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Look through the five hundred photos in this book and be amazed at how such a simple vehicle has developed over the last hundred years. Early petrol tractors were cumbersome and heavy, the makers assumed that they would replace the cumbersome and heavy steam tractors, they should have done some market research (probably unheard of at the turn of the last century) because farmers wanted small vehicles and it took until 1912 before they got what they wanted. The machines slowly evolved to suit agricultural needs, getting more and more powerful (and once again heavier) until today when the agri business uses huge diesel units with twelve tires (to spread the weight) strangely it was not until the 70s that the makers thought the driver might like a cab to protect him from the elements.

This paperback (at amazing value for the price) covers the history of the American tractor with excellent colour pictures of the various makes. The photos are mostly three-quarter or side views of the complete unit, with many close-ups of a logo or engine, they all have technically detailed captions. I thought the quality of the photos was very impressive which was the main reason I bought the book. The older models are covered by contemporary photos rather than illustrations from period ads, these machines have all been carefully restored to 'like new' by collectors.

Between the pages showing historical development there are plenty of spreads called 'Classic Profile' where famous models are covered in more photographic and spec detail. My favorite is the Raymond Lowey designed 1947 Farmall H from International Harvester. Was it the world's first streamlined tractor? It must have got something right because IH shifted 390,317 units at $962 each. If you want some good historical visual reference to tractors get this well designed and printed paperback, at a bargain price too.
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