Classic Tractors: Proving They Still Get the Job Done
By Tom Seest
At ClassicTractorNews, we help classic tractor lovers keep up with the latest news for classic and vintage tractors.
Classic case tractors are multi-tasking machines designed to tackle many tasks efficiently and reliably, often serving farms with attachments galore.
Jerome Increase Case was born into a farming family in New York state and became fascinated with agriculture after hearing of an automated reaper machine that could cut wheat without using humans as harvesters.
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John Froelich invented the first gas-powered tractor in 1892 in a small town in northeast Iowa. His invention represented an improvement over steam-powered plowing engines of its time, which were both hard to maneuver and susceptible to explosions.
Froelich employed a traction engine chassis to mount a Van Duzen petrol engine that produced 20hp, creating a tractor that powered an additional threshing machine and proved highly successful during harvest season, hauling its load along roads for 52 days using just 26 gallons of gasoline!
While Case remained committed to steam power, other manufacturers began exploring alternative sources. Charles Hart and Charles Parr produced in 1901 what would become known as the Hart-Parr tractor; its development marked a groundbreaking moment in tractor design history.
Froelich’s team joined with local businessmen to form the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company the following year, building four prototypes but only selling two (both later returned) prototypes before Froelich left to focus on steam-powered threshing machines and steam threshers. Shortly afterward, Nicolaus Otto constructed his four-stroke petrol engine, providing manufacturers with an easier way to create small, lightweight tractors than those powered by steam alone. This revolution allowed manufacturers to produce small, lighter machines while remaining more reliable than those powered by steam alone.
Jerome Increase Case founded the Racine Threshing Machine Works in Wisconsin in 1842 and quickly transformed it from an initial focus on manufacturing threshing machines into producing portable steam engines, then internal combustion engines, and eventually modern tractors. Case went through numerous mergers before ultimately merging with New Holland in 1999.
In 1984, J.I. Case and Cyrus McCormick combined their legacies under one name – Case IH, becoming one of the largest farm equipment manufacturers worldwide. Today, Case IH is part of CNH Global and continues to manufacture cutting-edge tractors featuring cutting-edge technologies and advanced features for farmers worldwide.
Some of the most renowned Case antique tractors can be easily distinguished by their distinctive designs. Case was known for producing yellow and green tractors used to harvest cane or irrigate crops; today, these classic-style yellow Farmall models remain popular with collectors and enthusiasts. New innovations from Case include their 360 HP Steiger Quadtrac vehicle that uses four separate tracks to reduce ground compaction while increasing traction, as well as Austoft sugar cane harvesters that help increase efficiency and safety.
Case began by manufacturing threshing machines but quickly expanded into producing portable steam engines and traction engines, eventually entering the market of internal combustion tractors. Over the years, Case merged with numerous tractor industry titans, most notably New Holland (to form CNH Global). Now, vintage Case tractors remain highly desired among collectors and enthusiasts.
The Model CC was the inaugural gas-powered Case tractor produced between 1940 and 1953. Rated at 18 horsepower, drawbar horsepower, and 27 horsepower belt horsepower, the early Model CC also was one of the first tractors with Woolf valve gear, feedwater heaters, and iconic eagle smokebox covers.
Case subsequently introduced other models, such as the AA, A, B, and C models. By the 1950s, Case had begun focusing on industrial equipment for construction sites, including backhoes and full-tracked tractors; its agricultural division only caught up with its construction counterpart during the 1970s.
The Model A tractor, produced between 1918 and 1932, was the world’s first gas-powered tractor. Equipped with a four-cylinder engine and two-wheel drive system as well as a steering wheel at the rear, its purpose was to haul plows, wagons, and cultivators – its distinctive styling being used to symbolize company disdain for cosmetic vanity, making it popular with homesteaders and farmers.
By the 1920s, Case had expanded significantly; by then, they were producing equipment for every facet of farming beyond just tractors. Alongside making tractors, they also manufactured harvesting machines for grain and vegetable production and mowers, plows, cotton pickers, and cotton pickers. At the close of the century five American agricultural manufacturing companies –Case, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, Deering, Plano, and John Deere — had decided to merge into an enormous conglomerate known as International Harvester Company.
In 1984, Tennaco Corporation purchased assets of J.I. Case and combined their agricultural division with International Harvester tractors already offered at International Harvester to form Case IH. Later on, this changed company changed to Case IH.
Case IH remains one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of tractors today, offering an array of models to meet any farmer’s needs, from small and simple to large and powerful. Additionally, construction equipment and combines are manufactured at Case IH, with their Axial Flow Combine revolutionizing industry standards with its simplicity, grain quality, crop savings capacity, and increased resale value. For up-to-date information regarding Case IH products, please visit their website.
Marklin introduced their model Z scale as the first commercially viable model railroad scale in 1972. Its name comes from “Z”, representing zero in the Roman numeral system. This designation marks its role as an independent commercial scale within NEM (Narrow Gauge Electric Model Railway).
The new model combines comfort, safety, and power into a versatile tractor, suitable for almost every farming application. Its suspension offers exceptional handling and stability due to its low center of gravity; moreover, it features various innovations that enhance performance.
In addition to its powerful engine and newly redesigned bodywork, the new Model Z features a high-performance transmission and four-wheel drive front axle with a four-wheel traction control system for improved front axle control in difficult conditions. Finally, an advanced traction control system prevents wheel spin while helping maintain traction under difficult circumstances.
This new model boasts an efficient engine and transmission, making it the ideal solution for increasing productivity. Furthermore, its suspension includes new monotube shocks with adjustable front geometry and rear suspension tuning to help it handle like a pro; additionally, it boasts electric power steering, which offers great feel and control; high-performance brakes feature 14″ front rotors with 4-piston calipers while its interior boasts premium upholstery as well as power-adjustable seats; its performance trim features leather seats with seat heaters for optimal driving experiences.
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