The Influence of Industrial designer Raymond Loewy Raymond was born in Paris in 1893, the son of a Jewish father and Catholic mother. As a young boy, he loved art and constantly sketched everything from locomotives, automobiles, planes and boats. As a young man, he served four years in the French army during World War I. Returning home, he found that both his parents had died of the Spanish flu, which killed millions worldwide. He was left with no inheritance and a bleak future. He decided that his fortune lay across the ocean in the United States and with the last of his money, booked a passage to New York, where he planned to apply for a job as an engineer with General Electric. However, it was his sketch book that caught the most attention. His vision of everything from appliances and locomotives to cars was sleek, stylish and modern. His vision was that of Industrial Designer, a new concept to most Americans. Loewy wrote, “The country was flooded with refrigerators on spindly legs and topped by towering tanks. Typewriters were enormous and sinister looking.” His core belief was, “Between two products equal in price, function and quality, the better looking product will outsell the other.” Simply stated, it was form over function. Through the late 1930’s Loewy had landed design contracts with Sears and Roebuck, Westinghouse, Pennsylvania Railroad and Studebaker to name just a few. Lowey was amazingly prolific. Just a few of his designs over a long career included: the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, Schick electric razors, International Harvester Metro Van, Lincoln Continentals, the design for Air Force One, interior for Air France Concorde, the Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell logo, the Sunbeam Alpine sports car, John F. Kennedy stamp and in 1958, the Cockshutt 500 Series tractors. Massey-Harris President James Duncan and the Model 101 Born in Paris in 1893, he was exceedingly ambitious and joined the company at seventeen years of age in the Paris office. After working in France for several years, he was transferred to branches in Germany and then Argentina. In 1935, he was transferred from Argentina to Toronto, accepting the position of General Sales Manager. His roots were in the implement business but he had acquired the deportment of a well-traveled gentleman who spoke several languages and understood the cultures and customs of the different countries where he had previously worked. He never forgot his fascination with the industrial designs of Raymond Loewy and began his search for a way to incorporate the sweeping lines into a new, modern model of farm tractor. However, the first challenge he faced was dealing with the current Massey-Harris General Manager, B.W. Burtsell. It was the middle of the Great Depression and Burtsell was intent on downsizing the company by shuttering the extensive operations in the United States and many of the European branches and factories as well. Duncan argued that the worst of the depression was over and closing the company’s foreign holdings would destroy the company. Duncan told the Board of Directors that he would guarantee losses for 1936 would be less than $250,000–chump change by today’s standards. Duncan was proven correct and promoted to General Manager–Burtsell resigned. The Model 101 New Modern Streamline Design Duncan traveled to Racine, Wisconsin and hired new members for the engineering staff, explaining to them the Loewy concept of industrial. This revolutionary new tractor not only had to look smooth and modern but had to sound different that most machines on the market. One group of engineers began developing design sketches of what this new tractor would look like. The other group started work on adapting the L-head Chrysler six-cylinder engine for tractor specifications. The Oliver Corporation was having great success with a six-cylinder engine of their own design in the Model 70. However, Massey-Harris did not have the time or money to begin research and development of their own in-house built engine. So, an engine of proven reliability and availability was agreed upon. THE CHRYSLER 201cid 6-CYLINDER ENGINE The choice of the Chrysler built engine was a wise move by James Duncan and his engineering staff. This is the same engine that was used in thousands on Dodge trucks, which meant that parts were available at Dodge dealerships throughout Canada and United States. Dodge trucks had come standard with electric starting for years, which meant that the Model 101, would also feature electric start engines at no extra charge–a first for any major tractor manufacturer. The new engine literally purred, had a bore and stroke of 3.125 x 4.375 inches and ample lugging power even at half the engine speeds when it was used in truck application. Careful examination of the engine block will reveal a letter stamped into the casting: “P” which stood for passenger car, “I” meaning industrial and “T” indicating truck. (#14) Regardless of these different designations, all three engines were almost identical. The one significant difference was the engine marked “industrial”. It used sodium filled engine valves and hardened valve seats. Pennsylvania resident, Barry Hall, who is very knowledgeable about Chrysler engines, explained that the valves were drilled out and filled with sodium powder, which help dissipate the heat. This is why many of the industrial engines were incorporated into constant use, stationary applications, such as running pumps or powering generators. NEBRASKA TEST RESULTS Tested on September 9-30, 1938, the tractor did extremely well. The Chrysler 201 ci engines produced 70 hp @3600 rpm in a car application. Operation in third gear in the maximum drawbar test, on rubber tires, the tractor developed 31.50 hp. In the two-hour maximum load belt test, the same tractor, operating at 1500 rpm produced 35.40 hp. Then with the tractor in the “Twin-Power” position, which ran the engine up to 1,800 rpm, the tractor developed 40.64 hp. These rating were greater that what the company had been advertising, which allowed dealers to brag to potential customers that the Massey-Harris 101 was actually under-rated and had more power than advertised. Who Designed the Model 101 Tractor? Duncan had staked his future on the introduction of the new Model 101 and it paid off. He hired Lester Píost–a student of Raymond Loewy designs–and appointed him Chief Tractor Engineer. Lester was tasked with designing a new tractor that would set high standards for both visual appeal and durability. The designs Duncan approved resulted in a hard-working and reliable tractor whose looks were years ahead of most other tractor manufacturers. Many years ago, I was visiting with Massey-Harris Field Test legend Leeroy Gordon–at my kitchen table–when the topic of the Model 101 came up. He remembered–when he first started with the company–seeing some pencil sketches of the proposed Model 101 designs and wondering to himself if farmers would embrace such a modern looking machine. I guess the answer was “yes”! In 1958, the Cockshutt Company introduced their 500 Series tractors that were designed by Raymond Loewy himself. They were streamlined and very efficient, however, this was twenty years after Massey-Harris unveiled their 101 Series. What would a serious collector pay for those original pencil sketches? The Unique 101 Hood Medallion The crown jewel of the 1938 Model 101 is the front hood medallion. Appearing on the 1938 models only, most of these beautifully made pieces are missing. The reason being they were attached to the hood by two small studs that were soldered on to the back of the stamped brass badge. The vibration and shocks absorbed by the hood often caused the soldered fasteners to break loose. If the tractor was doing any tillage work, the medallion was lost forever. It appears, that the plating is nickel not chrome and the black and yellow colors were fired enamel. As you can see from the different examples of original condition pieces, these medallions did not weather very well over the years. Changes in the Model 101 Tractor Realizing the popularity of this new design, the next year, Massey-Harris added a 4-cylinder model called the Junior. This 1939 Junior sported a 124 ci Continental engine, which included electric start and rubber tires. Priced at $895, it was designed to complete with lower priced tractors from other companies. Also in that 1939, the designation Super was added to the Model 101. In 1940, a new 217 ci Chrysler engine was added to the Super, give it close to 50 hp on the belt. This gave it the distinction being the most powerful wheeled tractor at the Nebraska Tractor tests in 1940. In 1942, the Super became the Senior, which used a 6-cylinder Continental engine.