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Stock Code MSF01
Certificate for 100 shares of
common stock without par value,
dated February 20th 1976, in the name of Moore & Schley Cameron & Co. as registered
owner. Green ornate border with vignette at the top of the
certificate. Printed signature of Albert A Thornbrough, President,
together with that of the Company Secretary.
Certificate size is 20.5 cm
high x 30.5 cm wide (8" x 12").
About This Company
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About This Company
The Massey Ferguson company was formed over
the course of 150 years and involved a number of mergers and acquisitions
along the way. After a long period of development, Massey Ferguson now
stands as one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in the
Daniel Massey established his business in
1847 with a small shop to do repairs and make implements for local farmers.
Alanson Harris started his farm machinery company in 1857. Producing
harvesting equipment such as mowers and reapers, both Canadian companies
developed a strong reputation throughout the world for their quality
implements. They developed a robust export business based on their strong
results at international shows comparing farm machinery from around the
world. In 1891 the decision was made to merge the two companies, and this,
together with a string of acquisitions of manufacturers of a variety of
implements, created a large and international farm equipment company.
Even as their product line of implements
expanded, Massey-Harris was slow to embrace the developing industry for
powered farm equipment. Despite the fact that the tractor industry was
growing greatly in size, no plans were made at the company to develop any
tractors to complement their line of agricultural products. The Deyo-Macey
company, producing gasoline engines, was purchased in 1910. This was the
first step towards entering the power farming business, but no development
of any tractor design was begun. It would take a war to spur interest in
The outbreak of World War I helped usher in a
revolution in the use of machinery. Never before had armies so vast fought
each other with weaponry so sophisticated on the battlefield, and the
logistics of feeding the soldiers and the domestic population presented a
difficult strain on a world of farming dependent on horses. So many who
would ordinarily be working on the farm were now at war, and they still had
to be fed. The only answer to the problem of the food crisis throughout the
world was to increase production by making the industry more efficient. Farm
tractors were needed to accomplish this. The Massey-Harris company was
finally forced to come to this realization in 1917, and efforts were made to
find a tractor that could be imported for sale in the Canadian market. The
company was long established as the largest agricultural supplier in Canada,
and was unwilling to risk that position by failing to offer these badly
needed powered farm machines.
The tractor that they chose for their first
model to sell would be the Bull Tractor Company's Big Bull, a 25 H.P.
tractor that had already established itself as a fairly popular model in
America and also in England, where it was sold as the Whiting-Bull. The new
model was based on the Bull Tractor company's popular Little Bull, and the
Big Bull would have been a popular tractor as well were it not plagued by
supply difficulties. The final blow to the deal came with the release in
1917 of the Fordson Model F, a tractor which was revolutionary and a good
deal less expensive than the Big Bull. The Massey-Harris import agreement
with the Bull Tractor company ended in a miserable failure, and the company
was forced to find another way to enter the tractor market.
Meanwhile, in Belfast, Ireland, after
starting out working with his brother in a repair garage, and establishing
his own garage, the war presented opportunities for Harry Ferguson. His
interest in mechanical things and the pressing need to increase farm output
in the wake of U-boat attacks on British shipping, led him to begin selling
farm tractors. He started selling the Waterloo Boy Model N, known in England
as the Overtime. He later accepted a job with the Irish Board of Agriculture
to instruct farmers in ways to better use their tractors. It was during his
time visiting the countryside and observing the workings of the tractors
that Ferguson began to develop the ideas that would later revolutionize the
farm machinery market in the form of the Ferguson System.
Ferguson then began developing implements for
Model T's that had been converted into farm tractors, and later for the
widely popular Fordson Model F. Ferguson started work on the three point
hitch which would be the cornerstone of his System, and then designed a new
tractor and a new set of implements to take advantage of its features. He
built this prototype tractor to demonstrate his technology to prospective
manufacturers, which was painted a dark black and is known as the Black
Back in Canada, Massey-Harris was ready to
try again to enter the farm tractor market. They would fare a little better
in their second attempt to establish themselves in the rapidly growing
industry. They still wanted to come to an arrangement with an established
tractor company rather than go through the time and expense of developing
designs in-house, and the new company chosen for the job was the Parrett
Tractor Company of Chicago. An agreement was reached in 1918 by which
Massey-Harris would produce the tractors themselves and market them under
their own name for the Canadian and some export markets. Production was
started in 1919 at the Massey-Harris engine production factory at Weston,
Toronto. Three models were developed based on the Parrett design and
marketed by Massey-Harris as the MH 1, 2, and 3. Production of the Parrett
designs would end in 1923 after sales declined sharply and the Parrett
company itself went out of business in 1922. The design was no longer
competitive in the industry.
This second failure to enter the tractor
market caused concern among many within Massey-Harris, and no immediate
plans to reenter the business were made. The economic recession in the
agricultural industry following the war also led them to delay entering a
business in which their position was weak and their potential for losses
quite large. The rest of the Massey-Harris farming equipment product line
was still very strong, and was growing even larger. But the lost sales by
not having a position in the quickly growing tractor business soon led to
renewed support for establishing a tractor division.
The upswing in the economy and the continuing
expansion of the tractor industry caused the company to begin looking for
yet another partner to work with in establishing themselves in the field.
Negotiations began between Massey-Harris and the J.I. Case Plow Works
Company of Racine, Wisconsin in 1926. It was one of two businesses that had
been founded by Jerome Increase Case, an early success in the farm equipment
business. The other was the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company, which also
was producing tractors under the Case name. The negotiations eventually led
to the acquisition of J.I. Case Plow Works by Massey-Harris in 1927 for $1.3
million and the assumption of $1.1 million in outstanding debts. The rights
to the Case name that had been held by Plow Works were sold back to the
Threshing Machine Company for $700,000, making it a very good deal for
Massey-Harris. For a relatively small investment they gained a foothold in
the important American market and a design that was popular and well-known
among farmers. Also helping the Massey-Harris company in their latest effort
to establsih themselves in tractors was the decline in fortunes of the Ford
Motor Company's tractor division. The Fordson no longer dominated the
market, and indeed, all Ford American tractor production was ended in 1928.
This development gave Massey-Harris just the opening they needed.
The machine that MH had paid for was the
Wallis family of tractors. These tractors were known both for their
excellent fuel efficiency and their distinctive U-frame construction, which
used a U-shaped steel frame to protect the underside of the tractor. The
Wallis 20-30 was the latest in the series, and soon was produced and
distributed by Massey-Harris as the MH 20-30. In addition to its fuel
efficiency, the 20-30 offered a very efficient transfer of power from the
engine to the drawbar, so that with an engine capable of around 35 H.P.,
about 27 H.P. was available at the drawbar according to University of
Nebraska tests. This performance was greatly superior to many of the other
tractors of its class at this time, including the Fordson Model N.
Massey-Harris was now established as a market leader.
Given the size of the market for small
tractors, a modified version of the popular 20-30 was developed by
Massey-Harris to provide an offering in this range. The MH 12-20 was
essentially the same tractor as the 20-30 but with a smaller engine.
Meanwhile, development efforts at
Massey-Harris focused on designing a tractor within the company for the
first time were undertaken. This would be the first tractor that was not
based on a design purchased from another company. In 1930, Massey-Harris
announced the General Purpose model, which was very advanced and offered
features that other tractors would not match for another two decades. The
problem, however, was that the market was not ready for such a design, and
farmers did not appreciate the advantages offered by the General Purpose.
This, combined with the outbreak of the Great Depression, doomed the General
Purpose and the project was a failure. The first tractor wholly designed by
Massey-Harris within the company had been unsuccessful.
The major feature of the General Purpose was
the use of four wheel drive through equal-size wheels, providing a greater
level of pulling power and superior traction.
The Wallis 20-30 had been very successful for
Massey Harris, and the decision was made to upgrade the machine with the
release of the MH 25. The Massey-Harris 25 featured more power gained by
increasing the engine speed to 1200 rpm, and also offered three forward
speeds, an improved feature from the 20-30.
The MH 12-20 had not proven to be as
successful as the larger 20-30 and the MH 25, but there still was a very
large market for small tractors that Massey-Harris was determined to
exploit. In 1936, they released two tractors based on the earlier model for
the small agricultural equipment market. The Pacemaker and the Challenger
shared most of the same systems but the Challenger was a rowcrop style
machine, the first one that Massey-Harris had ever released. The new
tractors also featured a four speed gearbox, a welcome modification from the
Ferguson, meanwhile, finally convinced David
Brown to work with him in producing a tractor that would use his system of
implement attachment and control. Establishing a new company in Huddersfield
in Britain to produce the machines, the new tractor was based on the
original Black Tractor and was called the Ferguson-Brown A, or sometimes
just the Ferguson A. Launched in 1936, the machine was produced by the David
Brown company and marketed by Ferguson. But the England in which these
machines were being sold was a market long dominated by Ford and the Fordson
and still in the grips of the Depression, so sales were less than
spectacular. The prospect of having to pay more for the Ferguson tractor and
then to have to buy all new implements to use on the machines was not very
appealing to many established farmers, further hurting sales. When David
Brown wanted to make changes to the design to try and improve sales which
Ferguson opposed, the two companies began to drift apart.
In 1938, just two years after the production
of the first Ferguson tractors had started, the deal fell through as Brown
went ahead with his changes over Ferguson's objection and Ferguson went to
Dearborn to visit with Henry Ford. Armed with one of the machines he was
building with Brown in England, the two came to their handshake agreement by
which Ford would produce a tractor using the Ferguson System and Ferguson,
once again, would market the machines. In 1939, after a hastened piece of
development work, the first Ford tractor using the new implement system was
launched as the Ford 9N.
Massey-Harris, meanwhile, again updated the
disappointing General Purpose in an effort to improve the sales of the
machine. Now available with kerosene as an option, with an improved
vaporizer and an optional industrial model, the General Purpose was renamed
the Four-Wheel Drive, an obvious marketing attempt to focus attention on the
tractor's most unique feature. Still, 1936 was not a good year for farmers,
or the economy as a whole, and the market at the time did not fully
understand the advantages of four wheel drive. The new tractor would be
discontinued almost as soon as it was released due to poor sales.
Two years after the release of the Pacemaker
and Challenger, Massey-Harris decided to go with a new look. Featuring more
rounded curves, the Pacemaker was renamed the Streamlined Pacemaker.
Kerosene was also offered as an option in addition to gasoline on the new
models. The power of both tractors was also substantially increased, and a
new Twin Power feature on the gasoline engine allowed for a special high
power mode that could be used for belt work. These machines offered 37 H.P.
and 26 H.P. on the belt. The Pacemaker now had an orchard version as well.
These machines would be produced during 1938, until the whole Massey-Harris
line would be completely revamped with machines that were actually designed
in-house. Massey-Harris was again attempting to market their own designs for
the first time since the General Purpose debacle.
The first model released by Massey-Harris,
and the one that would be largely responsible for carrying the tractor
division through the Second World War, was the MH 101. Available in normal,
Senior, Junior, and Super varieties, the most distinctive feature of this
model was the large six cylinder truck engine from Chrysler. A variety of
other models based on the 101, with different options and feature sets, were
also released during the late 1930's and early 1940's. The MH 102, 201, 202,
and 203 were all 101 derivatives marketed through the war.
The lower end of the farm equipment market
would not be ignored in the new line, either. Replacing the Pacemaker and
Challenger in this capacity were the MH 81 and MH 82, which, much like with
the MH 101, were very similar in design and varied in some of the features
and options. And to target the even smaller tractor market, Massey-Harris
signed an agreement to distribute the General, a small tractor manufactured
by the Cleveland Tractor Company. The General was to be sold by
Massey-Harris dealers in select areas. The deal ended in failure not long
after it was made, however, and the little General would not turn out to be
very successful for Massey-Harris. But they would return to the low-end
market in the post-war years.
As with the other tractor and manufacturing
companies, the outbreak of war prevented new designs from being developed as
all effort was focused on manufacturing enough existing equipment to meet
the demand of a war-mobilized economy. But at the end of the war,
Massey-Harris came out with a series of new designs. From this point until
the merger with Ferguson in 1953, a wide range of models covering all the
major segments was introduced, ranging from the 10.3 H.P. Pony through the
much more substantial 52 H.P. MH 55. The most popular by far of the new
models was the mid-range MH 44, which was the market which Massey-Harris had
the greatest strength in. Making up the new line would be the Pony, MH 20,
MH 22, MH 30, MH 44, and MH 55, which was offered in a variety of
configurations, with the model numbers suggesting the relative power of the
machine. The MH 744 was the name under which the MH 44 was produced and
marketed in Europe. The MH 21, 23, and the limited run I-162 were released
to revise the line in the early 1950's.
The low end of the Massey Harris line was
seriously hurt by the Ferguson System-equipped tractors that Ford, and later
Ferguson himself was producing and marketing. It was clear that the system
was better than anything the company could offer, and efforts were made to
develop a technology to respond to this threat. The Depth-O-Matic and other
attempts to bridge this gap were unsuccessful, however. It is fortunate for
Massey-Harris that Ferguson was looking to sell his tractor business,
together with his patents and technology, or sales would surely have
continued to suffer.
Back at Dearborn, all was not well in the
relationship between Ford and Ferguson. Ferguson was angry that Ford's
British division continued to refuse to produce a model with the Ferguson
System, and to address this situation he made plans to develop his own
tractor to compete against Ford in England. In 1946, Ferguson, working with
Standard Motor, launched the TE-20 to directly compete with the redesigned
Fordson E27N Major. The strengths of the Ferguson System had already been
demonstrated with the 9N and revised 2N in America, and sales of the TE-20
were very successful, eventually displacing Ford in the top position in that
market that had long been under their domination.
When Ford broke with Ferguson in America
following the death of Henry Ford, launching the 8N independently, Ferguson
filed a lawsuit that would drag out for years. The issues revolved around
the former handshake agreement and existing Ferguson patents being violated
by the new 8N. Meanwhile, Ferguson had a large distribution company in
America, and to keep it afloat he imported his TE-20 tractors for sale
through the distributors, and made plans to produce tractors for the
American market. These would be referenced as TO machines, whereas his
European designs were TE. Launching the TO-20, based entirely on the TE-20
in 1948, the tractors soon gained considerable success and together with the
TO-30, launched in 1951, which offered 30 H.P., were very successful in
gaining market share against Ford.
But Ferguson was getting older at this point,
and he had never liked dealing with the details of production, instead
preferring the engineering and marketing aspects of the business. He looked
for a company that could produce his tractors and carry his name into the
future, and that company was Massey-Harris. In 1953, in a deal worth $16
million, Massey-Harris acquired the Ferguson company and renamed themselves
Massey-Harris-Ferguson, which was shortened to Massey-Ferguson. A new titan
in the agricultural equipment market had been formed.
The merger of two large companies always
presents problems, and these problems were evident in the new Massey
Ferguson. Both companies had large dealer networks and a wide product range,
as well as individual engineering divisions that made a smooth transition
difficult. It took a few years before the product line could be unified and
organization could be imposed. In the meantime, both brand names lived on,
and the TO 30 was updated with the more powerful TO-35 in 1955 and also
released as the MH 50. 1956 saw the 33, 44, and 55 updated and cleverly
renamed the 333, 444, and 555. The Ferguson F40 was offered as a tricycle
tractor for the Ferguson lineup.
Starting in 1957, and completed by 1958, new
models used the Massey Ferguson tractors name in place of Ferguson and
Massey-Harris. The MF 25, MF 35, MF 65, and MF 85 were rolled out in the
late 1950's. From this point on a wide range of models, with their numbers
suggesting their relative power and placement in the product line were
laucnhed, with a variety of MF 90's offered for the large farm equipment
market. The company grew substantially in size and offered models for all
the different markets, eventually becoming the largest tractor company. In
1993, Massey-Ferguson, (which had changed its corporate name) was acquired
by AGCO, ending the independence of the company. The Massey Ferguson name,
and Massey Ferguson farm tractors, will no doubt live on for a long time in
the products of the new company and continue to provide the modern tractors
needed in a more technology-savvy and efficient American farmland.