By Rod Ward
International Harvester (IH) was created in a 1902 merger between the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co and the Deering Harvester Co,
production concentrating on tractors and other agricultural machinery. IH became famous for their large Titan tractors, later adding smaller Farmall tractors. From 1907 IH made ‘high-wheeler’ motorised buggies for their farmer clients, and also developed a profitable range of motor lorries and buses. The company expanded into other fields, including construction equipment and domestic appliances. Smaller pickup trucks in the range prompted development of the popular Travelall utility vehicles and the smaller Scouts.
Following financial difficulties, the company sold off most of its subsidiaries, and then even its core agricultural division, which was acquired by Tenneco in 1985, along with the International Harvester name and the IH trademark. Tenneco combined the IH tractors with its Case division. The remaining truck, bus and engine manufacturing operation was renamed Navistar International Corporation, and it continued to produce commercial vehicles into the 21st century.
In terms of long-term assistance in regard to International Harvester and Navistar, we have to express our thanks to an old friend, David Palmeter. He had been a long-time employee of both concerns in the 1990s when he assisted us with an IH project, and helped us to obtain a lot of factory material at that time, some of which came in useful when producing this publication.