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A Tale of Two Henrys and Their Tractors
Milwaukee St. Patrick's Day Parade 2003
Parade Entrants Winners
Shamrock Club of Rock County
Fox Cities Shamrock Club
Dane County Shamrock Club
Hallamór Series Concert#1: The Fureys and Davey Arthur
Celtic Women International First Friday Lectures Thru December
Hurling Club Update
Introductory Irish Set Dance Class
Shamrock Club Scholarship Recipients
Shamrock Club Color Guard Pipes and Drums News and Notes
St. Patrick's Help Fund
Welcome New Members
Milwaukee Calendar of Events
Wisconsin Calendar of Events
A Tale of Two Henrys and Their Tractors
by Brian Witt
Henry "Harry" Ferguson was an inventor who was constantly tinkering and trying new things. In the course of his life, he helped to revolutionize the design of the tractor, helped revive an American automobile company's farm implements sales, and had his name become known worldwide. Henry Ford was the son of emigrants from Cork who revolutionized automobile manufacturing. Together, these sons of Erin formed a strong alliance and helped change the way the world was farmed.
Harry Ferguson was born at Growell, near Hillsborough, Co. Down, on November 4, 1884. In 1902, he joined his brother Joe in a car and bicycle repair business in Belfast, and in 1904 began to race motorcycles. In 1909, at Hillsborough, he made the first powered flight in Ireland, traveling 130 meters in a monoplane he had built. He later drove racing cars, and helped to establish the famous Ulster Tourist Trophy races in 1928. Ferguson formed his own motor business in 1911, and during World War I began to sell tractors to Irish farmers accustomed to horse-drawn plows. With the revolutionary concept that tractor and plow should be designed as a unit, Ferguson began to register his own patents.
Irish-American car maker Henry Ford started building automobiles in Ireland almost from the start of his company's founding in 1903. An early model prototype tractor was completed in 1907. It was instead referred to as an "automobile plow," and, in fact, used many parts from the Ford line of cars in order to cut development and production costs. It would be nearly a decade later before production would start on the first viable commercial model, the Fordson Model F. As work proceeded, and it became clear that the Ford Motor Company and its directors were completely unwilling to produce a tractor, Henry Ford set up an independent company to build and market the machine. The Fordson Model F was rolled out in 1917 in limited production in Cork, and scaled up to mass production in 1918 to meet the urgent need for tractors by the British government, due to the loss of farm laborers in England and Ireland during World War I. When Ford assumed sole control of Ford in 1920, the Henry Ford & Son Company was rolled into the Ford Motor Company, but the Fordson name was kept.
The Fordson was revolutionary first and foremost because it was a smaller design than many of the tractors produced by other companies at the time. The smaller design of the Fordson allowed the tractor to be affordable and easy to produce. The engine, transmission, and axle housings were all bolted together to form the basic structure of the tractor. As a result of this, the machine could be sold at a much lower price, affordable to average farmers. Just as Ford had brought the car to the middle class through assembly line production, the tractor was now also within reach. The Fordson tractors were produced in Cork, and later in Degeham, England. This would prove to be costly for Ford down the road, as all tractors sold in the United States were at least three thousand miles away from the factories.
Harry Ferguson was also producing tractors during this period. He developed a plow suitable to Fordson line tractors, model F. His very first system was made of springs and levers. In 1925, with Eber and George Sherman, he founded, ironically, in the United States, the Ferguson-Sherman Corporation in Detroit, which produced a plow with the "Duplex hitch" system suitable to Fordson line tractors. In 1926, the principal patent of the Ferguson system - hydraulic regulation of the working depth of the various implements linked to the tractor - was granted. He made his first Ferguson hydraulic system for his Ferguson-Black prototype tractor of which David Brown had made the differential gear and transmission. In 1933 he founded with Brown the Ferguson-Brown Co., where around 1350 Ferguson-Brown tractors, model A, equipped with the Ferguson hydraulic system, were produced. Henry Ford offered Ferguson a job, but he preferred his independence. In time, the system would change the face of agriculture, but commercial success proved elusive.
By the middle of the 1930s, Fordson sales had all but died in the United States. The cost of importing them was the largest issue. In 1938, Ferguson met with Henry Ford and a so called "gentleman's agreement" was struck in order to produce Ferguson system tractors. The deal was sealed with only a handshake. Henry Ford's reputation was therein involved as well as an important part of his financial resources. As for Harry Ferguson, his patents were his most important contribution. Through the Harry Ferguson Inc. Corporation, he sold tractors and parts of equipment, among which Ferguson-Sherman Inc., produced several. At that time, Ford 9N tractors (1939-1942) and Ford 2N tractors (1942-1947) were being sold. The tractor contributed enormously to wartime food production, but Ferguson's real hope was to raise living standards throughout the world. "Agriculture should have been the first industry to be modernized, not the last", Ferguson said in 1943.
Henry Ford died of the effects of a stroke in 1946. It was reported that he suffered it upon viewing footage of the death camps of Nazi Germany. Ford was a staunch anti-Semite, and had for years said that stories of atrocities were in effect fairy tales. Towards the end of 1946, Henry Ford's grandson, Henry Ford II, advised Ferguson that the agreement would be ending on June 30, 1947.
The moment Ford Motor Co. started to sell its own newly named tractor, model 8N, Harry Ferguson countered by filing a suit against Ford Motor Co. and associates for an amount of $350 million, and then in negotiating with Standard Motors Co. to produce his tractor, model TE20. Harry Ferguson drove the serial # 1 tractor; model TO20 (Tractor Oversea) built in Detroit, in 1948. Tractors model TO20 and TE20 were identical except for the electrical system and transmission case.
Harry Ferguson won $9.25m compensation in 1952. In 1953 he merged with the Canadian Massey-Harris manufacturers to form Massey-Harris-Ferguson, which later became Massey-Ferguson Co. He retired from Massey Ferguson in 1954, selling out his portion of the company. After his departure, he developed through his Harry Ferguson Research enterprise, race cars and tractors. He retired to Stow-on-the-Wold, in Gloucestershire. His last ambition was to improve car safety through a four-wheel drive system and anti-lock braking, but he failed to make a commercial breakthrough. He suffered from insomnia and depression and, when he died from a drug overdose on 25 October 1960, a coroner's jury returned an open verdict.
Milwaukee St. Patrick's Day Parade 2003
Jim Keane has portrayed our St. Patrick since 1980. Jim now spends the winter months in Florida and has handed his miter over to Tom MacCleese who will assume the role of St. Patrick next year.
Shamrock Club of Wisconsin's (Milwaukee) Irishman of the Year, Tim OBrien, and Irish Rose Sharon Murphy proudly stroll the parade route.
A record crowd of 65,000 flocked to downtown Milwaukee on March 15, 2003 to enjoy the best St. Patrick's Day Parade the state of Wisconsin has ever seen. The entertainment districts of Water Street and Old World Third Street provided an idyllic setting for the event - assuring a great time was had by all - before, during, and after the parade. Milwaukee's historic downtown buildings and river walk also figured prominently and will continue to do so in the future.
As advertised, leprechauns dyed the Milwaukee River green for the first time in event history. Due to hyperborean conditions on the Milwaukee River in early March they moved the injection site to an open body of water just south of Michigan Street.
Parade planners intend to make this an annual tradition for crowds to enjoy along the river walk between Juneau Avenue and Wisconsin Avenue. 2004 may even include a currach regatta on the green river. "What's a currach regatta?" you ask. Well, come and find out!
2004 will have more "firsts," the most prominent of which will be the inaugural Shamrock Stomp 5K Run through downtown Milwaukee. Please visit www.saintpatricksparade.org for periodic updates.
Adventurer Tim Kent of Elm Grove, WI has been selected as 2004's Guest of Honor. Mr. Kent completed the Around Alone race in May 2003, skippering his 50ft Everest Horizontal solo around the world. This is an extremely rare distinction only 128 people in history have achieved. Soloing around the globe is referred to as the "Mt. Everest of Sailing." Hence the name of his boat. To illustrate just how rare this is, over 1200 people have scaled Mt. Everest. There is, perhaps, only one feat in the history of man that is more rare - walking on the moon.
Tim is "officially 150% Irish." How might this be? Tim explains, "I was adopted; my birth mother was from Ireland, my father of Danish extraction. My adoptive parents - my real parents as far as I'm concerned, as I was adopted at 6 weeks - were both Irish. So out of a possible 200%, I am 150% Irish. I even went to college for a year at University College, Cork in Cork, Ireland."
"Thank you" to everyone who made 2003 a special year. We would be remiss if we did not comment on the weather. Great job, Lord! A special "thanks" also goes out to Jim Keane, our St. Patrick since 1980. Jim now spends the winter months in Florida and has handed his miter over to Tom MacCleese who will assume the role of St. Patrick next year.
Saint Patrick will return... Saturday, March 13, 2004.
- Dan Malloy
Parade winners for 2003:
• Best Unit Judge's Choice: Chicago Caledonians
• Best Unit Director's Choice: Trinity Irish Dancers
• Brian Boru Award (Best Irish Group): Glencastle Irish Dancers
• Guest of Honor: Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan...* Archbishop Dolan was ill and unable to attend. He will participate in 2004
• Neville Dunn Award (Best Marching Unit): Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy
• Ward Irish Music Archives Award (Best Musical Group): Racine Kilties
• St. Brendan Award (Best Float): Westown Association
• Spirit of St. Patrick Award: Tom Riddle
• SEPT. 16: Monthly Meeting, 7 p.m. at Janesville Senior Center, 69 S. Water St.
• OCT. 21: Potluck Dinner (6 p.m.) Monthly Meeting (7 p.m.)
Come to our September meeting and show your support for our new officers.
Plan now to come to our potluck dinner and meeting and bring a friend with you, they might like to join our club. This will be at our October meeting.
- Tom Kennedy
• September 17: Halfway to St. Pat's. at Mark's Eastside. Featuring Celtic Knot live music and Bread Smith Irish Soda Bread.
Dane County Shamrock Club
• SEPT. 9: Board Meeting, Coliseum Bar, 6:15 p.m. General Meeting at 7 p.m. president, Bob Kerans presents a program on "The Irish Waterways" 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Co-presidents of the Dane County Shamrock Club, Inc., Colleen O'Meara Schams and Paul Buckalew hand over the gavel to the new president, Bob Kerans, at the summer picnic.
A TRIBUTE TO COLLEEN
Colleen O'Meara Schams retired as Co-President of our club on July 8, but her enthusiasm did not diminish as she planned to continue as membership chairperson. However, the angels needed her in heaven to help with the chorus. Colleen died on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 at University Hospital in Madison following complications of cancerous multiple myeloma. Her beloved husband Albert Schams, Shamrock Club Treasurer, was at her bedside.
What did Colleen bring to the Shamrock Club? The list is endless. For the past two years she and her co-president Paul Buckalew revitalized the club through increased membership, additional membership benefits, and the affiliation with the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee in Madison.
But more than these accomplishments, it was her devotion to being Irish. As quoted in her obituary "she acknowledged a bit of imperfection in herself, but fully expects to be the first Saint Colleen." Many of us now envision her leading the choir in Heaven, and knowing Colleen, they better be in key!!
Another important part of Colleen's life was being a world traveler. She had been to over 140 countries. One of her most memorable trips in the 1970s, when she was single, involved an effort to visit troubled Northern Ireland. On her first attempt arriving by auto, she was turned back at the border because she was an American Irish Catholic. Later, deciding to go by train, she found herself seated next to a woman with many red-headed children. Colleen offered to help the mother by holding one of her babies. All the mothers in the train car ignored the conductor when he asked for passports, including Colleen, enabling her to enter Northern Ireland.
All the members of the Club were enriched by being with Colleen - to know her was to love her. She was an unselfish dedicated person who did not seek honors for herself but took pleasure in the results of her efforts. We shall miss her radiant smile and her lovely Irish ways.
- Paul Buckalew, past co-president
Hallamór Concert #1
THE FUREYS AND DAVEY ARTHUR
Friday, September 12, 2003
The opening act in the Fall 2003 Hallamór Concert Series will be the Fureys, George and Eddie, along with lifelong friend and former band member Davey Arthur. Rounding out the group will be Derek McCormack, Morley Mooney, and Stephen Leech. They are celebrating their 25th Anniversary on this concert tour around the world. The Fureys are responsible for some of the most stirring and familiar music heard over the years such as Clare to Here, Steal Away, and When You Were Sweet Sixteen. Some of their most famous admirers include Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Irish President Mary McAleese, Pope John Paul, and Tony Blair proclaims Green Fields of France as his favorite "peace song."
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2003
For season tickets or individual concert information, please call the Center at (414) 345-8800.
- Gwen Sisk, Publicist
Celtic Women International
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