The History of New Holland Tractors

Posted by Robert Piesz on


Ford is one of the most popular names when it comes to the tractor industry. The Ford 3000, 4600, 7610, and 4000 models are famous all over the world. The Ford Motor Company was one of the first companies to come up with affordable trucks that helped people in agriculture. But Ford has a history that dates back to 1895.

The original company was called the New Holland Machine Company. Founded in 1895, this company from New Holland, Pennsylvania, went into the hands of another company called Sperry in 1947. Later, Ford Motor Company took over the company in 1986, followed by Fiat in 1991.

Historic moments of New Holland

The history of New Holland is the integration of four world-famous brands: Fiat Trattori, New Holland, Claeys, and Ford. Abe Zimmerman founded New Holland in 1895. At that time, New Holland was into making agricultural products. Zimmerman wanted to help the farming community around him and that's how he thought of the idea of producing agricultural products to help them.

The company had to change its name to Sperry New Holland in 1947 after Sperry Rand Corporation took over the company. That same year, Sperry New Holland came up with an innovative hay harvesting technology that they implemented in a machine called the haybine mower conditioner. Later in 1964, Sperry New Holland also bought the majority of the shares in Claeys.

Leon Claeys, a Belgian mechanic founded Claeys in 1906. This company was into building threshing machines. Leon decided to build a new factory in Zedelgem. This factory still exists and produces harvesting products of New Holland. The merger became so successful that Claeys became one of the biggest manufacturers of harvesting products by 1960.

Introduction of new technology

Sperry New Holland had one thing in mind: to make agricultural work easier for farmers. With this mission in their heart, they came up with the first twin-rotor combination, a technology that the agricultural industry still uses today. But in 1986, Ford took over Sperry New Holland and renamed the company to Ford New Holland Inc.

This acquisition made sense because Ford already had a long history in producing agricultural machines. In fact, it was the first company to produce the gasoline-powered tractor way back in 1907. They named the tractor Fordson Model F and sold it under the company name Henry Ford & Son Company. They were also the first company to introduce the three-point hitch series, one of the most widely popular tractor models in 1939.

Ford was already a major player in the tractor-manufacturing business in the 1980s. They constantly came up with new technologies in their tractors, such as rubber pneumatic tires, three-point hitch, diesel engines, and power hydraulics. 1991 was a crucial year for both Ford New Holland and Fiat as the latter bought 80% of the shares of Ford New Holland. Fiat, like Ford and New Holland, was also into making agricultural machines.

Fiat launched its first tractor called Fiat Model 702 in 1918. Although Ford was the first to introduce the gasoline-powered tractor, Fiat was the one to produce the first agricultural tractor. Senator Giovanni Agnelli, the founder of Fiat, wanted his tractors to play a major role in Italy's agricultural industry. The company kept growing as its demand for tractors increased over the years.

After the acquisition of Ford New Holland, New Holland became a full-line producer of agricultural machines. Under Fiat's ownership, Case Corporation merged with New Holland NV in 1999. But the antitrust policies forced New Holland to shift its tractor plant to Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada.

After the acquisition in 1993, the joint venture between Mexican Quimmco Group and Ford Motor Company got transferred to New Holland Company. There was again a name change and now it was called CNH de México.

Market presence

As already mentioned, New Holland is famous all over the world. It is present in 170 countries with its headquarters in New Holland, Pennsylvania. Its 22 manufacturing plants are spread in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America.

With such a magnificent and proud history, it is understandable why New Holland is a name that everyone respects in the agricultural industry. Although it went through several acquisitions, its primary aim still remains the same: to help farmers with their agricultural work.

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