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The John Deere Model "H" Tractors


The model "B" John Deere tractor, of the early thirties, was the low end power "row crop" model of all production runs, so in 1937 a smaller tractor was started in experimentation, called the "OX". All John Deere tractors started this way and had as part of the designation a "X" in their calling until they received the final go-ahead to build on the line. The first Model "H" , number H 1000, was sent to Nebraska for testing in October of 1938. To everybody's surprise it out performed the expectation of it's manufacturer in every respect. It even set a world record in fuel economy. 11.95 hours per gallon of gasoline under maximum load.

A unique feature was the foot throttle for roading. The three speed transmission was rather slow, compared to other models, but with lower horse power it was a perfect match and with the standard tires it was a smooth handling little tractor that could fill in the smaller jobs, such as cultivating, raking, mowing and traveling wagons to and from the fields for filling. Because it was a smaller version of the bigger tractors it was cheaper to purchase and many farmers would buy it because of this only to trade it on a larger one later or to use it as the second or third tractor.

Another feature that was different on the "H" was the belt pulley. Unlike all other tractor models, with the pulley driven off the crankshaft, the model "H" had the pulley driven off the camshaft. Since the camshaft was located above the crankshaft it made the pulley higher and since the camshaft rotates opposite the crankshaft, it made the pulley run backwards.

The second year of production brought some added options that were common with other models in the John Deere line-up. One was a single front wheel design, for the vegetable farmers. Other items, such as fenders, radiator shutters, and extended muffler. Starting in early 1941, number 27000, it could be ordered with hydraulics, electric starting and lights and at the same time some valve cover and breather changes were made, which caused the exhaust pipe to be modified and the serial number tag to be changed from the left front of the main case to the right front. just below the magnito.


In 1941, the high crops, starting with serial number 29982, single front wheel and wide front models were added to the line-up, mainly for the veggy boys. To make them a high boy they used the model "B" 38" pressed steel rear wheels and made adaptors, #H991R, to fit the smaller axles of the model "H".

The little tractor only lasted a little over seven years when it was removed from the John Deere line-up, on February 6th 1947, number 61116.

One other noticable feature of the model "H" involves the way they done the logos. The 1939 and 1940 models all had silk screening while all the rest featured black edged lettering of smaller size.

Henry Dryfuss never got around to putting anything but a steel pan seat on it because it never got to the same year model as all the rest of John Deere tractors that received this treatment.

By this time, however, this size tractor was being replaced by the "M" class, with the vertical two banger engine, and the Dryfuss bunch didn't see why there had to be an overlap. The little model "H" had successfully filled the nitch for seven years and made a big dent in the tractor market to beat back all the other colors out there.

- 1939-1947 (styled)

Serial numbers --1000-61116
Bore & Stroke---3.5625 x 5.00
RPM --------------1400
HP--Drawbar---12.48--------- Nebraska Testing-- ------PTO------14.84
Price 1939----$595.00
Weight--------3,035 pounds

Picture of Brother Deans "H"