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June 2010 Archive for Your Favorite Tractor

RSS By: Your Favorite Tractor, Farm Journal

Here’s your chance to share a photo of your favorite tractor.

Tractor Tales: An Iron Giant

Jun 16, 2010

This Tractor Tales features an iron giant. Here's a 1955 Caterpillar D-8 that was designed to move a few pounds of, well, just about anything. This model was manufactured in Peoria, Ill. from 1941 until 1974.

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Tractor Trendsetters: International 656 Hydrostatic Drive

Jun 09, 2010

Written by Larry Gay

Through the years, tractor manufacturers kept expanding the number of forward speeds for farm tractors to enable the farmer to select a more optimum speed for the operation being performed. By the mid-1960s, many tractors provided 12 forward speeds and some as many as 16 or 18. Then in the summer of 1967, International Harvester introduced a hydrostatic drive for its 656 tractor which provided an infinite number of forward speeds between 0 and 20 mph. The 656 was also built with a gear-type transmission, so the hydrostatic version was labeled with the word “Hydro” on each side of the hood.

The hydrostatic drive used a piston-type hydraulic pump, which was driven by the tractor’s engine, to pump oil to the piston-type hydraulic motor. The hydraulic motor was connected to the input shaft of a 2-speed transmission which provided forward speeds between 0 and 8 mph in the low range and 0 and 20 mph in the high range. A single lever on the left side of the dash was used to control the volume of oil being pumped which in turn controlled the speed of the tractor. Moving the lever farther forward increased the forward speed and pulling the lever back from its neutral position provided speeds up to 9 mph in reverse.

The 656 Hydro tractor did not have a clutch, but a foot pedal was provided to assist the operator when hitching to implements and could be used for emergency stops. The customary two brake pedals were provided for turning and could also be used to stop the tractor. The hydrostatic drive was very convenient for loader work as it eliminated the need for clutching and shifting gears as the tractor moved forward and backward. It also enabled the operator to maintain the exact desired speed for planting and applying chemicals. PTO work was easier because the travel speed could be easily adjusted to match the crop conditions.

The 656 Hydro was available in the Farmall (row crop) and International (utility) configurations.

It was powered by an International 6-cylinder, 263-cubic-inch gasoline engine or a 6-cylinder, 281-cubic-inch diesel engine. Both versions produced about 66 PTO horsepower during their Nebraska tests.

By 1970 International Harvester had four models of farm tractors with a hydrostatic drive -- the 544 Hydro, the 656 Hydro, the 826 Hydro, and the 1026 Hydro. Today hydrostatic transmissions are popular for lawn tractors and compact tractors and the New Holland TV145 bi-directional tractor is equipped with a hydrostatic transmission.

Larry Gay is the author of four farm tractor books and the “Machinery Milestones” articles in Heritage Iron magazine. To learn more about this magazine which focuses on the 1960-1985 era, go to or call 1-800-552-6085.   

1954 Farmall Super M

Jun 08, 2010

This tractor was featured for the month of June in the 2010 Classic Farm Tractor Calendar.

Like being inside a time capsule, Max Armstrong on his classic Super M, retraces the assembly line in the famous Famall Plant in Rock Island, Ill., where this IH tractor and many more were born. Life-like wall murals mirrored various models made here. The Farmall M was upgraded to a Super M with a 1/8 in. larger cylinder bore and aluminum pistons to increase horsepower. The Super M was built only in 1952-1954. This picture was taken in December 2007 before the historic factory was demolished. At one time there were more than a dozen murals of the Farmall tractors that were built there. 

1954 SuperM

Owner: Max Armstrong

Naperville, Illinois

Max, an enthusiastic tractor fan, also has a Super H. He and Orion Samuelson host “This Week in Agribusiness” and are heard daily on Chicago radio WGN. Orion’s family F-20 was a miraculous restoration by I&I Club members.

The world-famous Classic Farm Tractor Calendar from Classic Tractor Fever is in its 21st year of publication with the 2010 calendar available now. They have calendars, videos, books, and much, much, more. Click here to visit their online shop.


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