Horseshoe Draw Bar

Did Ferguson make a horseshoe drawbar? December 17, 2015.

The Ferguson horseshoe draw bar and the clevis assembly to attach it to the tractor, has one of its earliest known appearances in a photograph of one of the first TE-20’s, taken in 1946. The photo shows Harry Ferguson and Sir John Black seated behind a TE-20. That photo can be found on page 65 of The Ferguson Tractor Story by Stuart Gibbard, published by Old Pond Publishing.

Sir John Black, as you may know, was the managing director of the Standard Motor Company in Coventry. The TE-20 in that picture clearly shows the clevis for the horseshoe draw bar mounted to the bottom of the rear axle housing.

The mounting holes for the draw bar clevis were included in the original TE-20 design. That same bolt pattern with its 5/8″ NC holes became standard on all Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors beginning with the TE-20 through the Massey Ferguson 100 series tractors. The hole size was increased to 3/4″ NC during 100 series production.

The horseshoe draw bar clevis is unique in that it includes a 1 1/8″ pin with a locking lever that fits in a notch at the rear of the clevis. The bottom plate of the clevis includes two holes for the pins on the bottom of the horseshoe draw bar and a block with ears that mates with the ears on the open ends of the horseshoe draw bar.

The horseshoe draw bar and the mounting clevis were Ferguson, and then Massey Ferguson accessories until the 1980’s. Interestingly, when the 8N went into production, the same 5/8″ NC holes in the same bolt pattern that first appeared on the TE-20 at the bottom of the rear axle housing, were in the same location on the bottom of the new 8N model. The draw bar clevis that came on the new 8N does not have the two holes in the bottom plate for the pins on the horseshoe draw bar nor does it have the block and ears at the front of the clevis to mate with the ears on the horseshoe draw bar so the red draw bar in the two pictures you sent will not attach to the regular Ford 8N clevis. Neither the horseshoe draw bar nor the special clevis to mount it appear in any Dear born Motors or Ford tractor parts book that I have ever seen.

Now, here comes the dilemma or unexplained mystery, a picture of the horseshoe draw bar appears in a Ford tractor accessory brochure from the 1950’s and a picture of the same draw bar mounted on a Ford 8N appeared in an agricultural engineering textbook from the 1960’s I used at Michigan State University in 1965. The caption on the photo said it came from Ford’s Tractor and Implement Division. Here are the questions that I have had for years. Why doesn’t the horseshoe draw bar or the clevis to attach it appear in any Ford parts book that I am aware of? Why, other than the picture in that Ford tractor Accessories brochure, haven’t I seen the horseshoe draw bar anywhere else in Ford or Dearborn literature or on any Ford tractor or in any Ford dealership? The horseshoe draw bar is shown in operator’s manuals, parts books and sales literature for Ferguson and Massey Ferguson tractors, implements and accessories beginning with the TE-20.

My hypothesis has always been the horseshoe draw bar and its mounting clevis were made by an outside supplier, as were many of the accessories, originally offered by that manufacturer to both the Ferguson and Ford companies. Ferguson bought the draw bar and likely all rights to it. Is that the reason I’ve never seen the horseshoe draw bar and the clevis that goes with it as a Ford or Dearborn part, or in a Ford of Dearborn parts book?

Remember Ferguson and Ford had a similar situation with the Dearborn Pitman mower manufactured by Detroit Harvester. That mower was originally sold as a Ferguson mower during the Ford Ferguson era and then exactly the same mower was sold by both the Ford or Dearborn and Ferguson companies until Ferguson claimed they (Ferguson) owned the rights to the design. Detroit Harvester then created a modified version of that mower with a far more complicated hitch for Ford Dearborn. Interestingly Detroit Harvester also produced a mower using most of the same components for J.I. Case for their VAC tractor. A similar situation occurred with the side mounted mower Detroit Harvester made for both Ford and Ferguson. Ford apparently claimed the rights to the side mounted mower and continued to sell it while it was removed from the Ferguson line, replaced by the new Ferguson Dyna-balance side mounted mower. Many if not all of the components for Ferguson’s Dyna-balance mower were also produced by Detroit Harvester.

Another similar situation occurred with the pull type disc produced by Roderick Lean as a Ferguson implement during the Ford Ferguson era. After the split, Roderick Lean produced the same disc with its unique 3 point hitch draw bar that angled and straightened the gangs for both Ford Dearborn and Ferguson. Again, Ferguson apparently claimed the rights to the design and continued to sell the same disc for a time while a different design was produced for Ford Dearborn.

Similar situations occurred with the belt pulley drives, standard cross draw bar, top links, and stabilizer bar brackets produced by outside suppliers for both Ford and Ferguson. Again these are all fascinating aspects of the history or the Ford and Ferguson companies.