Harry Ferguson was a remarkable inventor and a man of vision. Aside from his innovations in mechanised agriculture he designed a four-wheel drive system for road cars and created inspired design solutions to a wealth of engineering problems. Yet he is best remembered for the small, unobtrusive grey tractor that bears his name. Launched in the late 1940s, it rendered its competitors obsolete and provided farmers with a tool that could meet almost all their requirements. The TE20 incorporated Ferguson’s hydraulically-operated three-point linkage, which enabled implements to be mounted on and controlled on the tractor itself, instead of being towed behind. This, the “Ferguson System” also enabled draft control, maintaining the plough at the same depth whatever the terrain.
Harry Ferguson also envisaged a complete range of machines and implements being made available to fit the tractor and thus enable the operator to carry out almost every imaginable task. In all, this was a revolutionary concept and it ushered in a new era in the mechanisation of agriculture.
The author opens this book with a review of Harry Ferguson’s early work on tractors and his development of the system, followed by a chapter on his collaboration with Ford in the USA on the development of the Ford 9N tractor with Ferguson system hydraulics. Then comes an in-depth study of the TE20, Harry Ferguson’s own unique design, of which the author provides a detailed examination and evaluation. Later chapters cover the TVO- and diesel-powered versions, the American- and French-built Fergusons, industrial models, special-purpose variants including narrow-track types, and conversions including four-wheel-drive and high-clearance models. There is an extensive study of the extraordinary range of implements available, from ploughs and cultivators via loaders and mowers to post-hole borers and feed mills, with information also on tractor options and accessories. Other chapters deal with the spread of Fergusons to farmers around the world, Sir Edmund Hillary’s Ferguson-borne Antarctic expedition, and the practicalities of owning, restoring and using a TE20 today.
Both tractors and a wide range of associated artefacts have been specially photographed for this book, which also includes some 150 illustrations from the archives. Ferguson TE20 in Detail offers an unrivalled store of knowledge for the many owners and enthusiasts who care passionately about these tractors, and serves as a tribute to their creator.