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A Corporate Tragedy

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dfrisk

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Dennis Frisk
MARLIN - Spring of '78 when I was driving a package car for UPS, I had a mostly rural route for six weeks when the regular driver broke his ankle playing basket ball. It was a Coal Valley & Orion, IL. route, and all the rural areas between the two towns. JD had a test farm just south & east of the south part of Coal Valley.

The winter of '77/'78 was sorta like this winter, lots of cold weather, frost was REALLY deep, country roads had huge frost heaves, I got stuck five times one week, once in a trailer court on a backtop drive and in several other different soft spots. Anyhow, I was delivering a package off of Rt 150 a mile or so, headed back towards Rt 150 and found a big frost heave, and high centered my little brown truck. Walked back to the closest farm and the old guy said he'd pull me out but it'd be a few minutes before he could get his old JD A started. As I waited I watched the JD photo crew at the JD test farm taking pic's of a HUGE 4WD trying to plow in way too wet of conditions with an 8 bottom plow. In dry conditions that plow would have been a load for the tractor. But what probably didn't make it into the picture was the BIG FWA tractor on the frt end of a 100 ft steel cable that was needed to pull the plow with the combined power/traction of both tractors. The guy got me pulled out of the frost heave and I was on my way to the next stop still laughing about the photos the guys were taking.

The neighbor Dad traded help with and farmed an extra 80 acres with ran all Allis equipment, a WD-45, then a D-17, and finally a D-19. That WD-45 would run pretty hard, the old Super M-TA could barely keep up with it plowing. When Dad got the 450 was when the neighbor traded the D-17 for the D-19 and the 450 would not keep up with it for a couple years. Last year we ran the 450 was the last year the neighbor ran the 19, I made mention in my diary that the 19 was getting tired, the 450 would finally keep up with the 19 plowing both pulling 4-14's. There were a lot of clay hills on the 80 they farmed together, the T/A was a MUCH better design than the Allis Power Director, you had to shift the P-D through neutral when shifting from high to low & back. With the T/A, there was no break in power.

The early T/A's with their 33% reduction in speed & 45% increase in pull power did put a lot more strain on the trans & final drive gears & bearings. The inner rear axle bearing & differential pinion bearings failing was becoming more of an issue for the T/A equipped Farmalls on the SM-TA, 400 & 450's. Adding the 60 HP 6-cyl. engines ahead of the same rearend should have been no surprise that those problems would get worse.

I think there was an article 12-15 yrs ago about that prototype M. If IH had built that tractor starting about 1947 it would have been well recieved. More faster speeds were needed as well as smaller gaps between speeds. IH made some HUGE engines for their construction equipment, powering a good 6-btm tractor would have been no problem. I don't think the tire companies made tires that could harness that kind of power back in the 1950's, but they could have started working on them.
 

bjamison

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Dec 3, 2005
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Binder 1650
Doing some business travel today and one leg of my flight took my on a flyover of Ft Wayne and into Chicago. Hard not to think about IH.

I have taken it for granted that most long distance flights I take these days have on board internet. Not today. I needed some reading material.

As a-drift IH was from the mid 50's, I've thought there must be a counter part to A Corporate Tragedy, only for Deere.

I downloaded to my iPad a book called John Deere, New Generation and Generation II tractors by John Dietz. It covers Deere from the mid 50's under the reign of William Hewitt.

Where the IH book is sad and somewhat painfully to read, the Deere story one of a company with their corporate ducks in a row. Lots of customer focus, much R&D spending.

Makes me wonder how IH would have turned out if Hewitt would have married into the McCormick family instead of the Deere family and eventually had ran IH instead of Deere.
 

dfrisk

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Dennis Frisk
BILL - Those books on JD are "coffee table books". Pretty glossy color pictures, fantastic reviews by someone who's never even sat on a tractor seat. The hard-copy media's version of "Kool-Aide".

A lot of what Bill Hewitt did stuck around JD for a LONG time. Like application questions like, "Have you ever lived on or have experience FARMING?" How long would the gov't agencies let those things go now? Or the unions or NAACP, etc. But it was a good common sense idea to have someone familiar with the use of equipment to actualy build it. Up until about the early 1960's lots of warmers went down to "The Shops" in winter to work, lots and lots for JD, and many other shops too.
 

mhomrighausen

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Sep 20, 2001
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Marlin Homrighausen
If I recall correctly, John Deere likes to purchase the technology rather than develop it on their own. I.E. The recent purchase of Bauer bilt Equipment company. John Deere had them make the long planter tool bars since their own engineers couldn't come up with a strong enough design. That little special pickup on the John Deere round balers is actually an IH design that IH let's them use on their round balers and collects a nice roylaty check for.
 

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