The Story of a Great British Tractor Manufacturer
When it comes to tractor manufacturers from the past certain names are conjured up instantly by tractor enthusiasts. Some would point towards Fiat and the Fiatagri 90 Series, others would consider Ford and Fordson as seminal vintage machines. When it comes to a truly great tractor manufacturer from the United Kingdom, the name on everybody's lips will be the same... David Brown.
Here is a brief potted history of the greatest Great British tractor manufacturer of all time.
The story began in 1936 when David Brown from Huddersfield teamed up with Harry Ferguson to design the Ferguson-Brown tractor. It was the world's first tractor to feature a hydraulic lift and 3-point linkage - soon to become a mainstay of tractors all over the world.
Ferguson split from Brown to work with Ford in the US, leaving David Brown to devise the first fully fledged 'David Brown' tractor - the VAK1 in 1939. The machine was highly regarded. Production was halted by the onset of the Second World War but after the war ended production at the company's plant in Meltham, Yorkshire resumed and David Brown tractors earned a reputation spreading worldwide for quality and innovative designs.
By 1971, with the opening of new assembly line at Meltham, the plant had become the most sophisticated in the whole of Europe. Prestigious awards followed through the decade, including a Design Council Award in 1976 for its Hydra-shift semi-automatic transmission.
David Brown Tractors was acquired by US giant, Tenneco and became affiliated with Case. This enabled significant expansion of production and distribution and the famous unified colour schemes of white, red and black became visible on all David Brown and Case machines.
The End of the Production Line
In 1985, Tenneco made the decision not to proceed with any new product development and ultimately this led to the full closure of the Meltham plant in 1988, ending a proud history of nearly 50 years of production.