The 7.1-cent Tractor coil stamp, the 28th in the Transportation
Series was issued February 6 in Sarasota, Florida by the U.S.
The 7.1-cent denomination represents the rate for third-class
nonprofit mail which has been presorted by five-digit ZIP
Ken Dallison of Indian River, Ontario, Canada, designed the
Tractor stamp. His previous designs include the 11-cent Stutz
Bearcat and 12-cent Stanley Steamer stamps in the Transportation
Series, and the 33-cent Alfred Verville airmail stamp, all issued
The Tractor stamp is being produced in unprecanceled and
precanceled forms. The precanceled version includes the legend
‘Nonprofit Org.’ in two lines of black type. The design and
the remaining lettering and numerals are dark red.
Tractors have a variety of uses, but the farm tractor is
considered the most important because it revolutionized
agricultural production in the United States.
With the advent in 1890 of the internal-combustion engine
tractor (a word coined by combining parts of the words TRACtion and
motTOR), huge areas of land were brought into production, crop
yields were increased and acreage previously used to grow farm
work-animal feed was converted to crops for human consumption.
Until the 1920s, the tractor was regarded primarily as a mobile
source of power for operating stationary equipment such as a
threshing cylinder and as a substitute for draft animals. But the
value of farm tractors was boosted greatly by the introduction of
the ‘power takeoff,’ which allowed rotary power from the
engine to be transmitted through a flexible shaft to drive such
field implements as hay balers, combines and mowing machines.
Such mechanization allows one farm worker to produce all the
food and fibers required by 20 other persons, as well as surpluses
for export or for use as raw materials for chemical processes.
The 1920s model depicted on the Tractor stamp is typical of all
such vehicles produced before 1932 in that it was equipped with
steel tires dotted with ground-gripping lugs. However, these wheels
greatly disturbed the soil, raised rolling resistance and lowered
power-transmitting efficiency, which sparked development of the
rubber tractor tire.
Similarly, the 1920s tractor, with its two sets of widely spaced
wheels, was well designed for pulling large loads but was not
suited for cuiltivating crops that are planted in rows. That need
was filled by the row-crop tractor which, with its closely spaced
front wheels and adjustable axles, is the most popular type of
tractor in use today.