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Farmall F-30 tractor
READY TO RUMBLE: David Williamson, Wayne County, Ind., keeps this F-30 and other Farmall tractors inside year-round. Some of them belonged to his late father, Mauri Williamson.

Farmall 30 was ‘husky’ tractor of the day

Throwback Tech: We’re looking back at a time when tractors ran on steel, and men were men!

Page 4 of an original brochure promoting Farmall tractors, and the Farmall 30 in particular, says what farmers of the day wanted to hear. It read, “For the farm where lots of power is needed.” Compared to the F-12 and the F-20, the F-30 was a powerful tractor.

Authors of the brochure were proud of the power packed into the F-30 vs. the F-20. “From a distance, you can’t tell the F-30 from the F-20. That’s because it’s built to approximately the same general dimensions so that the same row-crop implements can be attached to it.

“But as you come closer, you see that the F-30 is pulling three, sometimes four, large bottoms or a 10-foot double-disk harrow with a peg-tooth harrow or a soil pulverizer trailing behind it.

“Or you see it operating a 28-46 threshing rig or doing other jobs that call for lots of power. Then you realize that you are looking at the Big Chief of the Farmall Tribe.”

vintage ad
HUSKY FARMALL: “Farmall Power means ample power” was the slogan when this tractor was introduced and advertisements were printed for it.

The brochure recommends the F-30 for a farm of 300 acres, which was a big farm when the F-30 on steel roamed the countryside. The company claimed just over 20 horsepower for the F-30, compared to 16 for the F-20 and about 10 for the F-12. Tractor tests later indicated it could produce 24 hp at the drawbar. Remember that many large garden tractors today come equipped with 16- to 24-hp engines!

These tractors were meant for work, not to be speed demons. With four forward speeds, top speed was rated at 3.75 miles per hour. The company claimed the F-30 could develop 30 hp off the belt, which was important in those days. The entire tractor weighed 5,300 pounds, nearly double that of its cousin, the F-12, at 2,800 pounds.

Replaceable cylinders were a selling point of the Farmall line. Engines were built so cylinders and pistons could be replaced.

There were at least half a dozen different rear steel-wheel designs to choose from. Pneumatic tires and rims for those tires were also options. There was also an option for higher speed for tractors with pneumatic tires.

According to, just over 28,900 Farmall 30s were built, starting in 1931 and ending in 1939. These tractors came from the factory equipped with a 21-gallon tank to run on distillate fuel, and a 1-gallon auxiliary tank for gasoline. They featured a 4.6-liter, four-cylinder engine.

David Williamson, Economy, Ind., has an F-30 in the collection he inherited from his father, the late Mauri Williamson. The tractors are stored in a building where Williamson can work on them and keep them out of the elements year-round.

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