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In 1953 two agricultural machinery companies merged to form Massey-Harris-Ferguson. Massey-Harris, had been based in Canada, and Harry Ferguson Ltd., in London, England, joined together to combine their expertise in tractor design and harvesting machinery, later to become one of the world’s strongest influences in farm equipment.
At the end of 1957, the name Harris was dropped from Massey-Harris-Ferguson, and the legendary brand of agricultural machinery, Massey Ferguson was born in early 1958. Originally, the name was hyphenated, although this was eventually removed.
By the end of ‘57, Massey Ferguson had over 21,000 employees and European sales had increased by over 200%.
Business expansion continued with the initiation of a new central parts warehouse near Paris, and Germany’s combine plant at Eschwege being enlarged. Significant investments were also being made in factory equipment and modernisation in the UK, France and Germany.
The Ferguson FE 35 was superseded by the MF 35 in 1958, which sported the now familiar colours of red & grey, together with the new triple triangle logo.
Later in 1958 the Massey Ferguson range expanded further, when the MF 65 tractor was announced. Advertising at the time stated that: "Together the 35 and 65 tractors make 100 percent Ferguson farming available to all".
Massey Ferguson experienced early success in the late 1950s, and quickly became iconic in the agricultural world.
In January 1958, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person to reach the South Pole with vehicles - 3 modified FE 35 petrol tractors! In a telegram sent from Antarctica, Sir Edmund Hillary said;
“Despite quite unsuitable conditions of soft snow and high altitudes our Ferguson's performed magnificently and it was their extreme reliability that made our trip to the pole possible”
Later in ‘58, sales reach a record high.
Massey Ferguson now employed over 23,000 people, and over 90% of all self-propelled combines in Britain were now MF branded. The new brand name and trade mark had been well received, and were being implemented worldwide.
With the average number of employees reaching almost 30,000 by this time, Massey Ferguson made a number of successful acquisitions, expanding their fixed assets.
F. Perkins Limited, a diesel engine manufacturer, was purchased in April, followed by the Standard Motor Company Limited in August. The latter acquisition included the tractor plant at Banner Lane, in Coventry, England.
A reorganisation took place in the UK during 1959, with a single management group United Kingdom Operations being established at Coventry’s Headquarters.
Massey Ferguson’s product line broadened hugely this year, with more than 60 new models being released. From the MF 65 Utility tractor to the MF 72 self-propelled and pull type combines, these early years set the standard for the MF brand.
The future looked bright for Massey Ferguson as it entered the 60s.