Henry George (Harry) Ferguson 1884 - 1960
Harry Ferguson an Irish farmers son was born at Growell,County Down, Ireland.
In 1902 Ferguson went to work with his brother Joe in his bicycle and car repair business. Whilst working there as a mechanic he developed an interest in aviation, to the extent of visiting airshows abroad. In 1904 he began to race motorcycles. In 1909 Ferguson became the first person to fly in Ireland, when he took off on December 31 in a monoplane he had designed and built himself. After falling out with his brother over the safety and future of aviation Ferguson decided to go it alone, and in 1911 founded a company selling Maxwell , Star and Vauxhall cars and Overtime Tractors eventually to be named Harry Ferguson Limited. Ferguson saw at first hand the weakness of having tractor and plough as separate articulated units, and in 1917 he devised a plough which could be rigidly attached to a Model T Ford , with limited success
The Ferguson TEA 20 name came from Tractor, England 20 horsepower.
The TE range of Ferguson tractors were introduced in England in 1946 following 30 years of continuous development of "The Ferguson System" from 1916. The first work was to design a plough and linkage to integrate the tractor with its work in a manner that was an engineering whole. The automatic control system is now employed by almost all tractor manufacturers worldwide. A British patent was applied for by Harry Ferguson in 1925 and granted the following year.
By the early 1930s the linkage design was finalised and is now adopted as international standard category I. Just one prototype Ferguson System tractor, known as the Ferguson Black, was built to further technical development as well as demonstrating to potential manufactures.
Massey Ferguson TEA 20 / Little Grey Fergie / Vaaljapie
During 1936 the first production Ferguson tractors were built in Huddersfield, Yorkshire by the David Brown Company. This tractor, the Ferguson Model 'A' incorporated Harry Ferguson's 'suction side' hydraulic control system, the key to solving sensitive automatic control of three point mounted implements and patented on the 5th February 1936 (patent no 470069). The combination of Ferguson's converging three point hitch, patented on 3rd July 1928 (patent no 320084) with his 'suction side control' valve is the key to the success of all subsequent Ferguson and later 'Ferguson System' tractors, the most important of which is the TE and TO 20 models. (It was the production of the Model 'A' that led in 1939 to the David Brown line of tractors).In order to get volume production with lower costs Harry Ferguson, following a demonstration of his tractor before Henry Ford Senior in October 1938, concluded a gentleman's agreement with Ford to produce the Ferguson tractor in Detroit starting mid 1939. About 300,000 of these tractors, known as "Ford Ferguson" were produced up to June 30, 1947.
During the War years the Ferguson design team developed many improvements to both tractor and implements and started to make arrangements to manufacture in the United Kingdom (UK). The agreement with Ford in 1938 was to include production at the Ford plant at Dagenham , Essex, in the UK but the UK Ford company would not do it. By 1945 Ferguson had made a manufacturing agreement with the Standard Motor Company of Coventry , England to produce the Ferguson tractor incorporating all their latest improvements and to be known as the TE20, ie Tractor England.Production started in the late summer of 1946, nearly a year before the last Ford Ferguson came off the line in Detroit in June 1947. The break with Ford left Harry Ferguson and his US company having implements to sell but no tractors. To make up the gap until the new Ferguson factory in Detroit started in October 1948, over 25,000 Coventry-built TE20s were shipped to the USA and Canada. The TO (Tractor Overseas) 20 was virtually the same as the TE20.
Coventry production up to 1956 was 517,651 units, with about 66% being exported, mainly to Continental Europe and the British Empire but many other countries as well. To the above figure must be added TO production at Ferguson Park, Detroit. Including all 'Ferguson System' tractors from May 1936 to July 1956 brings the figure to approximately 1 million.Harry Ferguson merged his worldwide companies with Massey-Harris in July 1953, three years before TE and TO20 production ended, hence the change of name on the serial plate to 'Massey-Harris-Ferguson'. The Ferguson 35 replaced the old line in the US in 1955 and the TE20 in the UK in 1956, production here starting in September of that year following re-tooling of the factory.
The post war Ferguson TEA 20 tractor was designed around a petrol engine.
As a subsitute for petrol, TVO was developed. Paraffin (kerosene) was commonly used as a domestic heating fuel and was un-taxed. Paraffin has an octane rating of zero and would damage an engine built for petrol. The manufacture of paraffin involves the removal of aromatic hydrocarbons from what is now sold as heating oil . These aromatics have an octane rating, so adding some of that otherwise waste product material back in a controlled manner into paraffin gave TVO. The resulting octane rating of TVO was somewhere between 55 and 70.
In practice TVO had most of the properties of paraffin including the need for heating to encourage vapourisation. As a result the exhaust and inlet manifolds were adapted so that more heat from the first warmed the latter. To get the tractor to start from cold a second small fuel tank was added that contained petrol. The tractor was started on the (expensive) petrol then once the engine was warm, the fuel supply switched over to TVO. So long as the engine was working hard (eg on the land, ploughing, pulling a load) the TVO would burn well. Under light conditions (travelling unloaded on the highway), the engine was better on petrol.
The phrase petrol-paraffin is often used to describe engines that use TVO. This can be interpreted either as : the use of the two fuels, starting on petrol then switching to the paraffin-based TVO: the use of a mixture of petrol and paraffin as a substitute for the proper TVO
TVO is no longer available in South Africa.
TVO - tractor vaporising oil - power parrafin
There must only ever be 2 ingredients in TVO
Petrol (unleaded is absolutely fine for a Ferguson tractor) 98 Octane
28 Second Heating Oil 20 Octane
Aim for an Octane value between 55 and 70
55 if doing very hard work
70 if doing topping and the like
To give you some idea of the sums:-
1 petrol and 1 heating oil (Power paraffin) comes out at 59 Octane
2 petrol and 1 heating oil comes out at 72 Octane
1 petrol and 2 heating oil comes out at 46 Octane
Petrol on its own is suitable for road runs (with the heat shield removed).
Octane is not the only factor, but is provides a good guide line
Diesel fuel is designed to cause ignition by compression and will encourage pinking. It is not designed to burn in TVO tractors, and no upper cylinder lubricant is required in these tractors, so do not use anything other than petrol and heating oil.
Using fuel which does not burn completely will destroy the lubricating properties of the oil and that (in a Ferguson TE tractor) will result in wear to the cam shaft bushes and then loss of oil pressure from cam shaft bushes. Loss of oil pressure will, then result in damage to the crank shaft. Lubricating oil in a TVO tractor's engine should be changed according to the Tractor Instruction book.
Recipe for making your own TVO
Important: Never use illuminating paraffin
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Hotbox shield must be fitted to enable operation with power paraffin
1946 to 1956
Standard Motor co
Petrol / TVO (Tractor vaporising oil)
2390 to 2410 RPM idle 500 RPM
Liquid (10.23 litres)
Rear drum brakes
900-16 (6 ply)
11-28 (6 ply)
Engine oil (6.57 litres)
Diff/gearbox oil (30.28L)
Inlet valves (Warm)
Exhaust valves (Warm)
Big end bearings
010" / 0.254mm
010" / 0.254mm
Year Serial no
1946 1 - 315
1947 316 - 20894
1948 20895 - 77772
1949 77773 - 116461
1950 116462 - 167836
1951 167837 - 241335
1952 241336 - 310779
1953 310780 - 367998
1954 367999 - 428092
1955 428093 - 488578
1956 488579 - 517651