Books About John Deere

Books About International Harvester

Other Brands and Farm Tractor Development

Small Farming and Rural Life

Restoring Tractors and Engines

Red Tractors, 1958-2013.  Lee Klancher et al, 2013.

A comprehensive and beautifully produced history of modern-era International Harvester and Case IH tractors, from the late-1950s Farmall 460 and 560 through the current-production Farmall A-, B-, and C-series compact tractors; from the 7-hp Cub Cadet to the 360-hp Quadtrac; and everything in between.

Author, photographer, and publisher Klancher was joined in development of this book by several other authors with expertise in various aspects of the broad subject, including longtime IH expert Ken Updike (International Harvester Tractors; Classic Farmall Tractors).  Sections on British, German, French, and Australian production, and on Case tractors prior to formation of Case IH, and on the dynamics of the Case IH and subsequent CNH mergers, make it much more than just a review of the familiar American Farmall and International tractors.  At 384 pages, virtually all of which contain excellent high-resolution color photographs, the book offers both breadth and depth, both detailed study and casual coffee-table browsing.  Given the enormity of the subject I won't be surprised, as I slowly make my way through the detailed text, if some editing or content questions come up--but based on my first quick pass, Red Tractors 1958-2013 bears the unmistakable stamp of quality.

Classic Farmall Tractors -- History, Models, Variations, and Specifications 1922-1975.  Ken Updike, 2008.

An excellent history of Farmall tractors, from longtime IH guy Ken Updike.  Lots of concise technical information about each model tractor, richly illustrated with high-quality vintage color and black and white photos from the factories, farm fields, and dealerships where these tractors were built, tested, and sold.  My one gripe concerns coverage of the final-drive problems encountered on the Farmall 460 and 560:  The author sets the stage at the start of the chapter by writing "...the drivetrain on the 460 and 560 was maxed out in the Hundred and Fifty Series tractors.  Adding more horsepower to this drivetrain could be a recipe for disaster, and it was."  But the issue is never mentioned again, except as a side note in a paragraph about the Brass Tacks sales demonstrator program:  "IH actually ran the Brass Tacks Demo program twice on the 40 and 60 Series.  The first run was in 1958 and 1959.  This program was probably terminated early on due to rear axle and final drive issues in the 460s and 560s.  Once this was resolved, the program ran again in 1961."  Given the damage those failures did to the Farmall reputation just as John Deere was about to introduce the 3010 and 4010, I would have been interested in more technical detail about the problems and the modifications IH put in place to fix them.

International Harvester Tractors.  Randy Leffingwell, 1999.

My favorite IH book until the same author's Farmall: Eight Decades of Innovation (right) came out, this is still a good read, covering the company and its tractors from the McCormick AutoMower through the CaseIH models of the late 1990s, and the photographs are wonderful.  Much of the text from this book was later incorporated into Farmall: Eight Decades of Innovation.

Farmall:  Eight Decades of Innovation.  Randy Leffingwell, 2005. 

Randy Leffingwell does it again, this time with Farmall.  Building on and expanding his earlier works like International Harvester Tractors (left), Leffingwell covers the Farmall series and Harvester history in general from the very beginning through the return of the Farmall brand in 2004.  Meticulous research, world-class photography, and easy-reading text make this the current Farmall coffee-table book to beat.  Also available in paperback as Farmall: The Red Tractor that Revolutionized Farming.

International Harvester Tractors, 1955-1985.  Ken Updike, 2000.

Far and away the best book I know of on the post-Letter Series Farmalls.  In addition to containing another big batch of terrific photos and Guy Fay-assisted research, the book just feels like it was written by a Farmall guy.  Ken Updike goes into details and offers insights that only someone with long years of experience could.  (The author is very involved in the Farmall community, has a long history with IH parts and service, and among other things for a time owned the first production 806).

International Harvester Photographic History.  Lee Klancher, 1996.

As the title suggests, terrific archival photos highlight this look at IH tractor development from the earliest gas-engined IH tractors up to the Case/IH merger in the 80s.  There's a brief description of each model, with some basic specs and production figures, and narrative about the history of these old machines.  Some of the really early stuff is a bit confusing, but I'm not sure it could have been done much better.  The historical record itself from 80 years ago is probably a bit thin, and the tractor naming conventions from back then can take a while to sort through.

International Harvester Farm Equipment Product History 1831-1985.  Ralph Baumheckel and Kent Borghoff, 1997.

Published by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, this book is an excellent overall history of IH equipment, from the McCormick reaper in 1831 to the International xx88-series tractors in the 1980s, with sections on harvesting equipment and other implements as well as tractors.  The text is good but necessarily somewhat brief, since each of those categories could likely fill a book by themselves. 

Farmall:  The Golden Age 1924-1954.  Lee Klancher, 2002.

Terrific full-color archival photos highlight this summary narrative of IH and the Farmalls up through the Super M-TA.  Descriptions of the decisions make by various IH executives, and of what was going on in the outside world at various points, help tie the whole story together.  But the text was sometimes more brief and superficial than I'd hoped for.  A good book for those interested in the antique and early classic Farmalls, especially if you're looking for great pictures.

Farmall Letter Series Tractors.  Guy Fay, 1998.

A first-class researcher, Guy Fay has done a great job of collecting and sorting out all sorts of interesting details about Cubs, the As through Ms, the 4, 6, and 9-series tractors, and the Super versions.  He's also found and reproduced IH's blueprints showing where to place decals on all those tractors, and a whole bunch of terrific color and black and white archival photographs.  Those are complemented by very good and useful new color photos with detailed captions, so the book is great fun to look at as well as read--definitely a keeper.

IH Experimental and Prototype Tractors.  Guy Fay, 1997.

A great selection of archival photographs and interesting text about the development of IH tractors and crawlers, plus some miscellaneous engines and equipment.  Wonderful photo of a prototype Super MTA on the cover.

Original Farmall Hundred Series 1954-1958.  Guy Fay and Andy Kraushaar, 2003.

A companion to the author's Farmall Letter Series Tractors, above, featuring the Cub and Hundred Series tractors from the 100 through 650.


Farmall Tractors in the 1950s.  Guy Fay, 2000.

A small book, only 96 pages, but very good.  Guy Fay is a serious researcher who's done much to find, preserve, and document archival material from International Harvester's long run, and this book is a neat summary of Farmall history from 1950 through 1960.  Full-color original photographs on practically every page illustrate the interesting and well-written text.

Farmall Model M Photo Archive.  Peter Letourneau, 1994.

About two pages of text and more than a hundred full-page black and white photos and photo-quality renderings from International Harvester Company archives, showing the M and MD in the factory studio and in the field, with a wide variety of implements and attachments.  Good reference for how these machines looked and functioned when they were new.

Farmall Super Series Photo Archive.  Peter Letourneau, 1996.

Same concept as the Farmall M archive (left), but covering the Super A, Super C, Super H, Super M, and Super MTA.

The Big Book of Farmall Tractors Robert Pripps and Andrew Morland, 2003.

Author Robert Pripps and photographer Andrew Morland have collaborated on quite a few good books about old tractors, so I expect this one to be a good general overview of the Farmalls, from the original of the 1920s through the end of the line 50 years later.  If you're deep into Farmall details you might find more of what you're looking for in some of the other books on this page, but if you're looking for a great overall coffee-table book on the classic red row-crop tractors, I bet this would be a keeper.  I'll post more details after I've read it.

Farmall Tractors.  Robert Pripps and Andrew Morland, 2003.

Good photos, brief but decent text, no coverage of the standard-tread Internationals.  Available separately, or combined with the authors' Ford and John Deere books into Great American Farm Tractors.

150 Years of International Harvester.  C.H. Wendel, 1993.
150 Years of IH

Very brief text and b/w photos of all IH products, from tractors to trucks to implements to refrigerators.  Not much detail on any of them, of course, but a great retrospective catalog of International Harvester's many products.  A paperback version was published in 2004.  Both are out of print now, but copies are often available from's associated booksellers or other sources.

A Corporate Tragedy:  The Agony of International Harvester Company.  Barbara Marsh, 1985.

 A case study of how a giant corporation ran itself out of business despite having built some amazingly successful products.   No nuts and bolts about any particular piece of equipment, and the cover drawing of an M-like tractor isn't even particularly accurate, but the accounts of the various senior executives and the decisions they made over the years are very interesting.  The sobering part is the realization that the problems that felled IH are just run-of-the-mill business management problems, although the scale is pretty large and they played out over many years.  But the basics are very simple, especially in hindsight, so it's sobering to think that all these smart, hard-working, high-powered folks couldn't see them or effectively deal with them at the time.  Food for thought, for anyone in business.  The book is out of print but the folks at Binder Books aranged for a limited reprint, available via their website or by phone at (503) 684-2024.


Thanks for visiting!  E-mail me at if you have any comments--I'm always glad to talk tractors and such. --Dean Vinson
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