The history of Massey Ferguson

A Shining Beginning

Massey FergusonWhen the Massey Ferguson Company first started in 1847, it was very different from the agricultural machine giant it is known as today. In fact, its creator Daniel Massey called it the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory. The original company was named after its birthplace, Newcastle, Ontario and specialized in making some of the first mechanical threshing machines in the world. For the first thirty years of its existence, the company remained under the command of its creator. While it used imported American parts to build its machines, it remained in its hometown of Newcastle.

In 1879, company ownership was passed to Daniel’s son, Hart Massey. He moved the company to Toronto and renamed it the Massey Manufacturing Company. While his decision moved the company away from its roots, it opened up a completely new world of opportunity. Hart began to manufacture his own parts and his vast complex of factories quickly became one of Toronto’s largest employers. Over the next century, the company merged with numerous Canadian and American manufacturers, making it one of the first international firms to start in Canada. It underwent numerous name changes and, earned a reputation for manufacturing some of the best agricultural equipment in the world. In 1958, it made its final name change, and has been called Massey Ferguson ever since.

Monumental Moments

Massey FergusonWhile the name Massey Ferguson may have been settled in 1958, the company continues to grow and expand to this day. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s, MF introduced a number of new tractor designs. The new designs were intended to make agricultural equipment more accessible to farmers at all levels, from large industrial farms to small family outfits. It was not only farmers, however, who took notice of the advancements. Even Sir Edmund Hillary used modified FE 35 petrol tractors on his groundbreaking expedition to the South Pole.

The second half of the century saw many changes in both how MF was run and in the products that it manufactured. Additional holdings were acquired from countries as diverse as Australia, Italy, England and Spain. In the 1970, Canadian media mogul Conrad Black who established cost cutting measures that made it more profitable than ever bought the company. What had started as a small family operation in Newcastle, Ontario had grown into one of the largest multinational companies to manufacture agricultural products in the world. No matter how many things changed, however, MF tractors were always renowned for their high quality.

Success Through Advancement

Massey FergusonThroughout the twentieth century and into the new millennium, Massey Ferguson has led the way in creating top of the line farming equipment. Their first mass-produced tractor was the Massey Harris Ferguson TVO. Although it had a limited run and was soon replaced by the Diesel 20, it was the first in a long line of tractors that were used by farmers across North American and around the world. The MF35 was the first tractor released under the company’s new name and was notable for its extreme popularity, particularly in Europe and Australia.

Throughout their history, MF have striven not only to keep up with the latest advances, but to advance the industry itself. New safety regulations in the 1970’s introduced a required safety cab on all tractors sold in the UK. MF responded by complying with the new regulations and also introducing a new tractor with a lower center of gravity. They also introduced the first ever self-propelled, four-row corn harvester. The first decade of the new millennium saw continued advancement in machinery design. In 2005 alone, three models received top awards. The MF 8480 was named European Tractor of the Year, the MF 3400 was named Specialist Tractor of the Year and MF 7400 Dyna-VT was named Machine of the Year.

Current Tractors and Accessories

Today, MF offers a wide range of tractors and farming equipment. Tractors come at the sub-compact, compact, utility, mid-range or high-horsepower levels and it is easy to find one suited to any job. The lowest series of sub-compact tractors has a horsepower of 22.5-25 hp, while the highest series of high-horsepower tractors has a horsepower of 205-290 PTO hp. This wide range of power means than MF tractors are suitable for everything from home landscaping to industrial commercial.

Massey Ferguson also manufactures a number of accessories designed to make farming easier and more efficient.

  • Axial combines
  • Windrowers
  • Bales
  • Mowers and Rakes

increase productivity, make hay, and harvest a breeze.

  • Chisel plows
  • Grain drills and soil conditioners

are there to help out during seeding and tillage.

For non-commercial use, MF also sells lawn mowers, snow blowers and dozer blades, all designed to make yard work and landscaping easy. With more than 160 years of manufacturing behind them, it seems that Massey Ferguson is still making the most difference at home.

Article written by staff writer

February 2012

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