Krueger: The International Harvester M was the tractor of its time


Gerald Krueger

Since I am a boy of the farm and it is impossible to take the farm out of the boy, it just enthralls me to watch for old International Harvester tractors and machinery.

The very first one I can remember was the old 15-30 model with steel wheels. What an advancement when someone invented rubber tires for these now-ancient machines.

Numerous models came out then, too. There was the 22-36 and the 10-20 and the old Farmall with very little horsepower.

I can remember like it was a moment ago. It was fall 1944 after a bountiful harvest and good prices for grain. I saw my pa come up the driveway at the K-farm with his new International Harvester M.

Yes, farmers made good money back then during World War II. Prices were high, and many farmers advanced their bottom line. I was 9 when Pa pulled into the yard, and I was as excited as he was! I think the purchase price was about $1,400. Today, more than 70 years later, an old M would sell for twice that amount.

The M was known throughout the world as a machine that could easily pull a four-bottom plow, and, believe me, that was monumental back in those days. I have a toy M that is so detailed it almost looks as if it will actually run! I get to see it every time I sit down to this old computer to prepare a few words for you readers. It sits in a place of honor in my office.

I am a romantic about older farm machinery. While I do not own an M anymore, I do have an International Harvester 400 that I restored a while back, and it is a beauty! It runs perfect. It doesn’t use any oil, and everything works on it but the torque amplifier, which was a dumb addition to the 400 anyway.

The 400 was the replacement for the old M, and it was made from 1954 to 1956.

Each farmer always had his own personal choice of the color of machinery, and we compare that choice to choosing how to worship. Some chose to be Catholic or Protestant. Some chose another religion. It doesn’t make any difference. It’s just a preference or choice.

Growing up on the farm, almost every bit of machinery was red. It didn’t have a special meaning. No matter the color, most machines usually worked the same way, and it was always hard to tell which choice was best.

It is very evident throughout America’s farming community that the old International Harvester M will be remembered for a long time! It is fondly recalled as a real success for the farmer, one that turned out to be the tractor of its time and revolutionized farming for many who worked in a very different generation.

Nuff said.

Gerald Krueger, Aberdeen