In 1926, IH's Farmall Works began production in a new plant in Rock Island, Illinois , built solely to produce the new Farmall tractor. By 1930, the 100,000th Farmall was produced. IH next set their sights on introducing a true 'general-purpose' tractor designed to satisfy the needs of the average US family farmer. The resulting 'letter' series of Raymond Loewy -designed Farmall tractors in 1939 proved a huge success, and IH enjoyed a sales lead in tractors and related equipment that continued through much of the 1940s and 1950s, despite stiff competition from Ford , John Deere , and other tractor manufacturers. [ citation needed ]

IH ranked 33rd among United States corporations in the value of World War II production contracts. [3] In 1946 IH acquired a defense plant in Louisville, Kentucky , which was enlarged, expanded, and re-equipped for production of the Farmall A, B, and the new 340 tractors. Then in 1948, IH acquired the Metropolitan Body Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. [4] This was the manufacturing facility for the bodies of the commercially successful Metro line of forward control vans and trucks from 1938 until roughly 1964. [ citation needed ]

By 1981, the company's finances were at their lowest point ever. The strike, accompanied by the economy and internal corporate problems, had placed IH in a hole that had only a slim way out. [8] Things only got worse until 1984, when the bitter end came. International Harvester, following long negotiations, agreed to sell selected assets of its agricultural products division to Tenneco, Inc. on November 26, 1984. Tenneco had a subsidiary, J.I. Case , that manufactured tractors, but lacked the full line of farm implements that IH produced ( combines , cotton pickers , tillage equipment, etc.) [ citation needed ]

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