, it didn't take long to decide that running the mag wire over the top of the engine needed changing, so the answer was to simply switch the mag plug to the left also. But the X-9 and X-10 still had the 'square-bottomed' kerosene tank left over form the earlier designs that installed hinges at this point for the side louvers, now discarded completely.
Popular Mechanics of September (?) 1917 shows the X-11 or X-12 either made up with the two previous models, or assembled as late as September 15, two weeks before production deadlines.
For reference to later models than the X-10 we can turn to the pictures of Lord Northcliffe driving this X model with Ford following on a second one, these should be X-10 and X-l 1 by their close appearance to the final MOM tractor. Production is just weeks away, and all add-on parts are now nearly finalized, the only exception being the 'stuck-on' name-plate on the front, later removed. Since fall plowing was now in order, weather had chilled down a bit as evidenced by the overcoats that both Northcliffe and Ford wore to pose for these publicity pictures. While these two models could be the last two of the X series (an even dozen) time did allow for either several more to be produced for fast testing, or perhaps 4 or 5 were assembled at the same time as the X-10 and 11. The extra models made beyond these two would be for 'insurance' in final last-minute testing. Ford must have now been satisfied with these latest prototypes. His engineers had done a remarkable job in such a short time, and so the factory was now set up to manufacture the 6,000 MOM units, soon to be exported. As mentioned before, with production starting about October 1st, some 75 MOMs had rolled off the assembly lines by the end of November. None of these tractor units had any 'Ford' identification or logos except for the coils, coilbox switch and timer which were taken directly from Model T Ford inventories. For further history, information and pictures of this time, read Michael Williams' new book: Ford and the Fordson Tractors, recently published.
The next in the series of articles on 'The REAL Fordson' will feature more on the X-9 and MOM tractors. If you have any information on these, please send to the Fordson Club headquarters.
'We must design a completely new tractor,' said Ford.