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
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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