HARRY GEORGE FERGUSON Biography - Pioneers, Explorers & inventors


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Henry George (Harry) Ferguson (November 4, 1884 - October 25, 1960) had an                   
important role in the development of the modern agricultural tractor, and his               
name lives on in the name of the Massey Ferguson company. As a young man he                 
became the first Irishman to build and fly his own aeroplane, with the 1909                 
flight of the Ferguson monoplane, and his company later developed the first four             
wheel drive Formula One car, the Ferguson P99.                                               
He was born at Growell, near Dromore, County Down, Ireland, and was the son of a             
In 1902 Ferguson went to work with his brother Joe in his bicycle and car repair             
business. Whilst working there as a mechanic he developed an interest in                     
aviation, to the extent of visiting airshows abroad. In 1904 he began to race               
In 1909 Ferguson became the first person to fly in Ireland, when he took off on             
December 31 in a monoplane he had designed and built himself. After falling out             
with his brother over the safety and future of aviation Ferguson decided to go               
it alone, and in 1911 founded a company selling Maxwell automobile, Star and                 
Vauxhall cars and Overtime Tractors - eventually to be named Harry Ferguson                 
Ferguson saw at first hand the weakness of having tractor and plough as separate             
articulated units, and in 1917 he devised a plough which could be rigidly                   
attached to a Model T Ford car - the Eros, which became a limited success,                   
competing with the Model F Fordson.                                                         
Ferguson eventually founded the Ferguson-Sherman Inc., along with Eber and                   
George Sherman. The new enterprise developed a ploughing system that                         
incorporated a Duplex hitch system which fitted the Fordson line tractors.                   
Ferguson's new hydraulic system was first seen on the Ferguson-Brown Model A                 
tractors. Ferguson eventually made a handshake agreement with Henry Ford so that             
Ford could use Ferguson's three-point hitch system on his new line of tractors (9N,         
2N, and 8N). Henry Ford II, Ford's grandson, abruptly ended the handshake deal               
on June 30, 1947. Ferguson's reaction was a law suit demanding $251,000,000 in               
all. The disagreement was settled by Ferguson in April of 1952. A year later                 
Ferguson merged with Massey Harris to become Massey-Harris-Ferguson Co. This                 
merger eventually turned into Massey Ferguson.                                               
Ferguson's research division went on to develop various cars and tractors,                   
including the first Formula One 4 wheel drive car. See Ferguson Research Ltd.