Massey Ferguson

Massey Ferguson Limited is an American agricultural machinery manufacturer. The company was established in 1953 through the merger of farm equipment makers Massey-Harris of Canada and the Ferguson Company of the United Kingdom. It was based in Brantford, Ontario, until 1988. The company transferred its headquarters in 1997 to Buffalo, New York, U.S. before it was acquired by AGCO, the new owner of its former competitor Allis-Chalmers. Massey Ferguson is among several brands in a portfolio produced and marketed by American industrial agricultural equipment conglomerate AGCO and a major seller in international markets around the world.

Massey Ferguson Limited
IndustryAgricultural machinery
Founded1953 (as Massey-Harris-Ferguson; shortened to Massey Ferguson in 1958)
HeadquartersDuluth, Georgia, United States
Area served
Combine harvesters
Forage harvesters
Grape Harvesters
Sugarcane harvesters
Front loaderss
Hay rake
Plough tools
Telescopic handlers
Massey Ferguson 8740 S in Austria


Massey Manufacturing Co.Edit

In 1847, Daniel Massey established the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory in what is now Newcastle, Clarington, Ontario, Canada.[1] The company made some of the world's first mechanical threshers, at first by assembling parts from the United States, but eventually designing and building its own equipment. Daniel Massey's son, Hart Massey, subsequently renamed the enterprise as the Massey Manufacturing Co. In 1879, the company moved to Toronto,[2] where it soon became one of the city's leading employers. The huge complex of factories, consisting of a 4.4-hectare (11-acre) site with plant and head office at 915 King Street West (now part of Liberty Village), became one of the best-known features of the city. The company expanded further and began to sell its products internationally.[2] Through extensive advertising campaigns, it became one of the most well-known brands in Canada. A labor shortage throughout the country also helped to make the firm's mechanized equipment very attractive.

Massey-Harris LimitedEdit

Massey-Harris logo, c. 1952
Share of Massey-Harris Limited, issued February 18, 1916

In 1891, the Massey Manufacturing Co. merged with A. Harris, Son and Company to form Massey-Harris Limited,[1][3] which became the largest agricultural equipment maker in the British Empire. Massey-Harris made threshing machines and reapers, as well as safety bicycles, introducing a shaft-driven model in 1898.[4] In 1910, Massey-Harris acquired the Johnston Harvester Company of Batavia, New York, making it one of Canada's first multinational firms.[1]

The company's early tractor models included the 20 horsepower Massey-Harris GP 15/22 (1930–36),[5] 25 horsepower 'Massey-Harris Pacemaker' (1936–1939),[6] 35 horsepower Model 101 (1938–1942),[7] Massey-Harris Pony, Model 20, Model 81, and Model 744.

Grain harvesting was revolutionized by Massey engineer Tom Carroll in 1938, with the world's first affordable, mass produced, self-propelled combine— the No. 20. It was too heavy and expensive for extensive mass production, but served as a guide for the design of the lighter and less costly No. 21 which was tested in 1940, and put on sale in 1941. The Massey-Harris No. 21 Combine was commemorated with a Canada Post stamp on June 8, 1996.[8] E.P. Taylor, one of C.D. Howe's dollar-a-year men, joined the board of directors in 1942, and Eric Phillips joined management in 1946.

The final generation of Massey-Harris tractors, introduced immediately after World War II, included the 25-horsepower M-H 22 series,[9] the 35 horsepower M-H 33 series,[10] the 45 horsepower M-H 44 series[11] and the 55 horsepower M-H 55 series.[12] In 1952, the M-H 22 was replaced by the M-H 23 Mustang. In 1955, the 30-horsepower Massey-Harris 50 was introduced after the merger that created Massey-Harris-Ferguson. It was based on the Ferguson TO-35 and was also produced as the F-40 for Ferguson dealers. The MH-50 was available in several configurations: utility, high-crop utility, or row-crop with a choice of single, tricycle, or wide adjustable front ends. In 1956, the M-H 33 was replaced by the MH 333, while the M-H 44 was replaced by the M-H 444 and the M-H 55 was replaced by the M-H 555. These tractors were commonly known as the "triple series" and were mechanically similar to their predecessors, but featured new styling that included a slightly different hood design, chrome trim on the grill and hood, and a different color scheme. They were also available with power steering, live power take-off (PTO) and hydraulics. The Massey Harris triple series tractors remained in production until 1958.


In a complex turn of events, the Massey family turned to steam engine builder L.D. Sawyer & Company of Hamilton, Ontario, and started a line of steam tractors. These engines were quite successful and were built in a number of sizes. The 25 horsepower was popular, and the expanding Prairie provinces clamored for big breaking engines. Massey also experimented with tandem compound engines. Sawyer Massey lasted only until 1910, when the firm was wound down, and Massey went into oil-fired internal combustion engines. Sawyer-Massey and Massey-Harris were two separate companies, both managed by the Massey family.

Wallis Gas Tractor and wider influenceEdit

A 1928 Wallis

Massey began experimenting with oil engines about 1910, with engines such as the Bulldog. However, success came only later in the 1920s with the Wallis line of tractors which was purchased by the firm.

In the 1930s, it introduced the first self-propelled combine harvester.[1] Massey Harris also produced one of the world's first four-wheel drive tractors. Hart Massey's sons Charles, Walter, Chester and Fred became closely involved in the business and eventually took over its operations. They were the last generation of Masseys to run Massey-Harris. Other members of the family went on to other accomplishments: Vincent Massey became Governor General of Canada and Raymond Massey became a noted actor in American films. The Massey family used its fortune to improve the city of Toronto and many institutions, such as the University of Guelph, University of Toronto, Upper Canada College, Crescent School, Appleby College, Massey Hall and Metropolitan United Church, were partially financed by the Masseys.

Military contractsEdit

During and after World War II, Massey Harris undertook a number of contracts to produce tractors, tanks and self-propelled artillery vehicles for the United States Armed Forces.[1] Vehicles produced by Massey Harris include the following:

A standard-tread[15] 1948 Massey-Harris Model 20


In 1953, Massey-Harris merged with the Ferguson Company to become Massey-Harris-Ferguson, before finally taking on its current name in 1958.[1]

Massey FergusonEdit

The name was shortened to Massey Ferguson in 1958. They tried to consolidate the two dealer networks and product lines. Its television and radio advertising featured an upbeat jingle with a male chorus singing, "He's a get-up-early, keep-'em-rollin, Massey-Ferguson kind of a man." Nevertheless, the company soon began to decline financially after facing increasing international competition in the 1960s, when the firm began to struggle.

Hanomag-Cura, ArgentinaEdit

In 1971, Massey purchased the local facilities of Rheinstahl Hanomag-Cura in Argentina, which had been established in 1960. The production of tractors and other agricultural implements, during until 1999. Some model numbers made in Argentina included 65R/250/252, 155, 150, 5160 S-2 / S-4, 5140 / 5140–4, 265, 255, 250, 250 S "viñatero", 8500 and 9500.

Other model numbers included 1075, 1078, 1095h, 1098, 1175 / 1175 S, 1185 / 1185 S, 1195 L / 1195 S-2/S-4, 1215 S-2 / S-4, 1340 S-2/S-4, 1360 S2/S4, 1615 L / S 1615 L, 1640, 1650, 1670, 1690, 1465, 1475 "Super alto", 1485, 1499 SX / 1499 L.

Sunshine, AustraliaEdit

In 1955, Massey purchased the Australian manufacturers of Sunshine harvesters, H.V. McKay Pty Limited. Hugh Victor McKay had invented the combine harvester in 1884, the first machine to combine the functions of reaping, threshing and winnowing grain from a standing crop. By the 1920s, H.V. McKay Pty Ltd was running the largest implement factory in the southern hemisphere, covering 30.4 hectares (75 acres), and led the international agricultural industry through the development of the world's first self-propelled harvester in 1924.

In 1930, the H.V. McKay Pty Limited was granted exclusive Australian distribution of Massey-Harris machinery. The company was then renamed H.V. McKay Massey Harris Pty Ltd. Throughout World War II, H.V. McKay Massey Harris exported over 20,000 Sunshine drills, disc harrows and binders to England to facilitate the increase in food production.

In 1955, the remainder of H.V. McKay Pty Ltd was sold to Massey Ferguson. Manufacturing ended in 1986, and the last section was sold off and demolished in 1992. The former bulk store, factory gates and clock tower, the pedestrian footbridge, factory gardens, and head office complex still exist and are all listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.[16]


In 1959, Massey bought 100% of Landini, based in Italy. Landini has built many models for Massey over the years, especially vineyard and crawler models. Massey sold 66% to ARGO SpA in 1989, some to Iseki later on, and the final portion was sold to ARGO in 2000.


In 1959, Perkins Engines from Peterborough, England was purchased. Perkins have been the main Diesel engine supplier for Massey Ferguson for many years.[1] In 1990, Massey Ferguson took over Dorman Diesels of Stafford and merged it with Perkins to form Perkins Engines (Stafford) Ltd. In the 1980s, Perkins purchased Rolls Royce (Diesels) Ltd, to form Perkins Engines (Shrewsbury) Ltd. In 1998, Perkins was sold off by then-owner LucasVarity to Caterpillar Inc., who were a major customer for their smaller and mid-sized engines; Caterpillar was a major producer of large Diesel engines for stationary and mobile application.[17]

Ebro of SpainEdit

In 1966, Massey purchased 32% of the Spanish tractor and auto company Ebro, or Motor Iberica. Ebro had previously built Ford tractors under license, but now began building models for Massey, and Massey models under license. Massey sold its interest to Nissan in the 1980s.[18]

In the early 1960s, Massey Ferguson moved their head office from 915 King Street to the Sun Life Tower at 200 University Avenue in the Downtown Toronto.

In 1969, Massey Ferguson began producing a line of snowmobiles under the name 'Ski Whiz'. The snowmobile line was discontinued in 1977, due to a decline in sales.

Activities in GermanyEdit

In 1973, Massey purchased German Eicher tractor and many Massey-licensed Eichers were built. They later sold their interest and Dromson now owns Eicher which now builds specialized tractors for vineyards and such.

The firm then purchased control of Hanomag in 1974. After a loss of $250 million over the next five years, Hanomag was sold off.[19]

Conrad Black take-overEdit

A Massey Ferguson MF 3660 tractor from the early 1990s

On 16 August 1978, Conrad Black, whose family had obtained control of Argus Corporation, an investor in Massey Ferguson, became active in Massey Ferguson's management.[20] The previous year, chairman Albert A. Thornbrough received a $471,000 salary, the highest executive salary in Canada at the time.[21] During the 50 years between 1929 and 1979, the firm made more than 4% profit on its sales only five times. Under Black's leadership, Massey Ferguson instituted significant cost-cutting programmes that returned it to profitability. During the late 1970s, production was relocated to a new, large facility in Brantford, Ontario. In 1978, Massey Ferguson was the first to introduce an electronic control system for the three-point hitch on a tractor.[citation needed] However, a worldwide decline in the agricultural equipment market combined with high inflation, high domestic interest rates and a major recession, caused Massey Ferguson to slip into a loss once again. On 31 October 1979, Volkswagen AG made an informal offer for 51% of the firm, but was rebuffed by Black.[22] On 23 May 1980, Black resigned as chairman. In a subsequent series of detailed and lengthy letters to Herb Gray—the then Canadian Minister of Industry under the government of Pierre Trudeau—he remarked on the challenges faced by the firm, and outlined his solution, which would have seen the Canadian and Ontario governments as well as Argus Corporation refloat the ailing firm. Black failed to obtain a suitable response, and resolved to cut his losses.[23]

Renamed to VarityEdit

In October 1980, Argus donated its shares in Massey Ferguson to the employee's pension plans, leading the way to a $250 million bail-out from the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario for the collapsing business, which later was renamed Varity Corporation. In the mid-1980s, Varity spun off several money-losing divisions into an entity called Massey Combines Corporation in 1985. Massey Combines Corporation was headquartered in Brantford and became insolvent on 4 March 1988,[24] and its assets were re-acquired by Massey Ferguson.

Fermec saleEdit

Massey Ferguson 6490 from the mid-2000s

In 1992, a management buyout of MF Industrial created Fermec, which finally ceased trading in 2001 when it was taken over by the Terex Corporation, formerly a unit of General Motors. This encompassed all construction equipment from Massey. It was then purchased by Case Corporation in 1997.[25]

Varity left Toronto and relocated to their head offices to the Williams-Butler House at 672 Delaware Avenue in the Millionaire Row area of Buffalo, New York. The Toronto manufacturing complex has since been demolished, leaving only its head office building.

Despite its hardships, Massey Ferguson was selling 25% more tractors than its nearest competitors at this time. In 1995, Massey Ferguson's worldwide holdings were purchased by the United States-based AGCO Corporation. In August 1996, Varity merged with Lucas Automotive to become LucasVarity.

After a series of mergers and takeovers, the remains of LucasVarity were acquired by the United States company TRW. Since 1962, Massey Ferguson has been the world's leading tractor brand.[citation needed] Currently, there are more Massey Ferguson tractors than any other in the world.[citation needed]


In June 2012, the facility in Jackson, Minnesota, was expanded to start building Massey Ferguson and comparable AGCO "Challenger" models for the North American market. Since production commenced at AGCO Jackson, the facility has produced "7600" series and "8600" series Massey Ferguson tractors for the North American market. Currently, in production at the Jackson facility are the recently released 7700S and 8700S series Massey Ferguson tractors.[26]

In January 2020, AGCO made the announcement that will make an expansion of its Beauvais factory in France.With this expansion, the factory will cover a total area of 54ha and employ up to 2,500 people. This will enable the full design, build, testing and manufacture of new Massey-Ferguson models in the Beauvais factory.[27]


A Massey Ferguson 35

Massey Ferguson developed a wide range of agricultural vehicles and have a large share in the market across the world especially in Europe. In December 1957, the MF35 which was the first Massey Ferguson branded tractor rolled off the factory floor. It was a Ferguson design that started its life in 1955 as the Ferguson 35, often nicknamed "Gold Belly" due to the gold engine and gearbox. The 35s were massively popular and sold across the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and the United States. These were followed by other early models like the 65 (MK1 indirect injection) 65 (MK2 direct injection).

The next big selling model was the MF135 which became widely popular because of its reliability and power compared to other tractors at the time.[citation needed] This was the first model in the MF 100 series. These included the MF 130, 133, 135, 145, 148, 150, 158, 165, 168, 175, 178, 180, 185 and 188.The same time the MF 100 series came out, the MF 1000 series was introduced. These include the MF 1080, 1100, 1130 and 1150. Later came the MF 550, 560, 565, 575, 590, 595 (500 series). From the mid-1970s and early 1980s came the 200 series tractor, which included the MF 230, 235, 240, 245, 250, 255, 260, 265, 270, 275, 278, 280, 285, 290, 298, 299.

In the mid-1980s, the short-lived 600 series was released. This included the 675, 690, 690T, 695, 698 and 699. The reason behind poor sales figures was due to unattractive styling and poor ergonomics, with the cab sitting much higher than previous MF tractors. Although the cab did give excellent visibility and a flat floor, being high off the ground meant it was best suited to field operations instead of livestock work. The 600 series was one of the first tractors to offer the user an option to control where the hydraulic fluid should be pumped. By moving a switch situated near the floor of the cab, the user could block off flow to the rear hydraulics and link arms, concentrating the full force of the pump on the front loader if equipped. In the late 1980s, one of the greatest selling tractors of all time was released- the 300 series Massey Ferguson. Excellent power, simplicity of cab, high range of gears and components made the MF 300 series a success especially in Europe. The range included the MF 340, 350, 352, 355, 362, 365, 372, 375, 382, 383, 390, 390T, 393, 394, 395, 398, 399 and 399T (the most powerful and popular Massey Ferguson 399) with horsepower ranging from 45HP to 104HP. The 300 series was also offered with a choice of cab, Hi-Line or Lo-Line. The Hi-Line cab featured a flat floor whilst the Lo-Line cab had a hump in the middle for the transmission tunnel. Some 'original' examples of the lower horsepower 300-series have been known to fetch prices exceeding £20,000 because of their rarity.

Massey Ferguson MF 6290 tractor towing a grain trailer

In the mid-1990s, the 6100 series and 8100 series were released including the 6150, 6180 and 8130.

Tractors that came after the 300 series included the 4200 range, the 4300 range, 3600 (early 1990s), 3000/3100 (early to mid-1990s), 3005/3105 (mid-1990s), 6100 (late 1990s), 6200 (late 1990s/early 2000s (decade)), 8200 (late 1990s/early 2000s), 5400, 6400, 7400, 8400 (2004-2007), 5600, 6600, 7600, 8600 (2009 to 2014), 5700, 6700, 7700, 8700, (2014-2018), 3700, 4700, 5700, 6700, (global series) 5700s, 6700s, 7700s, and 8700s

In the 2000s Massey Ferguson range includes the 8600 series (limited markets), 5400 (limited markets), 5700s, 6700s, 7700s, and 8700s series tractors. New generation AGCO Power engines 8700 S Series provide levels of torque and horse-power unsurpassed in conventional tractor design, from the minimum of fuel. AGCO POWER 6 cylinder 8.4 L engines generate power from 270 to 405 hp.[28](AGCO Beauvais France) Massey Ferguson tractor production factories also build tractors marketed by AGCO under the "Challenger" brand and also specific model ranges for Iseki.

In July 2020, Massey Ferguson launch the renovation of the tractor lineup starting with the 8S Series that replaces the 7700 range.[29] In 2021 more models are launched. In January the 5S Series[30] and in September the 6S Series and 7S Series. This renovation also bring a new model numbering. For example, an MF 5S.105 the "5S" stands for the series and the last three digits stands for the maximum power.[31] In 2022 Massey Ferguson presents the new compact tractor 1700M Series and the new specialized tractor 3S Series [32]

Product imagesEdit


Showroom in India

Massey Ferguson is the most widely sold brand of agricultural machinery in the world. The brand designs were licensed to a variety of companies including:

See alsoEdit

Rival manufacturers:


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Newman 1982, p. 146
  2. ^ a b Martin, Joseph E. (2017). "Titans". Canada's History. 97 (5): 47–53. ISSN 1920-9894.
  3. ^ Unofficial Massey-Harris home page Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Canada Science and Technology Museum – A New Model Every Year Archived 2010-05-09 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  5. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris GP 15/22 tractor information".
  6. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris Pacemaker tractor information".
  7. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris 101 Super tractor information".
  8. ^ Massey-Harris No. 21 Combine commemorative stamp bulletin
  9. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris 23 Mustang tractor information".
  10. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris 333 tractor information".
  11. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris 44 Special tractor information".
  12. ^ Easterlund, Peter. " Massey-Harris 55 tractor information".
  13. ^ "M5 Stuart". Tanks Encyclopedia. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  14. ^ "M41 155mm Howitzer Motor Carriage". Military History Encyclopedia of the Web. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  15. ^ Pripps, Robert N. The Big Book of Farm Tractors (Vancouver, BC: Raincoast Books, 2001), p. 104.
  16. ^ Victorian Heritage Database Report: Massey Ferguson Complex
  17. ^ The Massey Legacy, by John Farnworth, ISBN 978-0-85236-403-1
  18. ^ FOMCC. "Ford Iberica - Ebro".
  19. ^ Newman 1982, pp. 150–1
  20. ^ Newman 1982, p. 154
  21. ^ Newman 1982, p. 150
  22. ^ Newman 1982, p. 158
  23. ^ Newman 1982, pp. 160–163
  24. ^ Per MCC Employee
  25. ^ "Construction - Terex Corporation". Archived from the original on 18 November 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  26. ^ "Video Interview: Jackson Manufacturing Expansion - AGCO Blog". 3 March 2011.
  27. ^ AGCO. "AGCO will further expand in Beauvais, France and create 200 new jobs". AGCO. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Massey Ferguson 8735 Specifications". 8 March 2020.
  29. ^ "Massey Ferguson unveils radically redesigned 200hp-plus 8S tractors". Farmers Weekly. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  30. ^ Magazine, Newsroom of HeavyQuip (7 January 2021). "Massey Ferguson Introduces the New MF 5S Tractor Range". The HeavyQuip Magazine. Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  31. ^ "Massey Ferguson unveils new 6S and 7S tractor ranges". Retrieved 5 October 2021.
  32. ^ "MF 1700 M". Retrieved 6 April 2022.


External linksEdit