Written By Larry Gay
The Farmall C tractor was introduced for 1948 as the replacement for the Farmall B. The Farmall C featured large diameter rear tires which were adjustable along a bar axle, a centered operator’s station located above the drive train for good visibility, a Touch-Control hydraulic system, and a 4-cylinder, 113-cubic-inch International gasoline engine. For 1951, the Farmall C was replaced by the Farmall Super C with a similar configuration, but with a 123-cubic-inch engine for a 19 percent increase in belt horsepower. The Farmall Super C became unique in 1953 when it was equipped with the Fast-Hitch.
International Harvester held an introduction meeting for new products during June and July 1953 in which the feature product was the Farmall Super C tractor with the Fast-Hitch. Twenty-five Super C tractors were driven into the show arena and each was equipped with a different Fast-Hitch Implement. A square dance was used to demonstrate the automatic hitching of the Fast-Hitch. Four Super C tractors were the gentlemen for the dance and four Fast-Hitch implements were the ladies. During the dance, the couples swung around the arena and exchanged partners to illustrate the ease of hitching and unhitching without the operator leaving the tractor seat. The tractor and implement square dance was a popular feature at the IH state fair exhibits for several years.
The Fast-Hitch consisted of a yoke at the rear of the tractor with two flared sockets which could be raised or lowered hydraulically. The Fast-Hitch implements were equipped with two tapered beams which engaged the sockets. After the beams, which had a notch in their upper surface, were in position in the sockets, spring loaded latches snapped into the notches, making a rigid connection. To detach the implement, the operator lowered it to the ground, lifted the latches, and drove away.
The front of the Fast-Hitch yoke extended under the tractor and was connected to a Touch-Control power arm which raised or lowered it to change the location of the draft point. The left side of the hitch was connected to another Touch-Control power arm which was used to tilt or level the implements. A hydraulic cylinder located at the rear of the tractor raised and lowered the implements.
International Harvester did not license any other tractor company to use this system. Some people believe if Harvester had licensed other companies to use the system, the 2-point Fast-Hitch system would have become the industry standard instead of the 3-point hitch.
Larry Gay is the author of four tractor books published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, including Farm Tractors 1975-1995 and Farm Tractors 1995-2005. The four books may be obtained from ASABE by calling 800-695-2723.