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Doncaster Features: History of International Harvester in Doncaster
Through the latter half of the 20th century International Harvester was known throughout the world as the most prodigious manufacturer and supplier of some of the finest farm machinery money could buy, along with sales and service that were second to none.
The company's great red and black branding and distinctive logo (right) remain today instantly recognisable, and many of their finest products were designed and built in Britain within its three Yorkshire factory sites - one of which was based in Doncaster for more than 50 years.
Many of the companies classic models were built here including Farmall BMD, B450, 885XL and Maxxum, giant industrial PAY-loaders, crawlers, balers, combines, even some of the high horsepower farm tractors imported from Europe and North America.
The first factory Wwas built here in Wheatley Hall Road after being purchased from Doncaster Corporation in 1938. The war got in the way shortly after purchase and the initial factory was used for bullet manufacturing for the war effort. In 1949 International Harvester's first tractor, Farmall M, was the first to roll out of production. It was driven off the assembly line by Swinton-based MP Mr. Tom Williams, Labour's Minister of Agriculture.
In 1951 the first fully British-built tractor, a Farmall M, was completed and driven from the assembly line. A year later saw the first British built diesel tractor launched - the Farmall BMD model.
Tenneco acquired IH Farm Equipment Division in 1985.
The International Harvester was acquired by the Argo group of Italy in 2000 and today trades as McCormick Tractors International Limited.
The Wheatley Hall Road site was sold in 2005 for a reported £16 million before being leased back for 40 years.
In 2007 the 435,836th tractor, an XTX215E, was the final produced here in Doncaster before closing it's doors leaving the 371 remaining staff redundent.
Two years later the whole plant had been demolished and little remaining to show for 58 years of world class farm equipment engineering from Doncaster, and Yorkshire.
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