In the second half of the 1920s, the Fordson Putilovets tractor was the most widespread in domestic agriculture. The design of this machine, a copy of the American Fordson tractor (Fordson), was first designed in the world tractor industry for mass production, which ensured its low cost. It had other advantages - simplicity of design and control and low metal consumption.
However, the same progressive, innovative solutions adopted to reduce the cost of the machine made it less reliable and durable. It was well suited for use on farms where the tractor driver worked 500-600 hours a year. In the USSR, there was a transition to large-scale farming, it was necessary to process huge areas of fields, machine operators worked in 2-3 shifts. And the American tractor could not withstand such loads, it was out of order, and it was difficult to repair it.
Nevertheless, Fordson Putilovets was at that time the best option, and its production was rapidly gaining momentum. In the first year, the plant manufactured 74 tractors, in the next 422, and after seven years already 32 thousand. It was with the Fordson Putilovets that the history of mass domestic tractor construction began.
This tractor was a copy of the American Fordson-F tractor, which at that time was the cheapest and most massive on the world market. Henry Ford, who became rich and famous thanks to the production of cars, but who came from an Irish farming family, could not ignore the rural machinery. In 1915, he demonstrated a prototype tractor at a Michigan exhibition.
The Soviet government decided not only to purchase an American tractor, but, having copied it, organize its production. This was entrusted to the Krasny Putilovets factory, which was famous for its personnel and organization of work. Six new tractors dismantled and carefully measured all the details. Arithmetic mean dimensions were transferred to the drawings.
Having tested the details for hardness and having carried out metallographic and chemical analyzes, we selected materials and established manufacturing technology. To assemble the tractor, it was necessary to produce about 700 different parts. Many of them required impeccable processing. Even for the masters of Krasnoputilov’s work was very difficult. Not all the details were able to be copied accurately, many tools did not fit, were of poor quality.
Especially a lot of effort was required to make the crankshaft. It was made of a whole piece, planed, ground, milled, filed and polished with an emery cloth. The best locksmith Ivan Ivanov, who worked masterly, was engaged in honing the neck of the crankshaft. On the neck, faceting of more than one hundredth of a millimeter was not allowed. The lathe could not give such accuracy, and had to grind manually.
But even with careful manual processing, it was not always possible to achieve the desired purity. And yet, thanks to such enthusiasts as Sergey Kalintsev, Ivan Ivanov, Alexander Fomin, the work was carried out very efficiently. When business contacts were established with Ford, the plant received an official license and began to receive some parts from America, they were completely interchangeable with domestic ones, and Putilov’s production technology in some cases turned out to be more perfect than Ford.