Massey Ferguson Limited is a major agricultural equipment manufacturer which was based in Brantford, Ontario, Canada before it was purchased by AGCO. The company was formed by a merger between Massey Harris and the Ferguson Company farm machinery manufacturer in 1953, creating the company Massey Harris Ferguson. However, in 1958 the name was shortened for the first time to coin the brand Massey Ferguson. Today the company exists as a brand name used by AGCO and remains a major seller around the world.
The firm was founded in 1847 in Newcastle, Ontario by Daniel Massey as the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory. The company began making some of the world's first mechanical threshers, first by assembling parts from the United States and eventually designing and building their own equipment. The firm was taken over and expanded by Daniel's eldest son Hart Massey who renamed it the Massey Manufacturing Co. and in 1879 moved the company to Toronto where it soon became one of the city's leading employers. The massive collection of factories, consisting of a 4.4 hectares (11 acres) site with plant and head office at 915 King Street West, became one of the best known features of the city. Massey expanded the company and began to sell its products internationally. Through extensive advertising campaigns he made it one of the most well known brands in Canada. The firm owed much of its success to Canadian tariffs that prevented the larger US firms from competing in Canada. A labor shortage throughout the country also helped to make the firm's mechanized equipment very attractive.
In 1891, Massey Manufacturing merged with the A. Harris, Son & Co. Ltd. to become Massey-Harris Company Limited and became the largest agricultural equipment maker in the British Empire.
The company made threshing machines and reapers as well as safety bicycles, introducing a shaft-driven model in 1898. In 1910, the company acquired the Johnston Harvester Company located in Batavia, New York, making it one of Canada's first multinational firms.
Massey-Harris built early tractor models including the 20 horsepower Massey-Harris GP 15/22 (1930–36), 25 horsepower Massey-Harris Pacemaker (1936–39), 35 horsepower Model 101 (1938–42), Massey-Harris Pony, Model 20, Model 81, and Model 744.
Massey-Harris revolutionized grain harvesting in 1938 with the world's first self-propelled combine - the No. 20. Unfortunately, it was too heavy and expensive for extensive mass production. However, it served as a guide for the building of the lighter and less costly No. 21, which was tested in 1940 and put on sale in 1941. The Massey-Harris No. 21 Combine was commemorated with a Canada Post stamp on June 8, 1996.
Massey Ferguson developed a wide range of agricultural vehicles and have a large share in the market across the world especially in Europe. The company's first mass-produced tractor was the Massey Harris Ferguson TVO which was quickly replaced by the Diesel 20. In 1958 the MF35, the first Massey Ferguson branded tractor (a Ferguson design) rolled off the factory floor. These tractors were massively popular and sold across the UK, Australia, Ireland and the United States.
The next big selling model was the MF135, widely popular because of its reliability and power compared with other tractors at the time. This was the first model in the MF 100 series. These included the MF 135, 145, 148, 150, 165, 168, 175, 178, 180, 185 and 188.The same time the MF 100 series came out, the MF 1000 series was introduced. These include the MF 1080, 1100, 1130 and 1150. Later came the MF 550, 565, 575, 590, 595(500 series). From the mid-1970s and early 1980s came the 200 series tractor, which included the MF 230, 235, 240, 245, 250, 255, 260, 265, 270, 275, 278, 280, 285, 290, 298, 299.
In the mid-1980s, the short-lived 600 series was released. This included the 675, 690, 690T, 695, 698 and 699. The reason for poor sale was due to poor looks and cab awkwardness compared to its predecessors. In the late 1980s, one of the greatest selling tractors of all time was released- the 300 series Massey Ferguson. Excellent power, simplicity of cab, high range of gears and components made the MF 300 series a success especially in Europe. The range included the MF 350,362,375,390, 390T, 393, 394, 395, 398, and the most powerful and popular Massey Ferguson 399 with horsepower ranging from 72HP to 104HP.
In the mid-1990s, the 6100 series and 8100 series were released, including the 6150, 6180 and 8130.
Tractors that came after the 300 series included the 4200 range, the 4300 range, 3600 (early 1990s), 3000/3100 (early to mid-1990s), 3005/3105 (mid-1990s), 6100 (late 1990s), 6200 (late 1990s/early 2000s (decade)), 8200 (late 1990s/early 2000s (decade)), 5400 (present), 6400 (present), 7400 (present), 8400 (present), and 8600 (present).
AGCO/Massey factories build tractors for Challenger, Iseki and AGCO.
In June 2012, the Agco facility in Jackson, Minnesota, was expanded to start building Massey Ferguson models for the North American market.
Massey Ferguson has become famous amongst sports fans in Spain, thanks to an advertisement regularly run on the radio program Carrusel Deportivo. In it, the host Pepe Domingo Castaño relates its many qualities and awards before singing a Corrido about the tractor.[