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Author: Stuart Gibbard


216 pages

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The history of tractors and agriculture in England cannot be told without the story of David Brown Ltd., one of the largest producers of tractors in England during the twentieth century. This closely-researched, highly-illustrated history tells the whole story of this remarkable company's early years.

David Brown was a Yorkshire company based around Huddersfield. Its roots lay in wooden patterns made for the looms and weaving machinery of the area in the 1850s. This led to manufacturing the machine-cut iron gears in which the company excelled. In 1914 the company patented a worm thread for gears that eventually was adopted as the British Standard thread. Their involvement with tractors began before World War II when they had an agreement with Harry Ferguson to manufacture the Ferguson-Brown. When working with Ferguson proved difficult, the company developed its range of wheeled and crawler tractors, the VAK series. Development was interrupted by the war during which the company's gears were used in the Merlin engines that powered the Spitfires.

It concluded when the VAK 1/C became one of Britain's most popular tractors of the 1950s: the Cropmaster. The author interviewed many of the surviving engineers, designers, and other staff involved in the development and marketing of David Brown's products. For anyone with industry in English industrial history, this authoritative work by Stuart Gibbard, editor of Old Tractor magazine, is essential reading. It is the first in a trilogy of books profiling David Brown and its products in detail.