Already producing cars in the 1910s, Henry Ford looked to develop a two-plough tractor using some interchangeable components he could sell for $200. His aim was to do for farming what the Model T car had done for motoring. The ultimate result was the Model F which entered production in 1917, but which was somewhat more expensive than predicted at $750! However, on the back of the Model T car's reputation, Ford sold the Model F in large numbers.
Seen as a means to help end W.W.I, the British Government asked Ford to manufacture in Britain, but after German bombers got ever-more daring and bombed London in daylight, factory space was given over to aeroplane production and Ford was left to manufacture in America. At this time another company set-up Ford Tractor Company using the name of one of their staff making a similar tractor to pre-empt his success, and this meant Henry Ford couldn't use the same name. However, he set up Henry Ford and Son, and shortened it to Fordson.
In 1922, Fordson tractors accounted for 70% of home tractor sales, but a price war with International Harvester cut sales, but by 1928 Fordson had partly regained its market share to 47%. In 1919, production had started in Cork, Ireland, marking the first time the same tractor was being produced in both America and Europe. These tractors were usually grey with red wheels. In 1929, production ceased in America with all production being done in Ireland, and in 1933, all production moved again to Dagenham, England, where ironically, tractors were exported back to the States.
The Model F was superseded by the Model N in the 1930s and like Allis Chalmers, the livery was changed to a bright orange colour. However, during W.W.II, tractors standing on the docks of the Thames were thought to be quite a target for German bombers and the colour was changed to a dark green. After the war, the colour changed again to a dark blue with orange wheels, and this livery was used on the Fordson Major (commonly referred to as the E27N) when it was introduced in the 1950s.
With the introduction of the New Fordson Major and Dexta in the 1960s, the livery changed yet again to a royal blue with grey contrasting wings etc. There are many variations on these liveries with some models such as the Super Major and Power Major having different coloured grills, etc. Alongside, all these British designed tractors, a completely different range of Ford tractors were being produced in America, initially using the grey/red livery, and nowadays, Ford New Holland are using a blue colour very similar to the tractors produced in the late 1970s.
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