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The John Deere Model "A" Tractors


In the progression of JohnDeere tractors, from the Waterloo-Boy to the present day works of art they have produced, one of the greatest advancements of the company was when they created the Model "A". The first A's were of the tricycle type that were called "row crop" tractors. Emerging from this tractor were two other popular models of the "B" and the "G" tractors. The "A" was not the first tricycle type, however. In 1928 John Deere decided to build a "row crop" version of the Model "GP" and there were a couple different models of these. The "GP" Tricycle and the "GPWT". These were built from 1928-1935. These were restyled several times during there life. All these tractors were of the no adjustment rear wheel width.

In 1932 Deere started experimenting with another tractor which was a modified "GPWT", called the "FX". This was a prototype with over the hood steering and several new trial features that later became standard on the new Model "A" tractor. However, it still had the round frame hole, for cultivator mounting and a tapered down front frame, and still had the non adjustable rear wheel width.

In April of 1933 another continuation of this tractor was introduced which was called the "AA". There were eight of these built. Six with a four speed -"AA-1", and two with three speeds - "AA-3. Four more prototypes were built and tested before full production of the model "A"-"AA 1"started on March 19 , 1934. This was the very first John Deere tractor with wheels that could slide in and out, making them fully adjustable for a variety of crop row widths.

All the tractors up to number 414808 had open fan shafts and a four spoke steering wheel.

In 1935 Deere put the "AN" ( single front wheel - the "N" stands for narrow) into production as well as the "AW" (wide front). The "AH" and the "ANH" (high crop) came out in 1937.

1938, starting with number 477000, brought a big change in the " A"row crop model. Some have dubbed it the Dreyfuss streamlining, but Deere simply called it styling, which then made the earlier models "unstyled". They got a hood to cover the gas tank, grills to cover the radiator and steering mechanism and a dash for the insturments. The electric start models (first time offered) got a longer hood (extended) where the battery was located just behind the gas tank. The first styled models retained the four speed transmission just like the previous unstyled models had.

11000 of these were built and in 1940 Deere decided to increase the horse power by increasing the stroke of the engine, change the 1 1/8 PTO shaft to 1 3/8, and replace the 12 spline axle with 15 spline. The extra power it now enjoyed made it a three plow tractor in light soils, even though it still had the four speed gearbox. It wasn't until late 1940 that more improvements gave it the six speed transmission, 38" rear wheels and decals replaced the silk screening process.

The first styled "A's"and "B's" that were ordered with rubber tires in 1939, had factory flat spoke wheels, but only were produced until early 1940 when only round spoke wheels were available thereafter.

WWII brought on many incumberances to be dealt with. The War Board put quota's and special specifications on the company, just as it did all other companies, which had to be overcome in one way or another. Due to the banishment of using copper, the radiators were manufactured with steel which did not cool as well. The tractors were adapted with a pressure cooling system during the time steel radiators were used and went back to standard type thereafter. The war time tractors had serial numbers from 523600 - 542699.


After the war the "A" received even more updates to make it a very popular tractor. Among them, "power trol", which allowed the rock shaft to be variable positioning, the introduction of "AN", "ANH" and the "AWH" to go with the regular row crop and the "AW".

Operating comfort was now beginning to come to the forefront of farm equipment so in 1947 serial number 584000 John Deere would introduce even more advances to it line of model "A" tractors. The old pan seat was gone forever to the new armchair design with cushions that incorporated springs, and it had a cushioned backrest and roll-a-matic (1949) front wheels, and best of all, the cyclone engine. The old cast iron frame was replaced with a new pressed steel frame and the motors top was cleaned up by moving the starter to its own compartment under the tractors main housing and out of site. This allowed a cover to be placed over the flywheel as a dress item. The hydraulic system now included an external cylinder that could be mounted on many different attachments.

The steering post was redesigned at number 648000, the two stick gear levers were now just one lever in a new gear designation box with all six speeds marked as well as the reverse. The "ANH" and the "AWH" were dropped and the "AN" and the "AW" offered with either 38" or 42" rubber tires.

In 1950 square rear axle housings, distributor ignition, black face gauges and the "AH" hi crop was announced to the line up of "A" tractors

.The 1952 Korean War brought a shortage of copper and the radiator had to be made of steel, which caused a heating problem. With serial number 700200 a water pump was installed.

John Deere Model A 1934-1940 Row Crop

Bore x stroke-------------------- 5.50 x 6.50

------------Stroke increased to 6.75 at #488000

Rated RPMs---------------------975

Compression ratio-------------3.96:1

Horse power (drawbar)-------18.72

Horse power (PTO)------------24.71

Price -1939---------------------$1,050


John Deere Model A 1941-1952 Row Crop

Bore and stroke-----------------5.50 x 6.75

Rated RPMs---------------------975

Compression ratio--------------5.60:1

Horse power (drawbar)--------34.14 - Neb. test

Horse power (belt)--------------38.02 - Neb. test

Price -1952---------------------$2,513