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John Deere Model H
Parts for John Deere H

Picture of a JD Model H

A Brief History

The JD Model H was manufactured to "meet the demands of small-acreage farmers everywhere for a tractor that will handle all power jobs at rock-bottom cost, and meet the demands of the large-acreage farmers who have always wanted and needed economical auxiliary power to handle lighter farm jobs, John Deere offers the new one-two plow Model H". Quoted from a 1939 sales brochure introducing the new tractor.

The main goals of the Model H design were to lower the operating costs by the use of low-cost distillate fuels, lower the purchase price through simplified design, and improve the usability via a 3-speed transmission and adjustable wheel spacing. The Model H is unique among the General Purpose tractors because power was taken off the camshaft instead of the crankshaft. This reduced the output speed of the engine, and the usual bull gears at each axle were no longer required.

Four versions of the Model H were produced: The Model H (a dual narrow-front row crop), the Model HN (same as the Model H but with a single front wheel), the Model HWH (same as the Model H but had 8-38 rear tires and an adjustable wide front axle), and the Model HNH (same as the HWH except with a single front wheel).

Approximately 60,000 of the Model H were built. New (in 1940) the tractor cost around $650.00

The JD Model H Today

Like all of the old John Deere tractors, the Model H is very collectible. The Model HWH and HNH are the most collectible due to their rareness. Only about 125 of the HWH were built, and a small number of the HNH's were built as well.

Quite a few of these tractors are still being used on the farm as a backup tractor or for everyday chores. With the large number of John Deere collectors and enthusiasts, I would venture to say that the largest number are being collected, and either restored or kept in original condition under cover for showing or admiration.

The Specs

Air Cleaner: Donaldson, oil washed.
Carburetor: Marvel-Schebler, 1 inch
Clutch: JD, dry disc, hand operated.
Governor: JD, centrifugal, variable speed
Ignition: Wico, high tension magneto
Oil Filter: Purolator
Radiator: Modine core, fin tube.
Radiator Cover: Pines Winterfront, optional
Spark Plugs: Regular, 18 mm.
Engine: JD, 3-9/16 x 5, 1,400 rpm, 2 cylinders, horizontal, cast en bloc; no removable sleeves.
Pulley: 12-1/4 x 4-1/2, 700 rpm and 2,245 fpm at normal engine speed.
Speed: MPH forward 1 - 2-1/2, 2 - 3-1/2, 3 - 5-3/4 and 1-3/4 reverse.

Nebraska Tractor Test Results

TEST NO. 312

John Deere Tractor Co., Waterloo, Iowa

DATE TESTED: October 31 to November 10, 1938

Deere submitted a Model H tractor under Serial No. H-1000 for Test No. 312. Equipped to burn distillate fuel, the Model H carried the usual two-cylinder horizontal engine - in this case it used 3-9/16 x 5 inch bore and stroke with a rated speed of 1,400 rpm. Standard equipment included an Edison-Splitdorf RM-2 magneto and a Marvel-Schebler DLTX-26 carburetor. Standard equipment also included 7.50 x 32 inch rear tires and 4.00 x 15 front rubber. Weight as tested was 3,035 pounds. Three forward speeds of 2-1/2, 3-1/2 and 5-3/4 mph were provided, with second gear being used for Test H (rated drawbar). This ten hour test revealed a fuel economy of 10.16 horsepower hours per gallon of fuel, along with a pull of 1,065 pounds at 3.44 mph for an output of 9.77 drawbar horsepower. Test G for operating maximum horsepower indicated a low-gear maximum pull of 1,839 pounds a 2.38 mph and slippage of 10.14% for a net output of 11.67 drawbar horsepower. Belt horsepower tests indicate an impressive fuel economy of 11.62 horsepower hours per gallon of distillate at rated load of 13.01 horsepower. This figure improved slightly to 11.95 when under operating maximum load of 14.22 belt horsepower. No repairs or adjustments were noted during the 43 hours of engine running time.

Serial Numbers

The serial number is located on the right-hand side of the tractor on the main case in the flywheel area.

Serial Numbers (From 1939 to 1947)
Year Starting Serial Number
1939 1000
1940 10780
1941 23654
1942 40995
1943 44755
1944 47796
1945 48392
1946 55956
1947 60107

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