Sunday, 26 April 2009

Found in the Hedge

The tractor is a Massey Ferguson Te 35, with the four cylinder Standard petrol (gasoline) engine.
Harry Ferguson was born in 1884, in Ireland, he was always interested in things mechanical, in 1909, when he was seventeen years old, he persuaded his brother to join him in building an aeroplane. Only six years after the Wright brothers made their first flight in an ungainly biplane, Harry Ferguson made his first flight in a monoplane he designed and built.
In 1911, he opened his garage, May Street Motors, amongst the things he sold were tractors, he designed a new plough...
In a few years he was hard at work on another problem. Ploughs which hit rocks in the earth tended to cause the tractor to rear-up, and tip, injuries and deaths were a common result. Harry figured out a new way of attaching implements, which meant that an obstacle would no longer result in the front wheels lifting, rather, they would press down. The Ferguson three-point linkage gradually became a standard on all agricultural equipment, it still is the concept behind modern machinery.

Harry designed his own tractor, which he manufactured in north America in Dearborn, in partnership with Ford. The partnership ended in acrimony, when Henry Ford II abruptly reneged on his father's handshake gentleman's agreement with Harry. Harry sued Ford for $251 million, and won. The court settlement left Harry in a position to build another factory in Detroit, and compete with Ford, and at the Standard works in Coventry, England, he built the "Little Grey Fergie", which was so popular across the world that ford called it "The Grey Menace". Slightly modified Fergies transported Sir Edmund Hillary's expedition to the south pole.
The company bought Massey, a competitor, and the grey Fergie mutated into the Massey Ferguson 35.
This one will be from about 1962. I remember the old chap who had the farm driving it up the village street. In the mid eighties, I used to buy milk from him, there was a sigh by the roadside, and I had my pottery a hundred yards away, so I'd go buy a pint of milk fresh from the farm. Sometime in the early nineties, he was taken ill, had to cease farming, and his tractor has been there, where he left it on his last night, ever since.
I'd be tempted to try find his sons and buy it, but I have enough toys already. The plough is still on it... I bet it would not take too much effort to get it going again.

As an aside, it was Harry who inadvertently created plastic model kits, of the sort that I spent so many years as a kid, glueing and painting.
"In the late 1940s Airfix was approached by Harry Ferguson (the tractor manufacturer) to make a cheap model of one of his tractors that could be used by his sales team as a promotional tool. At first there were problems making the model, so it was decided to make it in a series of parts then to be assembled by a team of skilled workers.
This ready-built tractor proved to be popular and Ferguson allowed Airfix to produce them as toys and sell them under the Airfix name. It soon became obvious that more tractors could be sold if they were cheaper, and to achieve this they sold the kits unmade with instructions. This proved to be successful and shortly after Woolworths approached Airfix suggesting that by using a more stable polystyrene plastic and poly bags with a card header, it would meet the Woolworths retail price of 2 shillings. The small scale Golden Hind was launched in 1952. Woolworths buyers than began to ask for more subjects, then soon after Airfix began to produced a wider range of polybagged model kits – the all famous Spitfire model appearing from 1953." From the Airfix Kits website.

More info from Wikipedia.

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  1. oooooooo! ahhhhhhhhhh!
    tractor porn.
    oh yeah !!


  2. I guess that's the problem being one of the first two people to ever stand on top of the world. No one notices when you reach the South Pole. I had no idea!

    Say, I just realized that Blogger ate a comment of mine from a week or so ago. You asked how much carbide shrinks. We press our rod blanks in rectangular molds with half-round punches so you end up with a cylinder with a band running down each side. Makes a hell of a racket when you feed the parts into a centerless grinder for the first time! Most of our tooling has a shrink factor of about 23 percent. At 21 percent we get press cracks in the parts and the carbide punch tips start breaking. At 25 percent, we get porosity and an assortment of other metallurgical problems. The reason for the large shrink factor is that tungsten carbide is to hard to deform during compaction (obviously) and there isn't enough cobalt (usually 6 to 8 percent by weight) to stick everything together. We use a ton of wax as a binder (about 2.44 percent by weight, much more by volume). We have to ramp the furnaces up very slowly to allow the wax time to evaporate out without bursting the part. The wax condenses on the (relatively) cool furnace walls and runs into a collection pot. Once sintering temperature is reached (usually 1440 degrees centigrade) the valve to the pot closes and 800 PSI of argon is introduced into the furnace chamber. That further densifies the parts. It's a pretty cool process, at least for the first 10 million parts or so. it gets a bit boring after that.

    Hiya Soub!

  3. oh nostalgia i hear you calling... my second summer job in louisville was at my poet friend's dead father's golf club. he wasn't dead then and hated me because i had long hair among other reasons. my job was to mow the roughs on the golf course with a massey ferguson just like the one pictured. the favored employee at the time mowed the fairways with a new massey ferguson. unfortunately, my massey(the one i used) was an oil burner and my friend's dad kept asking me to start earlier so as to be out of the way of golfers. he asked me to start coming in at 6 but the mechanic didn't come in til 8 and his shop was locked until then... you can see where this is going, i had to mow 2 hours and head back for oil every day at 8 but inevitably i didn't get back on time one day and as i approached to mechanic's shed the ole massey locked up tighter than a bull's ass at flytime. needless to say, any hope i had for my friend's father's eventual softening toward me died that day with his tractor.

  4. RDM, Tractor Porn indeed. I may yet post some thrilling pics of heavily greased, hot, throbbing, urgent, puissant, smoking, rumbling dirty, diesel, TRACTORS!

  5. Dave Oh goody, I was awaiting your reply, most excitedly.. in my pottery making, the highesr temps I get to ever are around 1320 degrees celsius. 1440 degrees at 800 psi, and gas-tight is mind beboggling. How the hell do you seal anything that hot?
    I'm flamjumbered and pogwistled.

  6. Jim, you had me laughing there... I can just see it. Mind you, I don't think anywhere in the world "long haired student" and "golf-club" go together any better than precision gears and a bucket of sand.
    I absolve you completely of any remaining feelings of guilt. Ego te absolvo.
    The fault lay with the cheapskate not having the tractor's addiction to oil investigated and fixed, and with the mechanic for not leaving a drum of oil accessible.

    Trailing a plume of black stinky smoke around a golf course is a fine and laudable thing to do, golf courses are despoilers of the landscape. Golfer wear silly clothes and mumble about birdies, par, and mashie niblicks, and spend huge sums of money on titanium tools to punish a tiny ball. The only thing golf has going for it is that unlike most games, the worse you are at it, the more chances you get to hit the ball.
    I've overheated a Landrover engine to the point of seizing, I was pulling a heavily loaded trailer up a hill with a gradient of 1 in 4, and a radiator clogged with mud. It steamed for a while, ummm. then stopped steaming. I think the word is "empty". I didn't dare stop, soi had to continue up, and pulled off the track at the top of the hill, As soon as I let my foot up, the engine stopped, would not turn over on the starter.
    I thought it would be dead, for sure. Decided to go sit on a tree stump and look at the view whilst swearing...
    After about an hour, when the block was cool enough to touch, I poured some water in, filled it right back up, tried the starter.... Magic! it went!
    Oil and filter change as soon as I got home, and the same engine's still sweet 15 years later.


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