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Tractors: Farm tractors first appeared in a crude form in the latter years of the nineteenth century.

Tractor pulling a plough

They started to make a real impact on British farming during the First World War when American examples were imported to help with the drive to increase food production. These early types were comparatively inefficient, unreliable and expensive for many farmers to have confidence in. By the 1930s, however, when this picture was taken, design improvements together with cheaper manufacturing methods were taking effect and the tractor became a progressively more familiar sight in the landscape. In the middle of that decade, the first production tractors incorporating Harry Ferguson's hydraulic system for attaching implements appeared and introduced a new generation of tractor design which has continued on through to the present.

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The Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, UK.
Email: merl@reading.ac.uk Telephone: 0118 378 8660