Vintage Farm Tractors: The Ultimate Tribute To Classic Tractors
This is my favorite tractor history book. It is short and sweet. It has some of the best photos. (Many were originally printed in the DuPont Classic Farm Tractors calendars of 1990 through 1993. All are very good.) Sanders does a good job with an overview of early tractor technology and then a history of the nine major brands, and finally a chapter on the orphan brands. Sanders had details on most of the important tractors in each line with details about each.
Excerpt: Boom and Bust Cycles Impact the Industry
Economic conditions played a large role in the development and acceptance of the gas tractor in its second and third decade of existence. By 1921, there were 186 tractor makers listed with production down to less than 70,000 tractors. Following l922,the number of manufacturers dropped to thirty-eight in 1930, making about 200,000 tractors a year. The low point came in the depression year of 1932, with only about 20,000 tractors produced. By 1933, only nine principal makers survived: IH, Deere, Case, Massey, Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline, Allis-Chalmers, Cleveland Tractor, and Caterpillar. Some economic recovery and vastly improved tractors with row-crop design, rubber tires, and high-compression gas engines helped sales increase in the mid 1930s. By 1941, production rose to 342,093 tractors. World War II defense production caused that figure to drop to less than 135,000 tractors in 1943. Postwar figures rose dramatically as U.S. agriculture made up for lost time. In 1948,tractor production reached an all-time peak of nearly 569,00 unites, including 39,412 crawlers. By l949, there were 141 makers turning out more than 400,000 wheel and tracklaying tractors. As the postwar boom slowed and tractor production caught up with demand, tractor makers were thinned dramatically; by 1960, the number of makers had again dropped to nine major players. -page 24