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International Harvester Company (IHC or IH; now Navistar International Corporation) was an agricultural machinery, construction equipment, vehicle, commercial truck, and household and commercial products manufacturer. In 1902, J.P. Morgan purchased the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms: Milwaukee; Plano; and Warder, Bushnell, and Glessner (manufacturers of Champion brand). J P Morgan thus formed International Harvester. International Harvester sold off the Ag division in 1985 and later renamed the company. Case IH was formed when the Agricultural Division merged with J.I. Case.

History

Founding of the company

The roots of International Harvester can be traced back to the 1830s, when Cyrus Hall McCormick, an inventor from Virginia, finalized his version of a horse-drawn reaper. The reaper was demonstrated in tests in 1831 and was patented by Cyrus in 1834. Together with his brother, McCormick moved to Chicagomarker in 1847 and started the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. The McCormick reaper sold well, partially as a result of savvy and innovative business practices. Their products came onto the market just as the development of railroads offered wide distribution to distant market areas. He developed marketing and sales techniques, developing a vast network of trained salesmen able to demonstrate operation of the machines in the field.

McCormick died in Chicago, with his company passing on to his son, Cyrus McCormick, Jr. In 1902, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms (Milwaukee; Plano; and Warder, Bushnell, and Glessner (manufacturers of Champion brand)) merged together to create the International Harvester Company. In 1919, the Parlin and Orendorff factory in Canton, Illinoismarker grew with a ranking of number one in the plow manufacturing industry. The International Harvester Company purchased the factory calling it the Canton Works; it continued production for many decades.
An International Harvester tractor built in 1920.
1954 R-110 series pickup


The golden years of IH

In 1926, Farmall Works began production in a new plant in Rock Island, Illinois, built solely to produce the new Farmall tractor. By 1930, the 100,000th Farmall was produced. IH next set their sights on introducing a true 'general-purpose' tractor designed to satisfy the needs of the average American family farmer. The resulting 'letter' series of Raymond Loewy-designed Farmall tractors in 1939 proved a huge success, and IH enjoyed a sales lead in tractors and related equipment that continued through much of the 1940s and 1950s, despite stiff competition from Ford, John Deere, and other tractor manufacturers. In 1946, the company acquired a wartime defense plant in Louisville, Kentucky, which was enlarged, expanded, and re-equipped for production of the Farmall A, B, and the new Cub tractors. In 1974, the 5,000,000th IHC tractor was produced at the Rock Island Farmall plant.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, despite good sales, IH's profit margins remained slim. The continual adding of unrelated business lines created a somewhat unwieldy corporate organization, and the company found it difficult to focus on a primary business, be it Ag equipment, construction equipment, or truck production. An overly conservative management, combined with a rigid policy of in-house promotions tended to stifle new management strategies as well as technical innovation. Products with increasingly ancient technology continued in production year after year despite their marginal addition to sales. Worse, IH now not only faced a threat of stiff competition in each of its main corporate businesses, but also had to contend with greatly increased production costs, primarily due to labor and government-imposed environmental and safety regulations..

Downfall and ending

In 1979, a new CEO came on board at IH, determined to improve profit margins and drastically cut a ballooning cost structure. Unprofitable model lines were terminated, and factory production curtailed. By the end of the year, IH profits were at their highest in 10 years. Yet, the company was still strapped for cash, and union members became increasingly irate over production cutbacks and other cost-cutting measures. In the spring and summer of 1979, IH began short-term planning for a strike that seemed inevitable. Then on November 1, IH announced figures showing that president and chairman Archie McCardell received a US$1.8 million (in 1979 values) bonus. McCardell sought overtime, work rule, and other changes from the UAW, which led to a strike on November 2, 1979.

Soon after, the economy turned unfavorably against IH, and they became entangled in a financial crisis. The strike lasted approximately six months. When it ended, IH had lost almost $600 million (in 1979 value; over $2 billion today).

By 1981, the company was in trouble. The strike, accompanied by the economy and internal corporate problems, had placed IH in a hole that had only a slim way out. Things only got worse until 1984, when the bitter end came.

International Harvester, following many hours of negotiations, agreed to sell the Ag division to Tenneco, Inc. on November 26, 1984. Tenneco had a subsidiary, J.I. Case, that manufactured tractors, but lacked the full line of farm implements that IH produced (combines, cotton pickers, tillage equipment, etc.)

Following the merger, tractor production at Harvester's Rock Island, Illinois Farmall Works ceased in May 1985. Production of the new Case IH tractors moved to the J.I. Case Tractor Works in Racine, Wisconsin. Production of IH Axial-Flow combines continued at the East Moline, Illinois combine factory. Harvester's Memphis Works in Memphis, Tennessee was closed and cotton picker production was moved.

The truck and engine divisions remained, and in 1986 Harvester changed the corporate name to Navistar International Corporation (Harvester had sold the International Harvester name and the IH symbol to Tenneco Inc. as part of the sale of its Ag division). Navistar International Corporation continues to manufacture medium- and heavy-duty trucks, school buses, and engines under the International brand name.

Divisions and products

Agriculture

The International Harvester Agricultural Division was by far the biggest and best known IH subsidiary. When IH sold their ag division to Tenneco in 1985, the International Harvester name and "IH" logo, went with it.

One of the first early products (besides the harvesting equipment that McCormick and Deering had been making prior to the merger) from the newly created International Harvester Company was the Traction Truck: a truck frame manufactured by Morton Traction Truck Company (later bought IHC) with an IHC engine mounted on it.

From 1902 when IH was formed to the early 1920s, the McCormick and Deering dealerships kept their original brands unique, with Mogul tractors sold at McCormick dealers, and Titan tractors at Deering dealerships, due to the still present competitiveness of the former rivals.

The early tractors

IH produced a range of massive gas-powered farm tractors under the Mogul and Titan brands. These tractors had varied success but the trend going into the mid-teens of the 1900s was "small" and "cheap".

The first important tractors from IH were the model 10-20 and 15-30. Introduced in 1915, the tractors (which were comparatively smaller than their predecessors) were primarily used as traction engines to pull plows and for belt work on threshing machines. The 10-20 and 15-30 both had separate, but similar, Mogul and Titan versions.

Around this time, IHC purchased a number of smaller companies to incorporate their products into the IH dealer arsenal. Parlin & Orendorff aka P&O Plow and Chattanooga Plow were purchased in 1919. Other brand names they incorporated include but are not limited to Keystone, D.M. Osborne, Kemp, Meadows, Sterling , Weber, Plano, Champion.

In 1924, IH introduced the Farmall tractor, a smaller general-purpose tractor, to fend off competition from the Ford Motor Company's Fordson tractors. The Farmall was the first tractor in the United Statesmarker to incorporate a tricycle-like design (or row-crop front axle), which could be used on tall crops such as cotton and corn.
1954 IH Farmall Super C
Following the introduction of the Farmall, IH introduced several similar looking "F Series" models that offered improvements over the original design (the original model became known as the "Regular").

In 1932 IH produced their first diesel engine, introduced in the McCormick-Deering TD-40 crawler. This engine started on gasoline, then switched over to diesel fuel. Diesel engines of this era were difficult to start in cold weather, and the gasoline allowed the engine to start easily and thoroughly warm up before making the switch to diesel in all weather conditions. In 1935 this engine was put in the International Harvester WD-40, becoming the world's first diesel tractor on wheels.

The Letter and Standard series tractors, 1939

For model year 1939, industrial designer Raymond Loewy was hired to design a new line of tractors. The sleek look, combined with other new features, created what is known as the Farmall "letter series" (A, B, BN, C, H and M) and the McCormick-Deering "standard series" (W-4, W-6 and W-9). The tractors were updated to the "super" series in the early fifties (with the exception of the A, which became a "super" in 1947, and the B and BN, which were discontinued in 1948) and received several improvements. Many of these tractors (especially the largest: the H, M and W models) are still in operation on farms today. Especially desirable are the diesel-powered MD, WD-6 and WD-9. These tractors carried forward the unique gasoline start diesel concept of the WD-40.

The letter and standard series of tractors was produced until 1954, and was a defining product in IH history.

For 1955 in IH tractors, the numbered "hundred-series" was offered. Although given slightly different looks and few new features, they were still updates to the models introduced in 1939. The only new tractor in the 1955 lineup is the 300 Utility. In 1957 IH gave the tractor lineup another update by increasing power in some models, adding a new 230 Utility model, and adding new white paint to the grill and sides and new number designations were given. This improved sales at the time, but IH's inability to change and update was already showing.

The 60 series recall

In July 1958, IH started a major campaign to introduce a new line of tractors that many dealers hoped would turn around slumping sales. At the Hinsdale, Illinois Testing Farm, IH entertained over 12,000 dealers from over 25 countries. IH showed off their new "60" series of tractors: including the big, first of their kind, six-cylinder 460 and 560 tractors. But the joy of the new line of tractors was short lived. One of the first events that would eventually lead to the downfall of IH presented itself in 1959. In June of that year, IH recalled the 460, 560, and 660 tractors: final drive components had failed. IH, who wanted to be the first big-power manufacturer, had failed to drastically update the final drives on the new six-cylinder tractors. These final drives were essentially unchanged from 1939 and would fail rapidly under the stress of the more powerful 60-series engines. IH's competitors took advantage of the recall, and IH would lose customers in the ensuing months, with many customers moving to John Deere's New Generation of Power tractors introduced in 1960.

Throughout the 1960s IH would introduce new tractors and new methods of selling them. As producing tractors was the lifeblood of the company, IH would have to remain competitive in this field. They both succeed and failed at this goal. But farming was about to change, and IH, along with competitors, were in for a bumpy ride.

5 million tractors, 1973

1973 would see some important milestones for IH. On February 1, 1974 at 9A.M., the 5 millionth tractor came off the assembly line at the Farmall Plant in Illinois. IH was the first tractor manufacturer to accomplish this. Also in 1973, IH officially dropped the "Farmall" name from its tractor. This ended an era that began with the first Farmall "Regular" back in 1924.

In 1977, IH introduced the first Axial-Flow rotary combine. This machine, produced at East Moline, IL, was the first generation of over 30 years of Axial-Flow combines.

As the 1980s began, IH was ready to climb from its own depression and become a leader once more. IH would face a stable economy, yet it would face an unknown fate. In September 1981, IH announced at a dealership meeting the new "50 Series" of tractors. These new tractors would prove once again that IH had the innovation to come out on top. Penned by industrial designer Gregg Montgomery, whose firm later designed the Case IH "Magnum" series tractors, the new stylish design of the "50 Series" would change the look of tractors forever. IH spent over $29 million to develop this new series, and the result was the last great lineup of tractors from IH.

There were many technology-related innovations put into the new series. A computer monitoring system called a Sentry was developed, and IH became the first manufacturer to add a computer to a farm tractor. Other new innovations included a "z" shift pattern, an 18 speed synchronized transmission, a forward air flow cooling system, "Power Priority" 3-pump hydraulic system, color-coded hydraulic lines and controls, and a new rear-hitch system. The 50 Series had an unprecedented three-year or 2,500-hour engine and drive-train warranty, which would later become an industry standard. Although no new sales records were set, IH sold a respectable amount of these tractors during its short production time.

IH was well into the development of a new line of tractors that would revolutionize the ways of farming when the sale of the Ag division was announced. Many of these new features would find their way into the new series of MAGNUM tractors introduced by Case IH in 1987.

Brand names of the Ag division

McCormick Deering Tractor
IH over the years used a number of brand names to market their tractor and harvesting products:
  • Titan (1910-1924)
  • Mogul (1911-1924)
  • McCormick-Deering (1923-1947)
  • McCormick (1947-1958)
  • Farmall (1924-1973)
  • Fairway (1924-1938)
  • Electrall (1954-1956)
  • International (1902-1985)


Other agricultural products

Along with the prominent tractor division, IH also sold several different types of farm related equipment. These included: balers, cultivators, combines (self-propelled and pull behind), combine heads, corn shellers, cotton pickers, manure spreaders, hay rakes, crop dusters, disk harrows, elevators, feed grinders, hammer mills, hay conditioners, milking machines, planters, mills, discs, plows and various miscellaneous equipment.

Also produced were twine, stationary engines, loaders, and wagons.

Electrall

In 1954, the Electrall system was introduced. It was a short-lived attempt to market electrically-operated farm equipment and accessories. The system, co-developed with General Electric, consisted of a 208V three phase alternating current generator that is connected with electric cables to the device to be powered. The generator could even power a household. A 10KW Electrall generator was an option on the Farmall 400 tractor, and there also was a 12.5 kW PTO-driven version. The possible applications of Electrall power were many, but few made it to market. IH marketing materials showed a haybaler being Electrall powered. One of the more novel applications of the Electrall was a device to electrocute insects in the field at night (basically like a modern-day bug zapper, but on a larger scale).

Vehicles

Light duty

1911 International Harvester wagon
IH is often remembered as a maker of relatively successful and innovative “light” lines of vehicles, competing directly against the Big 3. The most common were pickup trucks. IH made light trucks from 1907 to 1975. The final light line truck was made on May 5, 1975.
1927 International one-ton stakebed


IH had early success with the "Auto Buggy", which started production in February, 1907. IHC later introduced the Auto Wagon, which would be renamed the Motor Truck, forerunner to the successful pickup truck. In the mid 1940s, International released their K and KB series trucks, which were more simplistic than other trucks released in that era.
1954 R-110 series pickup
1957 A-series pickup
One of the company's light duty vehicles was the Travelall, which was similar in concept to the Chevrolet Suburban. The Travelette was a crew cab, available in 2 or 4 wheel drive. It was available starting in 1957, and was the first 6 passenger, 4 door truck of its time. The Scout was a small, 2 door SUV, similar to a Jeep. In 1972 the Scout became the Scout II, and in 1974 Dana 44 axles, power steering and power disk brakes became standard. After the pickups and Travelall were discontinued in 1975, the Scout Traveler and Terra became available, both with a longer wheelbase than a standard Scout II.

IH would abandon sales of passenger vehicles in 1980 to concentrate on commercial trucks and school buses. Today the pickups, Travelalls, and Scouts are minor cult orphaned vehicles. All were available as rugged four-wheel drive off-road vehicles.

The Scout & Light Truck Parts Business was sold to Scout/Light Line Distributors, Inc. in 1991.

Medium/Heavy duty

IH was an early manufacturer of medium/heavy duty trucks. Although based upon truck chassis, IH also became the leading manufacturer of the chassis portion of body-on-chassis conventional (type C) school buses.

With the truck and engine divisions remaining following the 1985 sale of the agricultural division, International Harvester Company changed their corporate name to Navistar International in 1986. Today Navistar International's subsidiary, International Truck and Engine Corporation, manufactures and markets trucks and engines under the International brand name.

The Power Stroke diesel engine, which is a trade name of Ford Motor Company, is manufactured by International Truck and Engine Corporation, for use in Ford heavy-duty trucks, vans and SUVs.

Military

IH manufactured heavy vehicles for military use include the 1942 M5 Tractor.

In early 1951 the United States Army through the Springfield Armorymarker contracted International Harvester to produce US Caliber .30 M-1 Garand rifles, and between 1953 and 1956 produced 337,623 rifles in total, according to the Army Ordnance Department.

Home

Lawn and garden

IH branched out into the home lawn and garden business in the 1960s with its line of Cub Cadet equipment, which included riding and walk-behind lawn mowers and snow blowers. Also produced were compost shredders, rotary tillers, Cadet garden tractors, and power washers.

The Cub Cadet line was sold to MTD Products in 1981 .

Home appliances

Although best known for farm equipment, IH produced home appliances for farmers and non-farmers alike. This included refrigeration equipment such as refrigerators, air conditioners, and freezers. Like many automobile and truck makers did during this period, (Ford had Philco, Chrysler had Airtemp, General Motors had Frigidaire, Nash-Kelvinator Corporation (and then American Motors) had Kelvinator, Studebaker had the Franklin Appliance Company, White, IHC had a refrigeration division of its own.

Originally, the appliance division had been developed to manufacture commercial-grade items to farmers, most of whom had just received electricity by way of the many electrification projects in the United Statesmarker before and after World War II. Among the offerings were milk coolers and walk-in freezers for produce and meat. Later on, IH courted the farmer's wife with kitchen refrigerators available in the latest designer styles. The IH spokeswoman for these products was Irma Harding, a factory trademark. These products were introduced in 1947 and sold for less than ten years. The refrigeration division was sold to Whirlpool Corporation in 1955. Since the time of production was short, these appliances are quite rare today.

See also



References

  1. Hoover's Profile: Navistar International Corporation http://www.answers.com/topic/navistar-international
  2. Loomis, Carol J. "The Strike That Rained on Archie McCardell's Parade." Fortune. May 19, 1980; Friedman, Raymond A. "Interaction Norms as Carriers of Organizational Culture: A Study of Labor Negotiations at International Harvester". Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 18:1 (April 1989); Zimmerman, Frederick M. The Turnaround Experience: Real-World Lessons in Revitalizing Corporations. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1991. ISBN 0070728992
  3. Williams, Winston. "Long Strike Is Called Key McCardell Error." New York Times. May 4, 1982; "Workers End Six-Month Walkout." Associated Press. April 21, 1980.
  4. The mid-mount Electrall unit installs on the Super M-TA, Super W-6TA, 400, 450 and 560 tractors equipped with the I-PTO option.
  5. Farmall Cub :: View topic - Bought a 182 Cub Cadet


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