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Ford 9N, 2N, 8N Tractor History

The story of the deal between Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson, which was sealed with only a handshake, has been told so many times by so many authors that I'm not sure exactly what happened. Basically, Harry Ferguson invented the three-point hitch and Ford agreed to put it on his new Ford 9N tractor. Called the "Ferguson System", this three-point hitch was put together using a combination of linkage (three different linkage points, two on bottom and one on top) and hydraulics. It use to be that hooking up an implement to a tractor was a major affair. Farmers had hoists and helpers and all kinds of inovative ways to get that heavy thing hooked up. With the Ferguson System they need only back up to the implement, hook it up, raise it with the hydraulics and off they went.

The Ford 9N - 1939 to 1941

So the Ford 9N, the first of the "N Series" tractors was born complete with the first three-point hitch in 1939. It was developed as a versatile all-purpose tractor for the small farm and was exceedingly popular. It went through subtle changes almost every year of production. For example, in 1939 the grille had nearly horizontal bars and the steering box, grille, battery box, hood, instrument panel and tranny cover were made of cast-aluminum. It had snap-on radiator and fuel caps. In 1940 these caps were changed to the hinged type. In 1941 they changed the grill to steel with vertical bars. Many other changes were made and if you are interested you may want to purchase a Ford history book that focuses on the N Series. By the end of 1941 they had made so many changes, and had so many more ideas for changes, that they changed the name of the tractor to the "Ford 2N".

The Ford 2N - 1942 to 1947

Some of the newest features on the Ford 2N were an enlarged cooling fan (with shroud), a pressurized radiator, and eventually sealed-beam headlights. Other changes were made here and there due to the war. For awhile only steel wheels were available, and a magneto system was used rather than a battery. When the war ended it went back to what it had been before.

The Ford 8N - 1947 to 1952

The Ford 2N eventually evolved into the Ford 8N, which officially started it's production in 1947. This was also the year the handshake agreement between Henry Ford and Harry Ferguson was ended regarding the three-point hitch. Ford would continue using the hitch, but would no longer give Harry any money nor would he call it the "Ferguson System" any longer. This resulted in a lawsuit which eventually awarded Harry Ferguson $10 million or so. Harry went on to produce the 8N look-alike TO-20 and TO-30 but that is another story in itself... so back to the 8N. A completely new line of implements (Dearborn) was introduced. Some of the noticeable differences between the 9N/2N was the change in lugs from six to eight in the rear wheels, scripted "Ford" logo on the fenders and sides of the hood (reportedly this scripting did not actually start until late 1950) and finally, the absence of the "Ferguson System" patch which was no longer displayed under the Ford oval (even though the tractor still used Fergusons three-point hitch). The rest of the differences can be found on the Specifications page. Our intention here was just to give you a brief light-hearted look at the history behind these machines.

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