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Ferguson

Harry Ferguson was born in County Down, Ireland in 1884, designed motorcycles and racing cars, and in 1909 he made the first powered flight in Ireland. In his twenties he sold cars in Belfast, and imported Overtime tractors from the USA. In 1919 he designed a new plough, fixed to a tractor with a three-point linkage, and patented his improved Ferguson Hydraulic System in 1926. Morris agreed to build tractors for Ferguson, but the Depression killed off the project, so from 1933 Harry built black-painted tractors in Belfast. He then joined up with David Brown of Huddersfield, who set up a new firm to build the tractors, now in grey, for Ferguson to sell. He soon sold 1,200, but he was unhappy with the David Brown partnership. In 1939 Ferguson demonstrated his tractor to Henry Ford, who was so impressd that he and Ferguson entered into partnership on a handshake. The grey-painted Ford Ferguson 9N incorporated off-the-shelf Ford parts, its engine made from 'half a Mercury' unit. Over 300,000 Ford Ferguson tractors were built, but after Henry Ford died, Henry Ford II his grandson, terminated the agreement. The Fordson 8N replaced the 9N. Ferguson sued Ford, and in 1952 Ferguson was paid $9.25m for unauthorised use of his system. Ferguson designed a new lightweight tractor, the TE-20 (Tractor England 20hp), but Lord Nuffield would not to agree to his terms to build them. In 1946 Ferguson agreed with John Black of Standard to build the tractors, powered by a version of the Vanguard engine. This became the classic grey Fergie. The profits from the operation subsidised Standard for a decade; they built half a million Ferguson tractors from 1947 to 1956. TE20 petrol tractors were renamed TEA20 when the TED20 petrol-paraffin version appeared. The TEF20 had a diesel engine. The TEB20 and TEC20 were narrow track versions. After Ferguson merged his firm with Massey-Harris, the Canadian group, the tractors were called Massey-Ferguson (M-F). When merger discussions between Standard and M-F failed, M-F bought the Coventry tractor factory.
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