Massey-Ferguson (UK) Ltd

The origins of Massey-Ferguson can be traced back to Daniel Massey, who set up a blacksmiths and farm implement shop in Newcastle, Ontario, Canada in 1847. In 1870 his Massey Manufacturing Company was incorporated as a private company. In 1891 it merged with Alanson Harris Son & Company Limited of Brantford, Canada to form the Massey-Harris Company Ltd. In its first year of trading the company sold 41,474 machines, exporting 2,235 to Europe. In 1910 the Massey-Harris Company Ltd. developed its no. 1 reaper-thresher, its first basic combine harvester and in 1917 it launched its first tractor, the 'Big Bull'. Massey-Harris became a full public corporation in 1927. In the 1930s Massey Harris bought the (H V Mackay) Sunshine Harvester Company Ltd of Australia (UK address Aldwych House, London WC2)


Harry Ferguson began production of the Ferguson system tractor in the UK in 1936. In 1933 Massey-Harris built their first rubber-tyred tractor and developed the first commercially available self-propelled combine harvester in 1938. The year 1953 saw the merger of the two companies, Massey-Harris and Harry Ferguson Ltd into Massey-Harris-Ferguson Ltd and the company changed its name to Massey-Ferguson Ltd in 1958.


Massey-Ferguson purchased other firms, establishing an industrial and construction machinery range after buying the hydraulic digger manufacturer Midwest Industries, Wichita USA. In 1959 Massey-Ferguson acquired the Peterborough based diesel engine manufacturer F Perkins Ltd as well as Standard Motor Company's tractor plants in Banner Lane, Coventry and St Denis, France. It also purchased the second largest Italian tractor manufacturer G Landini & Figli SpA in 1960 and added crawler tractors to its range. During the same year Ferguson System tractors became the first vehicles to reach the South Pole overland. In 1974 Massey-Ferguson purchased a leading construction and diesel engine manufacturer, Hanomag Baumaschinen of Hannover, Germany, and in doing so trebled its range of industrial products.


Within the UK, Massey-Ferguson had Factories at Coventry (tractors), Baginton near Coventry (tractor components), Manchester (tractors, implements and digger loaders), Knowsley near Liverpool (industrial and construction equipment), Kilmarnock (combines) and Peterborough (Perkins engines). Additionally, the company had a Central Parts Operation at Urmston, Manchester, its Training Centre at Stoneleigh near Coventry, and Engineering Centres at Coventry and Peterborough with design and development facilities. During the 1970s Massey-Ferguson employed around 20,000 people in the UK.


By the 1970s Massey-Ferguson had also become the largest manufacturer of tractors in the western world. At its peak Massey-Ferguson employed over 68,000 people worldwide, and had 50 manufacturing plants in 12 countries. The company became part of the AGCO Corporation in 1994, and continues to sell its products in 140 countries. Massey-Ferguson sales still make up more than half of the AGCO group's total sales.

The records chiefly consist of copy trade and technical publications and cover the period c1930-93.

More information

  • A full description is available on our online database

  • Reference number TR MAS

Agricultural machinery business records Massey-Ferguson (UK) Ltd

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