Case IH, a global leader in agricultural equipment, is beginning a year of celebrations to commemorate its 175th anniversary at the brand’s global headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin. It was there, on the shores of the Root River, that founder Jerome Increase Case established the Racine Threshing Machine Works to produce a revolutionary machine to speed up the separation of grain after harvest.
“I find it amazing to see just how far the farming industry and our company have come during the last 175 years especially given the fact that we are stronger than ever before today,” Case IH Brand President, Andreas Klauser, states. “The common theme which has always guided our innovative approach is to provide customers with ever-improving technologies that enable them to farm more efficiently and profitably.
Mr. Case began this tradition having worked extensively with farm equipment before he started his own business and it became his lifelong passion. He believed that every piece of equipment manufactured by his company must deliver on the brand promise and saw to that personally. There is a famous account of him traveling to another state to investigate a product issue, even when he was well into his later years. Those principles continue to inspire and guide us today.”
The company’s beginnings were closely linked with those of the American economy, as American pioneers moved west and new farms were established there to feed the growing population centers in the East. In 1869, Case went on to manufacture the first steam engine tractor, which though wheeled-mounted was drawn by horses and used only to power other machines, then in 1876 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 five 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 from 160hp to 240hp, was introduced in 1987 and became the first tractor to win the Industrial Design Excellence Award. Now producing up to 380hp, the Magnum continues to be one of the most recognizable Case IH products and more than 150,000 have been sold.
The revolutionary Quadtrac tractor, which was launched in 1996, established a new benchmark and remains unmatched. Now including the most powerful series production tractor in the world, the Steiger Quadtrac 620 with up to 692hp, it delivers the greatest pulling power while implementing efficient, ground-conserving tillage and drilling concepts.
Since the turn of the Century, when Case IH reintroduced the Farmall brand, the company’s technical innovations have continued unabated:
Case IH Advanced Farming Systems (AFS), accurate to within 2.5cm, have been at the forefront of Precision Farming for more than two decades, giving farmers the ability to maximise productivity and profitability using satellite technology
In 2000, Case IH launched continuously variable transmission technology which enables its CVX tractors to deliver an optimum combination of power and fuel efficiency
Patented ‘Efficient Power’ engine technologies enable Case IH equipment to meet the latest Stage IV (Tier 4 Final) emission standards without complex exhaust gas recirculation systems or particulate filters
In 2014, the Magnum 380 CVX was voted ‘Tractor of the Year 2015’ at the EIMA International Exhibition in Bologna, Italy. That year, Case IH also launched the Rowtrac CVX, which combines the individual benefits of tracked and wheeled tractors
Case IH’s award-winning performance continued during 2015 when the new Optum CVX tractor was named ‘Machine of the Year 2016’ at Agritechnica. The judges were impressed by its stunning ‘power pack’ design, excellent power-to-weight ratios, manoeuverability, efficiency and reliability.
The Optum 300 CVX achieved the accolade of ‘Tractor of the Year 2017’ at the 2016 EIMA, the international farm machinery show in Italy, where the judges praised its high power, low-weight design which meets the needs of farmers in Europe. Their decision acknowledges Case IH’s ‘focus on farmers’ philosophy and Optum CVX’s importance in the growing high power/compact segment of the tractor market
Visitors to the 2016 Farm Progress Show in the USA were stunned when Case IH unveiled the Autonomous Tractor Concept. Able to operate autonomously with a wide range of field implements, this ground-breaking concept is designed to make agriculture more efficient, economic and environmentally-friendly at a time when finding skilled labor is becoming increasingly difficult for farmers in many parts of the world.
“The Case IH 175th Anniversary is a testament to many years of quality, perseverance and progress. It’s also an occasion to reflect on our guiding principles of innovative engineering, efficient power and agronomic design, a philosophy that will continue into the future,” Andreas Klauser adds. “I am certain that if Mr. Case could see the company today he would instantly recognise that the core values which he championed all those years ago are still at the heart of everything we do. I have no doubt he would approve of the fact that we involve customers in every new range, model and product update through our Customer Driven Product Design, but what he would think of the Autonomous Tractor Concept we can only guess!
“When I look at the enormous transformation which has taken place in agriculture over the last 175 years, it is very exciting to think about what might be achieved during the next 175 years. I am sure that will be discussed during our celebrations with customers, dealers and employees.”