Tractors: An Illustrated History from Pioneering Steam Power to Today’s Engineering Marvels
Robert Moorhouse is a farmer from Leicestershire, England. This brings a decidedly English and European overview on the history of the farm tractor. A view that other tractor books I’ve read have missed altogether. Many innovations came from European tractors including Diesel engines and the three-point hitch.
In the early 20th Century most of the larger US Tractor Manufacturers exported their tractors world-wide. And in the latter half of the 20th Century, foreign manufactures such as Fiat and Deutz found themselves in a position to buy or partner with US tractor manufacturers. The book didn’t detail much about each tractor, but I did enjoy the photos and the wide net Moorhouse cast. He managed to describe hundreds of tractors in dozens of countries.
The book is laid out by decade/chapter. In each decade Moorehouse describes the manufacturer’s best tractors usually in this order: US, England, France, rest of Europe, USSR, and any remaining countries like Australia.
My favorite chapter was on World War II. Aircraft and tanks weren’t the only pieces of machinery that made dramatic leaps in technology, and tractors were also very important in winning the war.