|Tim Daley(MI) ||
Posted 02-18-2019 at 07:49:10 [URL] [DELETE]
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In November, 1938, Harry Ferguson and his team arrived in Dearborn, Michigan to demonstrate to Henry Ford the new 3-point draft control system of Ferguson’s. Ford liked the design on the spot and formed the ‘handshake agreement’ partnership with Ferguson right then and there. Ford would build the tractor and Ferguson would handle distribution of it and the implements under the Ferguson-Sherman Corporation, partnered with the Sherman brothers. It’s imperative to know that Harry Ferguson was not an engineer. The 3-Point Draft Control system was the invention of his team of skilled engineers; Willie Sands, Archie Greer, and John Chambers. Ferguson was a shrewd businessman. As Ford RH man Charles Sorenson once said, “Ferguson could sell you the birds out of the trees”. Harry had taken out patents in his name on the 3-pt system and many of the 9N parts and systems though he had not much to do with their technical designs. His ideas were his own. Henry Ford didn’t believe in patents or lawyers so Harry took advantage of this and it worked in his favor against Ford in the famous lawsuit filed later in 1948. Ferguson soon became agitated, mainly because he was determined to have HIS tractor made the way HE wanted it. Ford engineers disagreed, and designed the 9N the way they deemed was best. Ferguson originally wanted a 4-speed transmission and an overhead valve design engine. He was overruled and thus the 3-speed, flat head engine was introduced on the 9N Model on June 29, 1939. Ferguson had begun shopping around ideas to prospective tractor builders for HIS tractor as early as 1941. Ferguson had copies of the original 9N blueprints to show, often with the FORD name blocked out but many knew what it was. In 1945 when Henry Ford resigned, Henry II took the reins of FoMoCo and his first order of business was to dissolve the handshake agreement made by his grandfather when Henry Ford I died in 1947. ‘The Deuce’ would fire Ferguson and he was gone by end of 1946. Harry went to the UK to have HIS tractor built in Coventry, England. Ferguson named it the TE20 model –TE for Tractor England, 20 for horsepower rating. The new tractor had all of Harry’s ideas – 4 -speed transmission and OHV engine, and still using the 3-pt draft control. The tractor bore a lot of resemblances to the Ford 9N because he had the 9N blueprints to work with and many of the parts even carried over the same part numbers, sans the 9N prefix. Part of Ferguson’s strategy was to take away lot of the Ford 9N business and he did. The popularity made it so that Ferguson had a plant built in Detroit, Ferguson Park, and started building his TO-20 tractor, TO for tractor overseas model. The BEST and most comprehensive fact-based book written on the Ford-Ferguson story is “Tractor Pioneer –The Life of Harry Ferguson” by Colin Fraser. Though it is the story of Harry Ferguson, it is unbiased in its content on the whole true story. There is someone in the ADS forum right with a copy for sale. FORD had been working on a new hydraulic system anyway, unbeknownst to Ferguson. In July 1947 Ford released the new 8N Model now with a Ford designed 3-point system that had the new POSITION CONTROL. Ferguson filed patent/copyright infringement against Ford in January, 1948 for over $340 million but the suit didn't come to trial until 1951, and then not settled out of court until April, 1952. Ferguson was awarded $9.25 million -only a fraction of what he wanted and probably amounted to what he had spent on lawyers. Meanwhile Ford had moved on, first with the new 8N system and then later in 1952 with the new NAA tractor and its whole new and better hydraulic system. Ferguson died in 1960, never confirmed, but assumed to be a drug induced suicide. There are many more interesting details to the story but read the book.