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Green, orange or red, what color is your tractor? The roots of International Harvester run to the 1830s, when Cyrus Hall McCormick, an inventor from Virginia, finalized his version of a horse-drawn reaper, which he field-demonstrated throughout 1831, and for which he received a patent in 1834. Together with his brother Leander J. McCormick McCormick moved to Chicago in 1847 and started the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company.
McCormick's company was one of the pieces that eventually became International Harvester. International renamed their new 10-20 and 15-30 tractors as McCormick-Deering in 1923. The McCormick-Deering name was used on standard front tractors for the next three decades, until it was phased out in favor of the International name. The McCormick reaper sold well, partially as a result of savvy and innovative business practices. Their products came onto the market just as the development of railroads offered wide distribution to distant market areas. He developed marketing and sales techniques, developing a vast network of trained salesmen able to demonstrate operation of the machines in the field.
McCormick died in 1885, with his company passing to his son, Cyrus McCormick, Jr. In 1902 the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms (Milwaukee; Plano; and Warder, Bushnell, and Glessner-manufacturers of Champion brand) merged to create the International Harvester Company
The International Harvester Company (abbreviated first IHC and later IH) today known as Navistar International Corporation, was a United States agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. J.P. Morgan merged the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms, to form International Harvester. In 1919, the Parlin and Orendorff factory in Canton, Illinois was a leader in the plow manufacturing industry. International Harvester purchased the factory calling it the Canton Works; it continued production for many decades.
International Harvester sold off its agricultural division in 1985 and renamed itself Navistar International Corporation in 1986. The Case IH brand began when the IH agricultural division merged into J.I. Case.
I spent many hours in Kansas fields plowing the soil on a John Deere model D tractor. Quite a few local farmers drove their red International Harvester tractors and another few their orange Allis-Chalmers but we liked the green John Deere flavor..
March 20th, 2013
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