Shown above is a 1921 newspaper advertisement by Ronceverte’s Clarkson & Tuckwiller for Fordson farm tractors. Manufactured by the Ford Motor Company, the Fordson tractor was introduced in 1918 and cost $785. From making 65 tractors a day at the start, production increased to 300 a day by 1921. The country entered an economic downturn that year, and sales plummeted. Ford took a risk and lowered the price to $395. The gamble paid off as more than 35,000 tractors had been sold by the end of 1921, and Fordson became the best selling tractor in the United States. The design of the Fordson was innovative. It had a 3-speed transmission with the engine and drive train bolted together to create a single unit without needing an external frame.
Ford halted production of the Fordson tractors in 1928, but resumed manufacturing tractors in 1939 with the Ford 9N. In order to concentrate on manufacturing cars and trucks, Ford got out of tractors once again when it sold the tractor manufacturing business to Fiat in 1991.
The Fordson shown in the advertisement had a 20 horsepower belt drive. For comparison, the smallest John Deere row crop tractor available today has 145 horsepower and costs over $200,000.
Advertisement: Courtesy of the West Virginia Daily News.
Sources: www.agriculture.com, www.forauthority.com, www.motorcities.org.