From Academic Kids

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A Massey-Ferguson 3660 tractor from the early 1990's.

Massey Ferguson Limited was an historically important Canadian agricultural equipment manufacturer.

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 his 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 cities leading employers. The massive collections of factories on King St. W. 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 American firms from competing in Canada. A labour shortage throughout the country also made the firms mechanized equipment very attractive.

In 1891 it merged with the A. Harris, Son & Co. Ltd. to become Massey-Harris Co. and became the largest agricultural equipment maker in the British Empire. In 1910 the company opened a factory in the United States, making it one of Canada's first multinational firms. In the 1930s it introduced the first self propelled combine harvester. Hart Massey's sons Charles, Chester, Walter, and Fred became closely involved in the business and eventually took over its operations. They were the last generation of Massey's to run the company however. Other members of the family went on to do other things Vincent Massey became Governor General and Raymond Massey became a noted actor. The Massey family used their fortune to improve the city of Toronto and many institutions such as the University of Toronto, Upper Canada College and Massey Hall were financed partially with Massey-Ferguson money.

In 1953 it merged with the Ferguson Company to become, Massey-Harris-Fergusson, before finally taking on its current name in 1958. The company began to decline, however. Facing increasing international competition and an agricultural sector diminishing in importance the firm began to struggle. In the 1970s it came under the control of Conrad Black who gutted the company and its once vast complex in Toronto was demolished. In 1981 Black arranged a government bail-out for the collapsing company and sold it to a group of investors who reorganized it as Varity Corporation. In 1994 the farm equipment divisions of Varity were sold to the American AGCO Corporation who continue to use Massey-Ferguson as a product line. In August 1996, Varity merged with Lucas Automotive to become LucasVarity. After a series of mergers and take-overs, the remains of LucasVarity were taken over by the US company TRW.

External links

fr:Massey Ferguson


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