Feb 22, 2017Case IH celebrates 175 years
Case IH is beginning a year of celebrations to commemorate its 175th anniversary at its global headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin. It was there, on the shores of the Root River, that founder Jerome Increase Case established Racine Threshing Machine Works to produce a revolutionary machine to speed up the separation of grain after harvest.
The company’s beginnings are closely linked with those of the American economy, as pioneers moved west and new farms were established to feed the growing population centers in the east. In 1869, Case went on to manufacture the first steam engine tractor, which, although wheel-mounted, was drawn by horses and used only to power other machines. In 1876, Case built the first self-propelled traction steam engine. As steam engines quickly replaced horses for threshing, the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company became the world’s largest producer of steam engines by 1886.
In 1902, five companies merged to form the International Harvester Company in Chicago, the deal being brokered, personally, by J.P. Morgan, the American banker who dominated corporate finance and industrial consolidation at the time. The company produced its first combine harvester in 1915 and, in 1923, introduced the Farmall, the world’s first row crop tractor. Providing greater productivity, reliability and safety, it was a revolutionary unified system of tractors and implements for plowing, cultivating and harvesting. International Harvester sold more than 5 million Farmall tractors and, in 1977, launched the unique single-rotor Axial-Flow rotary combine, which revolutionized the farming industry with its simplicity, grain quality, grain savings, crop adaptability, matched capacity and high resale value. Axial-Flow combines still set the standard for harvesting performance today.
Case IH was formed in 1985 when J.I. Case acquired the agricultural division of International Harvester, uniting the legacies of Case and IH in a single brand. Its first product, the Magnum tractor with horsepower ranging from 160 to 240 horsepower, was introduced in 1987 and became the first tractor to win the Industrial Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America. Now producing up to 380 horsepower, the Magnum tractor continues to be one of the most recognizable Case IH products, and more than 150,000 have been sold.