Historie Index

45 Years with the IH Organisation in Germany


The idea of writing an account of my life with the German IH Organisation did not originate with me, but rather with our Executive Vice-President, Mr. Brooks McCormick, who suggested it on several occasions in the course of his visits to Germany in 1966. Mr. McCormick pointed out that the General Office in Chicago, owing to the multitude of political and wartime events in the 1930s and 1940s, possessed hardly any coherent records about the German organisation and hence had no proper notion of the development and growth of the works organisation. I promised, therefore, to make an attempt to write down my reminiscences in chronological order.

I must admit that I know very little of what actually happened between the time of the foundation of the International Harvester Company of Germany in 1908 with the erection of a plant in the port area of Neuss am Rhein, and my entry into the IH Organisation in 1922, a period which also included World War I. The only thing that I have been able to trace is a statement of the annual tonnages supplied, showing that production - which commenced in 1911 - had more than trebled by 1914, but then declined just as rapidly, as a result of the war, until 1921. The reasons for this are no doubt mainly to be shortages of labor and material, as no war damage occured.

Furthermore, if we are to believe the stories of those who were there from the outset, this period must have belonged to the ” good old days ”, since it was viewed in retrospect with melancholy and since the misery and hardships of four years of war had obviously left no traces.

From documents which were still available, it can be seen what changes have taken place in the area of the land occupied by the works up to the present day.

Initial area in      1908     10.000 sq. meters =     1,075.000 sq. ft.

Purchased in     1910       4.900 sq. meters =     160.175 sq. ft.

Purchased in     1920         8.300 sq. meters =     89.225 sq. ft.

Purchased in     1926         4.600 sq. meters =     49.450 sq. ft.

Purchased in     1932         5.100 sq. meters =     54.825 sq. ft.

Purchased in     1936         7.700 sq. meters =     82.775 sq. ft.

Purchased in     1961         1.00 sq. meters =     10.750 sq. ft.

Total area in 1966 141.600 sq. meters = 1.522.200 sq. ft.

In addition, an area of 37.000 sq. meters (= 397.750 sq. ft.) was purchased in 1937 in the basin situated across from the works where the Product Engineering Center now stands.  In198, the Heidelberg Works were acquired. The original area of the plot of land there was 196.663 sq. meters (= 2.114.127 sq. ft.). Meanwhile, as a result of additional transactions, it has grown to 216.732 sq. meters (= 2.329.870 sq. ft.). Heidelberg Works is thus substantially larger in extent than Neuss Works including the Product Engineering Center.

Some Personal Recollections of the Past 45 Years Chapter

1: The 1920s

My entry into the Harvester Company on April 6, 1922 was purely a matter of chance. On the occasion of a visit to the Works, which took place on a Friday, I received an offer to join the organisation on the following Monday. I accepted, and this explains why I started work on such an unusual date.

I had just passed my engineering examination and my intention was to go into the automobile industry, as I had found in the course of my studies that I had a marked preference for the internal combustion engine. But I was also very interested, through the lectures I had heard in college, in industrial organisation, especially time-study, which was at that period an entirely new thing, and I therefore thought that my interests would be served in the automobile industry.

During the visit to the factory, the conversation turned quite by chance to my plans for the future, and the then works manager, a Mr. Hagberg, straight away made me an offer to start work for him, as he was just in the process of setting up a so-called Efficiency Department and was seeking suitable people for it. So as not to give me too time for reflection, he iinsisted on the following Monday as the starting date.

As agreed, I reported for work on the appointed day. However, even the most primitive material was lacking to enable us to embark successfully on this work. Apart from a book written by Taylor on the principles of time-study and a few forms already used by the IH organisation in the USA, there was literally nothing - even tables and chairs were missing.

I was therefore given the job of installing some newly-arrived machine tools - a task which did not greatly contribute to arousing my enthusiasm. After two months had elapsed and the office furniture, which had been on order for a very long time, had still not arrived, we resorted to self-help. We made a desk by nailing boards, which were stocked for packing cases, to reaper header boxes. A chair was also found, and we were finally able to start on our original assignment.

As the name ”Efficiency Department” would not sit well in the plant, we chose the German title ”Betriebs-Abteilung” and defined our activity as planning, processing, time-studies, and method improvement.

This field of activity is now covered by several independent departments. Their titles are Advance Planning, Planning,Rates & Methods, and Value Analysis, Admittedly, we have today a much greater production, more frequent model changes, and consequently, more work and problems, but I sometimes suspect that the so-called ”Parkinson’s Law” is not just a supposition or a joke.

The initial difficulties of this new and unusual department were enormous, for at the outset it encountered only resistance, starting with the heads of departments and the foremen, who saw that there powers were being curtailed, and also with the workers, who were especially distrustful of us and who in the early stages were opposed to everything in principle. Above all, they refused to grasp the fact that for different types of work, different evaluations were necessary. Because of all these difficulties, it was a problem to find suitable young people who were willing to cope with these obstacles. But it is a well- known fact that difficulties are there to be surmounted - and we not waver or retreat.

However, in July 1923, we were obliged to close down the plant, as a result of the occupation of the Ruhr by French forces.

Only a small group remained as a skeleton staff, and it had to perform all kinds of essential jobs, such as guarding the factory and unloading supplies. I myself was for quite some time a factory guard on the night shift and later on I drove our locomotive, as relatively large amounts of material continued to arrive. It should be recalled that we were then in the worst period of inflation, and that finally the Mark sank to the point where $ 1.00 was equal to 4.2.trillion Marks. Hence, the only thing to do was to try to accumulate material in order to counteract the devaluation of the currency. After a few weeks and subsequently, even after a few days money became worthless paper. However, with the end of the Ruhr occupation in March 1924 and with the conversion of the currency into a so-called ”Rentenmark”, this specter was also banished, and production could recommence.

During the shut-down period, we also dealt for the first time with the question of whether manufacture of nuts and bolts by the firm itself would be economically justified. We also asked ourselves the same question with respect to the manufacture of cold drawn material. Nowadays, we take these things as a matter of course, and it may seem absurd to the expert to hear them even mentioned. But at that time, the initial stages, they had quite another siqnificance. The results of the investigation were so positive for these two cases that the installations procured for this purpose were still in use until a few years ago.

We also prepared, during this shut-down period, a so-called suggestion system with payment of bonuses for the workers, and upon resumption of operations we put it into effect straight away.

At the outset, this innovation also gave rise to nothing but opposition from all sides, including even the inspection and engineering groups. Sacrosanct rights probably played their part here.

In order to break the ice, I made as many suggestions in the beginning as conceivably possible, until such time as people gradually became accustomed to this innovation. The system reached a stage of development which has been maintained to the present day. From the commencement of this system to the end of 1966, 5.951 suggestions had been submitted, of which 2.970 were accepted and rewarded with a bonus. The highest bonus granted so far was for DM 3.730 (approx. US S 930).

With the resumption of work, the manufacture of the first binder also began. As is well-known, the binder required a great deal of malleable iron, which we purchased in the early stages from German foundries. Those parts which would have required expensive molding patterns were imported from the US.

Our next line of endeavor was aimed at making the malleable iron ourselves. However, as we had no malleable iron foundry, we hit upon the idea of making use of the gray iron foundry for this purpose as well, melting malleable or hard iron in the morning and then obtaining gray iron from the same cupola in the afternoon. Naturally, we also lacked an  annealing furnace, but our neighbors in the basin across from us, the National Radiator Co., possessed one which was not even in use. We therefore arranged to produce the nipples which they needed for their radiators, in exchange for which we were then able to make use of the vacant annealing furnace.

Everything went quite well for a time, but with the ever increasing production, there was such a shortage of space in the foundry that a simple wooden annex had to be built on the north side. The building was kept so simple that it immediately earned the nickname of ”the stable”, which it retained until its demolition years after the war. Although there was hardly a single building which did not suffer damage of some kind in the war, ”the stable” remained unscathed. As a result of the defeat in World War I, the big armaments factories were suddenly faced with ruin. If they wished to survive, they had to switch to civilian production. One such firm was the ”Rhein-Metall” works in Düsseldorf, which decided to change over to the manufacture of agricultural machinery. As a consequence, quite a large number of people were recruited by such firms from among our personnel, including the foundry manager, laboratory personnel, and the head of the cost depattment. To add to the misfortune, sudden death deprived us of the only foundry foreman we had, thus

leaving our foundry department without leadership. How was the work to proceed there? First of all, the Efficiency Department was given instructions to carry on the foundry management - it had already gradually become the department assigned to put out fires. This had its good points, as we rapidly won the respect of the whole factory and learned a great deal into the bargain.

However, the commissar-type management of the foundry did not last long. At the end of 1924, Americans, Swedes and Norwegians suddenly arrived at Neuss from our Lubertzy works near Moscow, which had been expropriated by the Russians. There were foundry experts among them, and they remained with us.

From 1925 onwards, we again experienced a marked upward trend in production accompanied by an increasingly acute lack of space. As a hedge against inflation, we erected a 4-story production building in 1922-1923, which accommodated the wood shop, as well as a 4-story warehouse. But the real bottleneck was the foundry. It was therefore decided in 1925 to erect a completely new malleable iron foundry with cleaning shop, annealing shop and malleable iron processing shop. In the annealing shop we installed the first continuous annealing furnace to be built in Germany. Initially, it was still coal- fired, but subsequently it was converted to gas heating. It gave us very good service until the malleable iron foundry was closed down in 1960.

In the years 1927-28, we had already begun to switch from tar oil to gas as a heating medium, especially in the forge and in the hardening shop of the knife and bar department. In principle, we had already found the right way, but as the gas mains were far to small in diameter, we literally whisked away the gas from under the cook pots of the residents in the dock area, making it impossible to extend its use to other parts of the plant.

It was not until the mid 1930s, in cooperation with the municipal gasworks and Ruhrgas A.G., Essen, that we obtained our own gas mains. From 1936 onwards, complete conversion to gas took place very rapidly, discontinuing the use of tar oil.

In 1925 I was appointed head of the Efficiency Department. By this time, the department had already become an institution which was considered indispensable in the plant.

We now proceeded to make it into a reservoir from which people could be drawn to fill new positions in the works, created by the technical progress achieved and requiring good theoretical knowledge. Practical experience alone no longer sufficed.

Mention should also be made of the flood disaster which belongs to this period and which occured on New Year’s Night 1925/1926, and which, thank heavens, has not been repeated since. On New Year’s Day, the water was about 18 inches above the factory floor level in all the workshops. Nevertheless, we rapidly succeeded in damming up the water by ramming clay into the space between two rows of planks in such a way that the cellars remained free of water, apart from insignificant amounts.

The northern end of our factory premises at that time had not yet been filled to street level over its entire area and here, despite sandbag barricades, a breach occured in the dke, flooding the wood shop cellar in a matter of minutes. There was daner that the large quantity of processed wooden components stored there, in view of their great buoyancy, would brake through the cellar ceiling. Wading in water well above the knee and working as fast as we could we placed loaded vehicles and carts on the floor above the ceiling as counterweight. After the flood had subsided and the cellars had been pumped out, we found that the big suction pipes for wooden chips, which ran under the ceiling, had been crushed together by the timber like crumpled paper. Production was severely hampered for a long time as a result of the flood. The majority of our factory buildings had floors of wooden blocks obtained free of charge as waste in the course of manufacture of wooden poles. The floors had now swollen thereby dislodging even the strongest and heaviest machine tools from their foundations and forcing them completely out of alignment. We worked for months to put this damage right.

From 1928 onwards, we established increasingly close contacts with our French and Swedish sister plants. In that year, spent an extended period at our Norrkoping works helping them to establish a time-study organisation. Also, an exchange of experience in regard to production methods, processing time, and material requirements for the different catalogue items in big demand, began with our sister works at Croix, which produced the same types of machines as we did in Neuss. This exchange brought tremendous advantages to both parties, and I recall one case in which Croix, for the manufacture of steel double guards, was able to save 200 tons of material a year by changing the material from flat to round steel and by a corresponding modification of the drop hammer dies. Furthermore, round steel was appreciably cheaper than flat steel.

Naturally, this meant that these improved methods frequently brought us into conflict with the works council, especially as at that time we had a works council which was under very strong communist influence and which distributed each month outside the factory gates a scandal sheet with the title ”Der Harvester Prolet”. This paper had as a running feature a discussion of the ”Prince’s Guards”, as the members of the efficiency department were referred to. It goes without saying that this ”discussion” did not praise us. Although by building a new malleable cast iron foundry we had gained more space in the grey iron foundry, it was no longer sufficient for the greatly sxpanded production. The first attempts at mechanisation of the foundry operations began. As an initial tryout we chose main wheels for mowers, which were then required in huge quantities. We built the first roller conveyors connected with a shaking-out unit, which in turn was linked with sand mixers, conveyor belt and sand hoppers. We also installed a sand slinger, but had no luck with it and finally switched over succesfully to jolt-squeeze molding machines. On the other side of the main road, we continued to use the old molding methods for the same mower wheels, and there soon was a rivalry between the two groups which could only be compared to an efficiency contest.

Chapter 2: The 1930s

In 1930 i was for the first time sent to the USA for certain studies. The impressions gained there remain pleasant memories. In particular, i was struck by the friendly and even cordial way in which I was received everywhere. Not a weekend went by without several invitations, which often even extended to the weekday evening as well. At the outset I had reckoned with the opposite, assuming that, as a German, I would not enjoy any great prestige. Apart from efficiency studies of general nature, I had the specific task of examining the possibility at Tractor Works, Milwaukee Works, and Farmall Works of eventual assembly in Germany of the 10-20 and 15-30 tractors. This meant importing from the USA such important components as transmissions and engines, and gradually producing the other parts ourselves, instead of obtaining everything complete from America.

Though the findings which resulted from this visit were definetely encouraging, all this had to remain dormant for many years, because from 1931 onwards we too had to bear the full weight of the world economic depression. From May 1932 the works had to be closed down a second time, and measures affecting the skeleton staff, similar to those taken in 1923, had to be applied. This time, however, there was no accumulation of material, as money and prices remained stable and the situation could rather be descibed as deflation.

During this period, all wages and salaries had to be lowered for the first and only time. In 1933, production resumed, although at first very hesitantly, but in 1934 it increased by leaps and bounds reacting its peak in 1938 (see also statistics in the Appendix).

In actual fact, there were no special developments in these years. New products could not be introduced, as material procurement became more difficult from years to year, until finally allocation of supplies was rationed by means of so-called material certificates.

Another four-story warehouse was built in 1936. In the preceding years a beginning had already been made with systematic purchase of real estate. Thus, the Jansen animal feed plant was acquired, then the Winschermann coal business and finally part of the Neuss flour mill became the property of IH. The building taken over in the process was arranged as a parts warehouse. In 1936 the present administrative building was erected on available space. At first the purchasing department and the Neuss district office were accommodated in this building. A large part of the ground floor was a show room. In l936, construction was finally started of the first section of a tractor plant, where in 1937 the first F-12 tractor, with all local content, including engine and transmission, was built. It had a carburated engine for so-called tractor motor fuel, vvhich was halfway between gasoline and diesel fuel, almost a kerosene.

Our Communist works council, of course, had already disappeared in 1933, and the trade unions were also disbanded at the same period. Their places were taken by a new institution, the D.A.F. (Deutsche Arbeits-Front, or German Labor Front), which was by no means any more accommodating, In this way, the ”efficiency department” never got anywhere, especially not with comparative studies with other IH works, as such comparisons were described as defaming the German workers. All such matters and especially the many ”Labor Front” meetings made life difficult - to put it mildly - for the ”efficiency department” which, after all, was responsible for keeping overhead in line.

From 1934 to August 1938 I was assigned to the so-called Brussels Office, a forerunner of the present Overseas Division in the Chicago Main Office. It was our task to advise the different European works, e.g., on the procurement of new machine tools and other equipment. In cooperation with the works organisations, we worked on plans for new buildings and products. Supervision of productivity was also one of our tasks.

For example, the Doncaster Works in Great Britain was planned completely in its principal outlines in Brussels, as at that time, with the exception of an assembly plant in Liverpool, there still was no manufacturing organisation in Great Brita in. Likewise, the newly commencing tractor production at Neuss was planned in every detail by the Brussels office in cooperation with Neuss personnel. This work, which was so interestina for me. came to an abrupt end in August 1938. Decisions taken by top management were always immediately effective, and it was no different in this case. I received notification on a Saturday, and the transfer back to Neuss took place on the following Monday.

After the so-called Munich Agreement, all American members of the personnel were advised to be prepared to return home

in the near future. I, as a German, had to take over a vacancy at Neuss as chief engineer for all tecnical phases concerning the works, This task was very comprehensive, as there was much additional work caused by the intensitied preparations for civil air defense and similar measures. Furthermore, there was the ever increasing difficulties in obtaining material, as in the meantime the entire industry had been divided by the government into priority categories. As a factory producing purely and simply agricultural machinery and farm tractors, without armament orders of any kind, we were classified among the ”also rans”.

The War Years

On September 1, 1939, World War I I began. As the was operations in the beginning were confined to the East, i.e., against Poland, we in the extreme West suffered no aggravations apart from strict black-out regulations. At the beginning of the war, we had 2.887 employees. This figure was somewhat reduced for a time - for example, 1.106 men were called up for military service in the period up to May 1941 alone - but nevertheless remained fairely constant as a result of new recruitments.

At first, replacement needs were filled by German female labor, but subsequently, and to an ever greater extent, by foreign workers (civilian workers and prisoners-of-war). In January 1945 we still had a total staff of 2.409, of whom 1.567 were German and 842 foreign workers.

Throughout the war period, the work week was 60 hours and from the late 1930s onwards the government enforced a wage and salary freeze, together with a general price freeze, which were strictly controlled and adhered to.

We were not called upon for war and armaments orders, as our enterprise was essential for the food industry. Unfortunately,

however, this did not improve our priority category and material procurement became our number one problem. To add to our troubles, electricity and gas supplies were curtailed. As a result of this, we appointed a commissioner for economy measures, with far-reaching powers and the right to report at any time to top-management. The results were amazing. Even now, in peacetime, it would be an interesting and worthwhile undertaking to appoint the right man for such an activity, regardless of the type of business involved.

The war situation changed suddenly for us when the campaign in the west began early in July 1940. During the night of June 3 we experienced for the first time what it means to live under wartime conditions and to be exposed to air raids.

On that night the first bombardments of the Ruhr area took place, especially of the railway installations. As Neuss is a railway junction, and as our works are only about 400 yards away from the railway installations as the crow flies, our big timber yard, located at the northern tip of our works site, was also hit by some of the many incendiary bombs that were dropped by the first wave. At that time, we had about 1. 800.000 cubic feet of ready-cut and dried wood, almost all hard wood, in stock for the various catalogue items.

This enormous quantity disappeared in flames without a trace in a single night. In addition, of course, all the wooden sheds and other installations burned down. As a result of this gigantic fire, the subsequent bomber formations found a well marked target and dropped large numbers of explosive bombs. Thus, for example, our garage, which was in the neighborhood of the lumber yard and which housed all the vehicles and above which the pattern vault was located, was hit and completely destroyed. In the case of the patterns, this loss hurt us for many years.

The adjacent boiler house also suffered from the effects of bomb fragments, but at least remained in working order. Luckily, a row of high explosive bombs, which dropped in a straight line, fell on the main road through the factory, and therefore caused damage only to cables and supply mains. The twine mill fared worse. The upper floor of the three-story building was hit and at the point of the direct hit all the ceilings down to the ground floor were destroyed, along with the machines located in this area. Much worse than this, however, was the fact that the transformer station immediately adjacent to the twine mill, which supplied this part of the plant, was entirely destroyed by a direct hit. Despite this, within a week, we had erected a replacement transformer station and the twine mill was able to operate again. The transformers were lent to us by the municipal power plant until we could purchase our own equipment. From the first bombardment we learned straight away what disastrous effects the blast cuased by a bomb explosion can have. The blast damages were usually much worse than those caused by the actual bomb hit. Naturally, in the case of such hits, major damage to buildings could also occur, but the damage to machinery nearly always remained insignficant. Damage due to fire caused us far greater trouble.

In this first air attack, we had a large number of hits from highly explosive bombs, and there was hardly a single windowpane left intact in the whole works. Wooden partitions were also destroyed by the blast, and roofs had their tiles stripped off.

It was amazing how on the following morning the entire personnel showed the greatest keenness in getting their place of work more on less back to normal and in resuming production.

What inconvenienced us most during the following days was the neverending flow of visitors from ”the Party”, the military and other authorities who wanted to utilize our damage as a training lesson. Each of them had his set of questions which he wanted to be answered precisely only by those who had been affected. At the beginning of the war we had already been encouraged by, the authorities to establish decentralised stockpiles of glass, roof tiles and building material for emergency cases, and if need be, constantly to supplement these stocks. Throughout the war, this method was also of great help to us.

After this first bombardment, our gratest task was to find how production could be maintained and how replacements for the enormous quantities of burned lumber could be found.

The entire purchase department was immediately sent in all directions to by up stocks of dried Iumber even if the dimensions were not always suitable, and to get them to Neuss by the quickest means. However, we were aware that these purchasing methods, in view of the quantity and the costs involved, could only be a limited and temporary arrangement. Therefore, we instructed our technical people quickly to construct kiln drying installations, a new process developed about that time. This task was accomplished in the brief period of six months, and after a few dismal experiences, this installation. operated trouble-free. It rapidly paid for itself, as it was now possible to make so-called green wood usable within a few weeks. Although it was closed down about six years ago, as it was no longer required, it is still operable.

The rest of 1940 and all of 1941 were relatively calm, apart from the more and more frequent air raid warnings during the night as a result of the ”nuisance” raids. But we rapidely became accustomed to the alerts and did not take them t o o seriously.

Meanwhile, production continued undiminished with the accent on reaper manufacture. Due to shortage of binder twine, grain binders were not always usable. Furthermore, with the occupation of the Ukraine and of the Balkan countries, there was an extreme demand for these machines.

At the end of 1941 or beginning of 1942, we embarked on attempts to process paper - instead of sisal and hemp, which were no longer obtainable - into binder twine. We modified some spinning machines and even developed paper cutting machines to cut the big rolls of paper into strips of the width required for twine. The paper strip had to be moistened prior to the subsequent winding process, so as to ensure that the thread did not unwind afterwards of its own accord .

The thread then had to pass through a drying oven to remove the moisture. Furthermore, the thread, wound and dried in this manner, had to be provided with a wax coating to prevent it from disintegrating in the field after possible rainfall.

After a few experiments, we arrived at an extremely simple method. We cast wax plates about 1 inch thick and placed them between the drying oven and the winding machine. Owing to the heat still in the thread and also because of the additional frictional heat caused by the ”passing through” to the winding process, the paper thread became hot enough to melt the wax and cover itself with a thin coating.

However, all the progress made in this manufacturing process yielded no acceptable end-product, as the tensile strength of the paper thread was too low. It was impossible to increase the diameter of the thread, as the hundreds of thousands of grain binders already in use had knotters which were designed for sisal binder twine. A conversion to larger dimensions of twine would have made it necessary to modify the knotters of numerous machines.

At first we had used German wood cellulose for our experiments but only when we had repeated the same tests with Swedish or Finnish cellulose did we suddeed in producing thread of minimum strength. It proved that success depended solely upon the quality of the cellulose material.

We were indeed the first to produce and market usable paper binder twine, but our favorable position did not last for long. The government soon decreed that all binder twine manufacturers had to use our innovation.

At the beginning of 1942, the relatively quiet period of the war came to an end, and night time air raids became again more frequent and heavy. Thursday night before Easter we suffered a large raid during which a bomber was shot down. It crashed precisely on our malleable foundry into the hard-iron cleaning area. The aircraft exploded when it hit the ground and destroyed the entire cleaning shop and its dust extracting plant. The adjacent charging crane for the cupola melting furnace was badly damaged. The foundry building itself also suffered some damage, though only the usual blast damage to windows and roof tiles.

Without a charging crane the foundry was naturally no longer operational. Therefore, we started immediately in 24-hour

shifts and with the help of a Neuss steel construction firm to dismantle, repair, and rebuild the crane. Everything was finished on Easter Monday, and by Tuesday the foundry was again operating at full blast.

Because of this damage we no longer had a hard iron mill room. The grey iron cleaning room was immediately switched over to a round-the-clock operation. In the daytime, grey iron castings were cleaned, and by night malleable castings. This created the problem of segregating the two types of remelt, malleable and grey iron. Such a situation not only caused interruptions in production but meant - which was much worse - that the melting charges in the cupola furnaces were mixed, resulting in 100 % scrap of the malleable castings. The group of workers who had repaired this relatively large damage to the charging crane in such an incredibly short time naturally saw and experienced nothing of Easter. This showed once again what can be archieved, if there is an absolute ”must”.

As already mentioned, from early 1942 onwards, the night bombing raids increased again. Even though we were not always directly affected, we very often suffered indirectly because of the blast caused by bomb explosions in nearby town areas. For instance, there was one week when we had to re-roof our big malleable iron foundry three times, not to mention other tiled buildings. When we had just finished the work another raid was bound to happen on the following night, and again everything was completely demolished. In these cases, we not once suffered a direct hit.

Parachute mines were used more and more, and these also caused mainly enormous blast and suction. On the highest building of the works,an air raid warden stood guard in a strongly protected shelter equipped with observation slits. It was his duty to pass his observations on to the works air raid protection center. It so happened that on January 27, 1943 an aerial mine fell not far from the observation post. Though the guard was not hurt and arrived at the protection center shortly there after, he was obviously greatly impressed by his experience. In fact, all his clothes had been torn from his body by the blast.

This particular parachute mine had hit one of our four-story warehouses, and also destroyed the rear front of the tool room. Unfortunately, we again lost some of our few remaining vehicles, though we had thought that they would be safe where sheltered.

The procurement of repair material to overcome these numerous losses naturally became more and more difficult. Today it is difficult to explain how we managed at all. Plain transparent windowglass had long since ceased to be available. We only had unpolished raw glass. Glazier’s putty was also in short supply. Furthermore, the puttying of the glass was far too time consuming. Instead, we drilled small holes at certain distances in the steel or cast iron window frames, through which we stuck nails and thus held the window panes in place.

Although not watertight, this method of securing the panes resulted in far fewer being shattered by blast since they were not as firmly held in place as if they had been installed with putty. This was indeed most important for us, and we gladly suffered the extra draft. During these years all the cast iron window frames were broken and we constantly repaired them by welding.

In 1942, Mr. A.B. Schmidt, who was then works manager and who was also the only remaining foreigner on the staff of the works management, left for his home in Denmark. Mr. V.Schneider was appointed as his successor, and I became Mr.Schneider’s assistant. Already at that time, Mr.Schneider was very much effected by his illness. He suffered from severe diabetes and could keep going only throught insulin injections. Furthermore, he was in the grip of a constantly worsening sclerosis. Nevertheless, he helped courageously with erverything to the best of his ability.

On top of it all, the government had appointed a trustee for us, Dr.Eschtruth, a Berlin lawyer who, although a convinced National Socialist, was nevertheless a man with whom it was possible to get along. Usually, he only visited us one day each month and what is more, he granted us all necessary authority. I recall only one clash with him, when he asked to merge with the Krupp agricultural machine works, which was located in the center of the Krupp installations at Essen. However, this request led to nothing because the Krupp agricultural machine works was almost completely destroyed during an air raid.

We then were ordered to supply certain agricultural machine spare parts for Krupp. At the very end of the war, Dr. Eschtruth was called up as commander of a ”Volkssturm” battalion and was subsequently posted as missing. From 1943 onwards, we experienced even greater difficulties with our numerous foreign workers and prisoners-of-war in regards to accommodation and food.

From a labor relations point of view, we never encountered any real difficulties right up to the end of war, and afterwards we had several visits from former Polish prisoners-of-war who came to thank us for the good treatment we had given them.

However, food problems went from bad to worse. Though we received the prescribed quantities from the authorities it was just not enough. This affected not only our foreign workers’ camp but also our own works canteen. Specially appointed members of the purchasing department, together with our kitchen and camp managers, were constantly on the move to buy vegetables as well as potatoes, when abailable, but above all horsemeat, which was less strictly controlled, I will never know how they obtained these foods. But as difficult as it was, even greater procurement miracles had to be performed in post-war years.

From 1943 onwards, Russian regions hitherto occupied by German forces were gradually lost and the need for agricultural machinery slackened in consequence. As a result, our allotments of raw materials were also curtailed. On top of this, to protect our French works at Croix from a very serious threat of dismantling, we had to supply it with work so that even more production capacity became available at our own plant. The ordinance authorities requested us to use this capacity to manufacture munitions. In effect, Croix was never of much assistance to us, mainly because of their transportation difficulties and lack of power supply, but at least we prevented the plant from being dismantled. Raw materials for France had to be supplied from Neuss. We were unable to obtain permission to use rail transport for this purpose. Therefore, we tried to ship the material in small barges which finally reached Croix via Holland and Belgium and the small canals in Northern France. All this took many weeks and return transportation had to follow the same route.

From the end of 1941 until well into 1943, we also had to produce, on instructions from the Eastern Government Department, spare parts for the Russian XD 2 and XD 3 tractors. These tractors were copies of our 10/20 and 15/30 models built in a plant at Charkov. Lateron, in cooperation with a firm in Cologne, we also had to build wood gas generators for these tractors. In this way, we were able to keep our tractor works temporarily busy. Our own tractors, which had no diesel engines, had been struck off the list of scheduled products. However, we did indeed experiment with wood gas equipment for our own tractors, and even produced them on a modest scale, but nothing much came out of this.

Certain authorities were determined that our grey iron and malleable foundry should be used to full capacity. As, however, we could not attain this with our own production requirements, we had to look around for outside orders. First of all, we contacted the big truck manufacturers such as Opel, Ford and Mercedes. They all had to build Opel trucks for standardisation and to facilitate service parts availability. We supplied all three manufacturers with castings, both grey and malleable. Even with this business our foundry capacity, especially that of the malleable foundry, was still not fully used. As a consequence, we received an order from the ordinance authorities to produce rough castings for the minibomb, the so-called S.D.-I bomb, which had a diameter of about 30 mm and a length of approximately 6 inches. For some time we produced only the castings, while the machining, etc., took place in other factories. Eventually we also performed the machining about 35.000 pieces per day in two shifts. We applied what today is known as automation, both in the core making shop, the foundry, and especially in machining. The only difference was that instead of automated equipment we used human hands.

Everything was broken down into the greatest possible number of phases, which required perfect synchronization of every step. In the core molding shop we got by with two core blowers, the second of which was more or less a stand-by unit. The whole process was carried out in a circle on tables covered with smooth sheet iron, with the operators standing inside. The same methods were applied also to process the castings. Only drilling presses were used for processing, because sufficient numbers of them were available. The small tail units of the bombs were supplied to us by Yale and Town in Velbert. After processing the castings, we riveted them in place with a compressed air device. The complete assembly was then spray-painted with a protective coat on a small rotating table. Final inspection was performed by an army inspector who was constantly present.

The filling of the castings with explosive and the installation of the contact fuse occured elsewhere at a place unknown to us.

Our manufacturing method was presumably reported to the higher authorities by the army inspectors, with the result that we soon had visits from high-ranking and even top-ranking military personnel. As a consequence, instructions were given that everybody had to follow our methods.

The whole business caused us a great deal of trouble, not only with the makers of the core blowers, whose manufacturing permits were curtailed, but also with the foundry owners, who had to adapt to our methods. They would certainly have preferred to invest their good profits in capital goods for the future. However, we suffered the most, because the prices that up to then had been paid to us and which the other suppliers also received were considerably reduced. This was done to prevent us from becoming so-called war profiteers. The ordinance administration used two methods of payment. The first and simplest one was a fixed price. Then there was also a so-called ”L.S.Ö.” settlement which was very complicated. According to this method, everything had to be entered, such as material and labor costs and incidental charges. On top of this, 10 % profit could then be added. In other words, those who operated in the most uneconomical manner gained the highest profit. Such a method did not make sense to us.

The greatest danger threatened us, however, from the ordinance authorities and from the Speer organisation. We had attracted their attention by our introduction of a variety of economical production methods. They wanted to set up a committee for such methods in which our organisation would have had a leading position. We were relieved when these plans, owing to the more and more confused state of the war, failed to materialize. In any case, we had every reason to keep quiet, and we intended to be rather more discreet in regard to rationalisation. However, we were never able to give it up entirely, as the following account will show.

The requirements for grey iron continued to decrease, and the question, therefore, arose of how our grey iron foundry could be otherwise utilized.

We recalled the 1923-24 period, when we had also made malleable iron in our grey iron foundry for half of the day. Therefore, we decided to reapply this old method, particularly as the ordinance authorities kept urging us to engage in the production of mortar shells (of the type known as ”W.Gr.8”, with 8 cm diameter) or at least to supply the castings. We examined the molding methods in other foundries and returned with our own ideas about the fabrication. All the foundries molded the castings in a horizontal position, with 4 to 6 pieces in one flask. We immediately thought of using our big squeezers and joltsqueeze molding machines which ordinarily had been used for the molding of main wheels for mowers and reapers. The molding flask for reaper wheels, because of its greater height, was just right for our purposes. This made it possible for us to mold the castings in a vertical instead of a horizontal position. Indeed, the arrangement worked well from the start, and instead of a maximum of 6 pieces, as in other foundries, we had 60 pieces in one flask. Our only difficulty now was that our melting installation no longer had sufficient capacity, but that could not be helped and this we had to accept. At this time, we still had cold blast cupolas, which with equal diameter had a substantially lower hourly output than the hot blast cupolas of today. Incidentally, this old melting installation was so badly damaged by bombing in the very last days of the war that we replaced it with a hot blast cupoly right after the hostilities ended.

We had solved our foundry problems, but now the question arose of the processing of the mortar shells. For this purpose we could not adopt the production methods that we had used in the case of the small S.D.-I bomb because our available drill presses were not powerful or large enough. We therefore hit upon the idea of designing and building a so-called automatic drum-type machine. We welded the machine frame together from heavy sheet metal and stress-relieved it in a large annealing furnace and machined it on a large horizontal boring machine. The automatic machine was, both in shape and method of operation, of the same type as used for mass production to this day. The core of the machine was a hexagonal drum. Two faces were used for unloading and reloading, while the other four faces served simultaneously for machining. Our machine operated from the opposite sides, as four castings were placed on each clamping surface. This resulted in the complete machining of four pieces with each load. This one machine could easily handle as many castings as we could obtain from the foundry. As a result, we now encountered difficulties with the firms which previously had obtained the rough castings from us and machined them in their works. They were suddenly deprived of their supplier.

We also had to accept some ammunition orders affecting the forge shop, in this case the forging of so-called armor piercing caps, which were fitted on the 88 m/m and 10.4 cm anti-aircraft shells for firing of tanks. These heads consisted of a specially tough and hard material which was not easy to forge. Because of the intense heat and pressure of the forming process the inner core of the bottom die had a very short life. In order not to have to rework the whole die continuously, we developed an interchangeable insert of especially high-grade steel. From then on there were no further problems in forging the caps.

I mut confes that this sort of mass production, which we had not known until then, started to become interesting for us - it was only regrettable that it was intended solely for war purposes.

We could not undertake the machining of these special caps. It had to be done on so-called turret lathes, which we did not have free at that time. Furthermore, we would have needed thread milling machines, which we did not even possess.

The question may now rightly be asked: Was it compulsory to accept munitions orders or not ? The answer to this is: Directly no, indirectly yes, for if somebody were unwilling to accept such work, they could be certain that the unused machines would be requisitioned, and this might possibly apply to buildings as well.

To prevent requisitioning of machine tools from our tractor plant, after the termination of our tractor production, we acted as sub-contractor for truck and tank components. For this work we used our most valuable machines, such as turret lathes, semi-automatics, gear cutters and grinders. Despite this, a large number of these costly machines were requisitioned from us towards the end of 1944. We did not know where they were sent. According to rumor, they went to Southern Germany for use in underground factories. We got them back again, quite by chance, some months after the end of the war. They were found at a railroad siding at Hennef on the river Sieg, 30 km south of Cologne.

This concludes the story of our production until the end of the war. We shall now turn back to some other wartime events dating from early 1943 onwards.

Between August l942 and February 1945 we experienced a total of approcimately 20 air raides of varying intensity. According to our calculations, some 360 explosive bombs and parachute mines were dropped on our works area during these raids. The number of incendiary bombs can only be estimated at several thousand. Although many bombs fell on vacant land and only caused blast or other damage to mains or power lines, in the long run only two buildings were spared direct hits. These were the tractor factory and, most important of all, our central substation located in the center of the plant complex. High-explosive bombs fell all over the immediate vicinity and demolished whole sections of buildings, but the transformer building itself was not touched.

We could do nothing else but to surround the station with protection against bomb fragments, because there was no protection against direct hits. Only good luck could help us here, and this we had. Had it been destroyed by a direct hit, the whole factory would have had to close down for a fairly long time with incalculable consequences. No doubt, all manpower that could no longer be employed would have been taken away from us immediately.

From 1943 onwards it became impossible for us to overcome bomb damage entirely, This was especially true where buildings were involved, as we lacked the necessary materials, time, and labor, Therefore, we took to sealing off areas affected by direct hits as well as possible to protect the remaining part of the building against the elements.

With all these air raids, the obvious question arises: How many people were killed? In this respect, we were remarkably fortunate. In the whole war, only three men lost their lives de to air raids on our factory. In two cases, the victimes, contrary to instruction, had left the air raid shelter before the ”all-clear” and had run into a hail of bombs. The first fatal accident cannot be fully explained. The victim was the night stoker of our annealing furnace. He only has a fragment shelter for his protection and after the raid he was found with a small head wound inside the entrance to the shelter. This number of victims may be described low considering the many raids. We would add, however, that throughout the war we insisted on strict compliance with all air raid precautions.

At the end of 1943, we were faced with a new anxiety. We were ordered to submit proposals for relocating manufacturing facilities serving vital products. In our case, it cncerned sections, complete knives and cutter bars without which no crop could be harvested.

The execution of this task was by no means easy, as a number of technical requirements, had to be met. For instance, wiring of sufficient capacity and transformers for 500 volts wre needed for the machine tools with high power demands. Usually, neither one nor the other was availyble, and we were regarded as highly undesirable tenants by the firms which might possibly have qualified. Besides, it was also a labor question, as the output and quality of a knife straightener or cutter bar assembler depend on years of experience. Therefore, the entire location campaign did not suit us. Quite apart from related problems, it also meant an interruption in production for a fairly long time. Finally, the Eberhardt plow factory at Ulm-on-the-Danube was designated as our ”host”. However, a few weeks later, when we still had not begun with the relocation, the Eberhardt factory was almost completely destroyed in a big air raid on Ulm, and this brought us back to the starting-point of the whole business. With all this to and from, 1944 was almost gone. Our section, knife and cutter bar production so far had not suffered any damage, despite the havoc wrought on our works in the meantime by some of the bombs. Nevertheless, the relocation order was kept alive and finally in January-February 1945 we found suitable accommodation with the ”Siemag” at Eiserfeld near Siegen. By that time, however, the war situation haecember 31, 1944, some incendiary bombs fell on our machine shop warehouse and set the wooden shelves on fire. A single canister of gasoline for the motor-driven portable fire extinguisher would have been enough to put out the fire. But this single canister of gasoline was no longer available, and the water supply was also out of action due to bomb damage. We were never able to obtain help from the municipal fire department. We had to look on helplessly until finally the whole magazine burned out. The cncrete celing caved in, taking several machine tools with it into the inferno. And yet, despite the great damage, work in the machine shop continued to some extent. 

Chapter 4: End of the war and reconstruction

The complete interruption of work came on February 27. This time it was not due to enemy bombardments, but to the German ”Wehrmacht” on the basis of the so-called ”Führer’s scorched earth order”.

In the morning, I was summoned by the town commander, who read out to me an order whereby the plant was immediately to be destroyed to the extent that further work would be impossible, otherwise - and so on. My objektion that we were already as good as destroyed cut no ice, for I had to admit that until now we had always been able to resume work, despite all the destruction.

A report that the order had been executed had to be made by the afternoon. The foreign workers were immediately taken eastwards across the Rhine, and our German personnel had to report to the ”Volkssturm” (home guard). We now were confronted with a most difficult problem. How to report full compliance with the order without telling a lie, and yet avoid adding to the construction which, heaven only knows, was great enough already. Finally, we hit upon the idea which seemed to us the best solution.

As already mentioned, our big central electric substation had suffered no damage. We therefore gave instructions to make it unusable by removing and destroying all main fuses. The fuses were destroyed by the simple expedient of throwing them into the harbor.

Later on, when work was resumed, we greatly regretted this decision, as we were then without fuses. The firms manufacturing such big fuses were all located in Berlin, and for us at tht time they might as well have been on the moon. In the end, we succeeded in obtaining these fuses from some electrical supply house, but that took quite some time.

In the afternoon, I reported to the town commander that the works had been made 100 % unfit for production.

The commander was a major in the reserve and he himself - as he had told me on an earlier occasion - had owned a factory in the neighborhood of Brunswick. When I submitted the report, he merely looked at me, but asked no further questions. This settled the matter, but it also put a final stop to any further production.

Anyway, this situation did not last long, The very next day the first American tanks cautiously approached the Neuss area and the town was occupied during the night. This mrked the beginning of another chapter of the war events.

I lived in Düsseldorf-Oberkassel and at the time stayed in a small two-room apartment which had been allotted to me by the municipal housing bureau. My own house had been dstroyed by a direct hit during a daylight raid on January 10, 1945. The regular owner of this small apartment had been called up for army service and his wife had been evacuated. Therefore, the dwelling was vacant. When I returned home that day, I faced the owner’s wife, who had fled from the east and returned to Düsseldorf. She was furious to find a stranger living in her place.,She brushed away my explanations that the housing bureau had allotted me the apartment. I just gathered my few belongings together and went to stay with acquaintances, though it was impossible to remain there for any length of time.

The next morning there were no longer any trams running to Neuss. My attempt to get there by bicycle also failed, because a short way from Neuss any moving object was fired on from the vantage of a high bridge. I had no other alternative but to turn around and ride back, and as I no longer had any accommodation in Oberkassel I went to some acquaintances who lived on the right bank of the Rhine and who still had a fairly large apartment.

I stayed there the following night but when I again tried the next morning to go by bicycle to Oberkassel I was stopped at the ramp of the bridge. Shortly afterwards this bridge linking Düsseldorf with Oberkassel was blown up by the German army. I was trapped and could do nothing else but try to cycle to my parents’ home in the mountains 90 kilometers (54 miles) to the south-east of Düsseldorf. I accomplished this in two days. A few days later we were overrun there as well by the American troops advancing from the Remagen area. My belief that within a few days I would again be able to move towards Düsseldorf was wrong indeed. In the meantime, facilities to cross the Rhine had been set up at the German-Dutch border and the Allied troops by-passed the Ruhr to the North and the South. They sealed the area off in the east and then pushed on from east to west, which meant that Düsseldorf was literally the last town to be occupied. The whole operation took almost six weeks and there was no other choice but to wait. When I returned to Düsseldorf in the second week of May, I was first of all filtered through a refugee camp and generously treated with DDT. Afterwards, I was able to cross the Rhine on a pontoon bridge to the south of Neuss and finally returned via Neuss to Oberkassel, which was my home town. The only thing that was lacking - now as before – was a place to live.

For me, however, there was a much more urgent question, namely: What had happened to IH in the meantime? On the following morning, therefore, I set out on my bicycle towards Neuss. This time I reached the town without difficulty, but was unable to get to our works as the bridge linking the town with the port area had also been senselessly blown up. Immediately next to the bridge there was a gas pipe of about 40 inches in diameter on which it would have been possible to perform a balancing act across the river. Later on a sort of foot-bridge was built on top of it. However, this bridge was guarded by a sentry who allowed only persons with special permit to pass. I took a full day to get clearance for such a permit, and only the following morning was I able to collect it. Then at last I managed to reach the IH plant.

I must admit that I can find no words to describe the emotions I felt when I first saw all that devastation. Deep in my heart I could hardly believe it would ever be possible to make another factory rise from these ruins. If responsible officials from the Chicago General Office, who, after all, lack experience in evaluating major war damage, had concluded that rebuilding would not be practical, it would have been understandable. Other foreign firms under similar circumstances did indeed make such a decision. From mid-May onwards, more and more people reported back for work. In the meantime, American troops had been relieved by British, and we now officially belonged to the British-occupied zone and came under a military government for civil affairs. In the second half of May, we obtained from it the so-called work permit, which meant that we could work if we were able to. However, this ”being able to work” now depended on more factors than ever before. Today, it would certainly sound like bragging if we were to described in detail the measures which at that time were absolutely normal and necessary to get things going again.

For instance, our main road through the factory was so covered with debris that it could only be crossed on a narrow beaten track. We had no vehicles of any kind for carting off rubble. Two davs before the end of the war I had found our last 10/20 tractor to the south of Düsseldorf, lying on a slope of the Autobahn where it had been hit by starfing planes. When we tried-to pick it up in May, it had disappeared. Years later we found it quite by chance not far away from the scene of the attack. The farmer wanted some service parts from us.

The outlying parts of the works area and the inside of the buildings were so strewn with debris that there was no point in using the motor vehicles - quite apart from the fact that we no longer possessed even a single liter of fuel.

We fell back on the origin of all trade, barter. Our dealers simply inundated us with requests for service parts, and as we still had a good stock of spare parts available, we were able to help, but in some cases we also needed help to make progress.

Most important, we needed a strong horse (a so-called Belgian) with a two-wheeled cart which could be tilted to the rear, known as a dump cart. A dealer form the Lower Rhine was soon able to supply us with both naturally in exchange for a corresponding number of service parts. This horse performed so well that we wanted another, and of course with cart, to speed our progress. We finally found a second horse and cart. With these two horses we literally cleaned our whole factory of debris, both inside and out, in an operation that took us months, yes, even years.

The ravages, but most of all the thefts that took place in the period of our involuntary shut-down, had led to a situation in which we lacked even the most primitive things. We had no tools, no tool steel, no vises and above all no power tools and small motors. Before we could make even a modest start on production everything needed had to be procured from somewhere.

We still had sufficient steel raw material to manufacture usable service parts. We sold only against cash because our bank account was diminishing from day to day. Credit was not available, as the banks themselves had no money. Anyway, who would have given credit on war ruins? In July, 1945, our cash was gone and we no longer knew how to pay our wages and salaries.

I should mention that our personnel deserved high praise at that time, remaining faithful to us despite all hardships, although it was then possible to earn more money by dealing for a few hours on the black market than by doing honest work for a whole week

Until the end of the war, our administration, i.e., sales and accounting, was in Berlin-Tempelhof. Production orders, provided they were not for armaments, were allocated to the factory from there, as were the necessary funds. But now Berlin was an inaccessible distance from us. We learned from employees of the IH administration who succeeded in getting through to the west after the Russian occupation in Berlin and who were now with us at Neuss, that in the very last days an attempt had been made to transfer 6 million marks to banks in Hamburg. We had to obtain this money, as it was our only salvation. The big problem was now, the only connection to Hamburg were coal trains, and people who wanted to go somewhere in that direction crowed in thick clusters on the open coal trucks. No-one could say how long such a trip by coal train to Hamburg would take. It might take days, but it might equally take a week or more. A trip to Hamburg by this means was out of question, especially as it was impossible to know how return transportation could be arranged. The only other possibility, therefore, was to try making the journey by automobile. So as to be somewhat more mobile, we had ecquired through trading a small DKW two-cylinder, two-stroke car, at least 8 to 10 years old, and it was decided to make the trip with this vehicle. I was chosen as driver.

To be able to travel, it was first of all necessary to obtain a travel order. Where great distances were involved, only the military government was competent to issue such a permit. They found our request justified and the permit was granted. Theoretically, the journey could have started straight away, but in practice the situation was quite different. The main worry was how to obtain fuel. Unfortunately, all efforts in this direction were unsuccessful. The only remaining choice was to use lacquer thinner, of which we had several fairly large containers remaining from the war. Oddly enough, they had not disappeared in the meantime. Tests had shown that a two-stroke engine could run on this thinner, although with reduced performance. However, the engine could not start with it. This had to be done in the following manner. First both spark plugs had to be removed, some gasoline poured into both cylinders, then the plugs quickly screwed in again, the engine started and then - before the few drops of gasoline in the cylinders were used up - make a rapid switchover to lacquer thinner. Most of the time this method was successful, and once the engine was warmed up, the difficulties were no longer excessive.

In this way, I travelled to Hamburg and back with half a liter of gasoline which we had obtained on the black market. Otherwise the fuel was lacquer thinner. Apart from this, my travel equipment consisted of two woollen blankets, a few traveller’s food ration cards, of very dubious value, some jars of potato salad, bread and a little sausage. But the main provision consisted of a number of packs of mower knife sections, each containing 25 pieces. At that time, they were as good as gold. At the period of this trip, there was still a curfew for all civilians from 9.p.m. to 5 a.m. I therefore started out at the earliest possible, so as to be at the pontoon bridge over the Rhine at an early hour. Here I met with bad luck. A rather big military convoy was on the move and the bridge was closed to all civilian traffic. It was not until 3 p.m. that I managed to cross the bridge with the first batch of civilians. Thus, it had taken 10 hours to cover the first 15 km (9 miles). For the rest of the day, I tried to push on as far as possible, partly on the Autobahn and partly on the highway, as most of the Autobahn bridges had been blown up. I was lucky and shortly before the curfew I was not far from Minden, the town which then housed the administration for civilian affairs for the whole of the British zone.

I drove up to a farmhouse which – considering the circumstances at that time - appeared well kept and asked permission to spend the night in the hayloft. But at that time a civilian who was driving a car and wanted to sleep in the hay was highly suspect, and even the offer of a pack of mower knife sections did not help. Luckily, a second man came along, who turned out to be an old acquaintance, a sales engineer from Siemens in Berlin. He was the brother of the owner of the farm who had fled with his family from Berlin. Thus, I was able to stay there and sleeping in the hay was now out of the question. I was even invited for the evening meal. To celebrate the event, we had fried trout and potatoes and salad with cream dressing. Later on, the farmer brought out a bottle of home-made-red-current wine.

On the following morning I was off again at 5 a.m. and it was not long before I was faced with another emergency. After barely 5 km (3 miles) the red warning light came on, indicating that the generator was no longer charging. I kept going as far as the nearby town of Minden and soon found a DKW agent. He discovered that a special safety fuse in the voltage regulator had burnt out - but there were no more replacement fuses. The only hope was to make enquiries at a Bosch repair shop, as Bosch had some time previously developed a new generator, which I would like to have installed, but the modification was supposed to be quite complicated. There was a Bosch agency in Minden, and the new set was in stock, however, the shop had been requisitioned and civilian vehicles could only be repaired if no military vehicles were waiting.

Unfortunately, the yard was full of military vehicles. Nevertheless, I approached the lieutenant in charge and told him of my predicament. Again, I was lucky, because he was a Canadian from the Hamilton area and well disposed towards the Harvester Company. He saw to it that I was taken care of between other jobs, and even offered me tea and a sandwich in his office. We had an enjoyable talk, but it was afternoon before I could continue, and it was definitely impossible to reach Hamburg that day. I stopped in a village between Bremen and Hamburg and asked for accommodation in a hotel, but could not get in without a permit from the mayor’s office. Naturally, the office was already closed, but the mayor lived nearby and since he was also a farmer, I soon had - thanks to my knife sections - both the necessary permit and the accomodation.

The next morning I left at the crack of dawn and by 8 a.m. I was already in our Hamburg sales branch, which had badly suffered. The manager of the branch, Mr. Piepenstock, was of course prepared to help immediately in every way.

In accordance with military orders, all the big banks had been broken up into smaller operations. First of all we had to find out wether the transfers from Berlin had arrived and if so at which bank.

Of the total amount of 6 million, 5.4 million had in fact arrived and were now with various banks. We arranged an appointment with the banks for the next morning, as we needed the afternoon for a visit at the Hotel Atlantik, with Professor Denker of the Bonn Agricultural University. He had been appointed by the military government as the top official in charge of food and agriculture - we would now say Secretary of Agriculture - in the British zone.

He had no idea how the grain harvest, which was rapidly approaching, could be saved unless at least service parts were available. I promised to help him with service parts to the best of our ability. However, he was to arrange for their transportation, which was subsequently accomplished by means of military vehicles.

The next morning we visited the banks where my credentials and power of attorney proved sufficient. The only question was in what form the money was to be paid in checks or possibly in cash. Naturally, checks would have been the simplest and safest way, but the banks themselves cautioned against doing this, as nobody could be certain that the checks could be cashed on demand in Düsseldorf owing to shortage of funds. No-one in Neuss had thought of discussing this question

with the banks, and we finally reached the decision to take half in checks and half in cash, since we were not in need of all of the money immediately.

During my visit to Hamburg which lasted two full days, I stayed with our Mr. Piepenstock. On the next day, a Friday, I left very early for the return journey.

This time I did not want to follow the same route, but preferred to travel directly from Hamburg to Hannover, via the Luneburg Heath,and from Hanover to work my way westwards. A torrential rainfall during the whole trip, but the car kept going, though the roads were extremely bad. On the way, I passed through many farm villages, and it struck me as odd that each house showed a red and white flag. I did not think too kindly of these farmers and reflected that in our country some flag or other always has to be flown - if it is no longer the swastika flag, then a church banner, which I thought it was. It was only much later that I learned that these flags were in fact the Polish national flag, for the villages were occupied by Poles. How lucky I was it had rained so incessantly that day!

By evening I had reached the vicinity of Hamelin, but this meant that I was only halfway home. This time I went straight to the village pastor and asked to spend the night in the hay, Actually, I was offered accommodations in the house, but I preferred to remain with my automobile in the barn, as I could not very well tell them about the great amount of money in the vehicle.

The next day, a Saturday, was only half a day for me, as civilian vehicles could not travel between Saturday noon and Monday morning. However, I got as far as my parents’ home, where I stayed over Sunday. On Monday noon I arrived at the Works with everything safe and sound, and for the time being our money worries were over.

I have told this episode only because it is so typical of that period. Today, after more than 20 years, the circumstances can hardly be grasped. Yet at that time there was ever present in this as in many other situations that well-known and immutable ”must” for those who wanted to get their feet on firm ground again.

Now that the situation had suddenly changed, we could also tackle production and reconstruction at the same time. However, we could not yet consider the manufacture of complete machines, because we were lacking adequate varieties of steel, as well as purchased parts for certain catalogue items.

And yet the day came when complete machines again became a reality. At first we did not grasp the significance of the situation when quite suddenly whole columns of military vehicles loaded with partial machine packages turned up at our factory gates, and more vehicles followed throughout the day. We could not learn anything from the drivers, who merely asked for a delivery receipt and drove off again. However, by the type of the crating we assumed that they must have come from our central warehouse in Magdeburg on the Elbe. This made us feel certain that the Russians would be pressing on further to the west. There had been rumors of this nature for quite some time.

The procurement of reconstruction materials such as bricks, cement, glass, lime and plaster, was a gigantic problem. For instance, we employed whole groups of workers chipping mortar from old bricks, so that the bricks could be used again. We had absolutely no lumber, either for reconstruction or for making boxes for packing. There was only one solution, and that was to fell the timber ourselves in the Hocheifel forests, which had been patially destroyed during the war. One of the groups sent out by us spent nearly a year doing this work, which was by no means without danger because of the mines and unexploded shells which had not been cleared away. However, felling timer in the Eifel forests and getting it to Neuss were two different things. In fact, the transportation problem proved to be even more difficult than the logging.

Finally, we ourselves constructed two logging trailers to convey the timber from the Eifel mountains to Neuss, For pulling them, we used a road tractor with a maximum speed of 40 km (25 mph).

The last problem was how to saw the trunks into boards. The lumber mills whom we approached did not want to charge for sawing, but wanted to keep haly of the lumber for themselves. This did not suit our purpose and we therefore decided to build a simple horizontal saw on which we cut the logs into suitable boards.

Often there were iron fragments in the trunks, which destroyed our saw-blades. Therefore, we organized a sort of mine sweeping device, which we were not permitted to have because it was a war instrument.

We had to go through all these operations because it was the only way to get lumber.

As we were still unable to resume production of tractors, we instructed Mr. Blum, who was the manager of the tractor production. to tackle the extremely difficult problem of material procurement together with the purchasing department. How he actually solved this, I can now no longer say. At that time, not too many questions were asked. The main thing was that we obtained what we so urgently needed.

In this connection, I would like to describe two cases which were especially typical.

We had succeeded in procuring a quantity of 10 tons of plaster, but we had to collect it ourselves from Stadthagen, just west of Hanover. Mr. Blum had arranged for the travel permit, diesel fuel, and a reliable forwarder.

Everything went well until the vehicle returned to Düsseldorf at noon on Saturday. Policemen from Neuss were posted on the left bank of the Rhine, a pontoon bridge which had been improved in the meantime. They confiscated the entire load. Quite by chance I was passing by just at the moment when the police and the carrier were in the midst of a hot argument.

Naturally, I intervened and made it clear first of all that Neuss police had no right what so ever to interfere on Düsseldorf territory. Secondly, I insisted on seeing the requisition order, which they were unable to show me. Lastly, I insisted that the entire consignment be placed in.our works under lock and key until Monday morning. To make doubly sure that this occured I myself drove with them to Neuss. On Monday, we quickly discovered that the Neuss Publik Works Department was behind the confiscation. Mr. Blum rapidly put the matter straight. It had come to his knowledge that the Public Works had been reusing our travel permits, which had expired and which we had turned in, for their own material procurement. Tho whole matter was dropped. We kept our plaster and our good relations with the municipal authorities did not suffer.

The winter of 1945-46 was the longest and hardest for decades. The Rhine froze over completely. It was not surprising that our personnel kept asking us to provide some heating material. At this time, we heated our boilers principally with lignite briquettes. In contrast to normal times, we had practically no hard coal, which has a substantially higher

lignite, mostly with lignite briquettes. In contrast to normal times, we had practically no hard coal, which has a substantially higher B.T.V. value, and we just could not sacrifice any o our meager coal stocks. Mr. Blum was therefore instructed to make every effort to procure briquetted by one means or another. He soon discovered that the manufacturer of a briquette factury needed a tractor for his works. Mr. Blum promised to furnish the tractor if they would let us have a hundredweight of briquettes per employee. His partner in the negotiations was so moved by this modest request that he spontaneously doubled the amount. Unfortunately, he soon had an unpleasant surprise upon learing that we had 2000 people. Nevertheless, he kept his promise, as we did ours. The main thing was that we were able to help our personnel.

I could go on and on recounting many other events from this period, but it seems so long ago that all this happened, and such reports would go beyond the limits of this account.

However, I must tell of one more case, since it would have resulted in quite drastic consequences for us, if the decision had gone against us.

At the beginning of 1946, we were warned that the allied commission would examine our factory installations. On the instructions of an advance group, we had to make certain peparations and to prepare documentation, prior to their examining our Works installations, in regard to the possibility of having more machines than necessary.

The Commission consisted of Amerikan, French, Russian, and British members. As we were located in the British zone, the British were chairmen of the commission. The etire accounting office was cleared and tables were arranged in the shape of a large U. Inside the U two plain chairs were placed, one for Mr. Schneider and one for myself, since we were responsible for the works. We had to sit there like poor sinners or more like defendants.

Mr. Schneider’s state of health was so bad at that time that he withdrew after the first day because he was no longer able to follow the proceedings. From then on, there was only oe small chair inside the U, on which I had to sit for a whole week.

The negotiations, or rather the hearings, were held in German. Each member of the commission spoke in his mother

tongue and interpreters then translated into the four languages, and not always correctly, as I could hear myself in the case of the English version. Every time I inadvertently rplied in English a sharp protest was voiced by the Russians. However, this very complicated and time-consuming method had its advantage, because I gained time to reflect thoroughly on the answers. The purpose of the whole enquiry was to find out whether or not we had too many machine tools for the manufacturing program set up by the military government. The Russians were of the opinion that we had far too many machines and I had to prove we had not. I based this on the many catalogue numbers, the necessary production processes, and the required machining time.

The American and French members of the commission showed no interest at all and therefore took no part in the discussions. They were merely present. The verbal fencing ws only between the Russians and myself. The British led the negotiations and were very objective, but otherwise took no great interest. At the end of the week, the chairman conduded that the Harvester statements were indeed correct and declared the meeting closed.

This was our salvation and a further incentive to push reconstruction and production even harder than before, In addition, we were soon expecting our first visit from Chicago, ad naturally we wanted to be able to show them what we had accomplished. Mr. Tautfest was the first to visit us in July 1946, but stayed for only a short while. Then early in 1947 he returned to stay, together with Messrs. Lohrmann and Naylor. Mr. Tautfest had been appointed Managing Director, Mr. Lohrmann, Manager of Manufacturing and Mr. Naylor, comptroller. However, they had to leave their families at Spa, in Belgium, for a considerable length of time as residence permits for families in Neuss or Düsseldorf were not yet granted by the military government. On week-ends they travelled to Belgium to visit their families. During this period, Mr. Schneider retired and I was appointed works manager.

Lastly, I should report,as a sort of climay to our experience, a most kind and generous gift which we received in mid-1947. A ship loaded to capacity with food and clothing tied u one day at the second dock and unloaded, among other things, 1 ton of edible oil, 3 tons of edible fats, 15 tons of dried peas, beans and lentils, 25 tons of cereals and large quantities of clothing. Work clothes and work shoes for the factory personnel, underwear and footwear for the families and, most important, children’s clothes. These were indeed most welcome, as the children had grown out of their old clothes or they were threadbare, and there were simply no replacements. For the greater part of the year, the children went barefoot or wore home-made sandals, the so-called ”rattlers” (because of their unmistakable noise).

We were now able to go about establishing a works kitchen, for such a thing was of course no longer in existence. From August 1947 onwards, there was one good hot meal a dy for everyone and if anything was left over it could be taken home, people taking turns.

Although we had received everything as an outright gift from Chicago, we nevertheless decided to charge a small amount for the meals. All of this money went into a social fund, administered by the works council and a small committee. The purpose was to give some help to works members, but above all to our retired workers when they suffered hardship through no fault of their own. With these gifts, and with the improved financial situation and the gradually improving material condition - although everything was regulated by ration coupons - the belief in a slowly improving future began to take hold. In most cases, the belief itself was worth more than the purchase permits.

This is also shown clearly in the attached statistics on annual production tonnage, based in each case on our financial year ending October 31. To really understand the terrific jump from 1948 to 1949 visible in these statistics, it must be explained that on June 20, 1948, the famous currency reform was introduced, which literally performed a miracle over- night. Simultaneously, all controls and restrictions which had been in force for more than ten years were eliminated. This was the birth of the free market economy, and we were truly fortunate to reap its rich benefits through the following years.

Even so, the beginnings, especially from the financial point of view, were not easy. Every resident of the Federal Republic received only DM 40 to support his new existence. Those few who still had a bank or savings account saw them automatically reduced to 10 % of their actual balance but could not use these funds because they were frozen for the time being. Nevertheless, everybody was happy, and an eagerness to work and to rebuild began to spread which now, after 20 years, can only be described as fabulous.

Chapter 5: Post-war development

Competition cropped up again everywhere and in every field, and this was especially the case in our line. We were completely cut off from our former large eastern markets by the Iron Curtain which had come down in the meantime. According to the statistics, 65 % of the pre-war domestic sales of farm machinery were on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain, whereas more than 90 % of the agricultural machinery and tractor plants were located in Western Germany. In addition, there were many newcomers previously active in the war industry who now turned to the production of agricultural machinery. After all, ”People must eat”.

To remain competitive, it was imperative to bring new designs on the market as rapidly as possible.

We developed an entirely new horse-drawn mower, known as a Center-Drive Mower, which had so many advantages over any other horse-drawn mower that it deserved a longer production life than it actually enjoyed. However, the mechanization of agriculture developed so rapidly, with the number of tractors increasing so steeply from year to year, that all horse-drawn machines were soon doomed to oblivion.

It was thus of prime importance for us to return as quickly as possible to the tractor business. Unfortunately, the initial conditions were far from favorable for us at that time.

All of our competitors, with the exception of Lanz, who built a single cylinder glow starter type engine, had already gone over to diesel engines before the war, i.e., in the 1930s. W were the only firm still building carbureted engines, and more over of a type for which proper fuel was lacking after the war. In addition, diesel engines had for a number of reasons always been very much in favor in Germany.

Our first attempt with a purchased 2-cylinder diesel engine, made by M.W.M. - Motorenwerke Mannheim -, which we mounted into our old F 12 tractor transmission remained for sveral reasons unsuccessful, Not until 1950 did we slowly get into production of a 4-cylinder diesel engine of our own design. We still used our old F 12 transmission, which, however, had been reinforced throughout, and yet neither we nor customers were completely satisfied.

We therefore put all our resources into the development of a new tractor line, and in 1953 we reached the point where we were able to enter the tractor market with the so-called D-line, ranging from 14 to 30 HP. In the course of the year the HP output of the engines was stepped up still further, without changing the basic design of the engines. In the end, the range was from 17 to 39 HP. However, this was the maximum that engine and transmission could endure, but the market was still not satisfied. It demanded more powerful tractors, commensurate with the fundamental changes in agriculture which had occured in the meantime.

With the new D line, we gradually succeeded in reaching second place on the market after Deutz. Constantly increasing production figures forced us to expand our production facilities.

Due to the rapid advance of combines, binder twine requirements fell from year to year. We therefore decided in 1955 to cease our manufacture of binder twine and to acquire the buildings hereby released for tractor production.

Looking back it can be said that this decision was a very good one. Even some years prior to the shut-down, the binder twine business was scarcely profitable, and our limited plant acreage hardly allowed any other solution for enlarging our tractor production appreciably. Besides, it was undoubtedly the cheapest way.

We built the D line tractors for twelve years, constantly improving quality and design. In fact, our quality became so respected that one day a very eminent dealer told me we were the Mercedes among tractors. This was no mean praise for us, and from the attached tables it can be seen that this praise was supported by the annual growth of our sales. Most probably we could have sold even more, but our production capacity no longer permitted an increase without rather large investments. Also, there was more and more demand for a tractor in a horsepower category which we did not have in our line.

Here I should interrupt the story of our tractor production and recount what happened during the 1950s at other parts of the works and in particular refer to our production of agricultural machinery.

In 1953 we received the authorization to construct a new boiler room, as our old boiler, which had been in service for more than 40 years, was entirely insufficient to meet the increased requirements, quite apart from the question of efficient operation. We decided in favor of a high-pressure boiler system using lignite which was by far the cheapest fuel for us. To reduce the high pressure steam to operating pressure, the steam passes through non-condensing turbines, thereby producing electricity. As far as I know,we are the only works in the IH organisation which generates part of its electric power requirements. It pays well for us because the cost of our own electric power is only 50 % of the cost of municipal power, provided that steam production and steam consumption are coordinated.

But now on to the subject of agricultural machinery production. Frankly, this phase of our program, unfortunately, did not develop as well as our tractor production. As I have already mentioned, agriculture had to change its methods extensively after the war to stay alive. This could only be accomplished by means of far-reaching mechanisation, especially as rural migration took place on a large scale.

Thus, during the period from 1950 through 1966, for example, more than 1.5 million workers left agriculture to find employment in industry.

Small holders and small farms could no longer exist and hat to sell or lease their land to larger operations, which because of shortage of labor, had to mechanize to the highest degree. This in turn led to extensive redesigning of all agricultural machines.

The introduction of hydraulic was mandatory to allow 100 % one-man-operation of tractor and implement. At the start of our D line production in l953, our sales people counted of a maximum of 25 % hydraulic equipment. For years now the entire range of farm tractors has been 100 % equipped with hydraulics.

We indeed tried to design or modernize our agricultural machines so well that they could be used as pull-type and mountedimplements, but our competitors were faster and more thorough.

In 1957 we came to realize that a special effort was needed in regard to the manufacture of combines. As the manufacturing plant in Neuss was altogether inadequate for combine production, we tried to find a factory with sufficient storage area suitable for this purpose. On and off for about six months I travelled all over the Federal Republic, at times accompanied by Mr. Tautfest, to examine the suitability of properties offered. Finally we found the Fuchs A.G. railroad car shops, situated in Heidelberg, which were closed down.

The condition of this plant was indeed disastrous, but the location was favorable and also the size of the property was large enough to allow for any possible future requirements. The permises were reasonably priced and immediately available.

In the first half of January, 1958, the purchase was completed. We began immediately with the planning, not hesitating to demolish unsuitable or obsolete buildings. Early in April a start was made with actual construction and conversion. For this work we had set ourselves a time-limit of one year, and in fact we succeeded in getting the first combine off the assembly line at the beginning of May 1959. Mr. Jenks, who was our president at that time and visiting us just then, drove this combine ”off the line” in the presence of our Vice-President, Mr. Camp, and high officials of the Heidelberg City Council.

Mr. Tautfest, who was then our General Manager, was of course also present at this event, which was of such importance for us. Unfortunately, this was the last great event in his long IH career for in November of that year he suddenly passed away, almost unbelievable for all of us. He had just returned from convalescent treatment. Mr. M.O. Johnson succeeded him, but left us early in 1966 to accept a promotion in the Overseas Division at the General Office in Chicago. Under his leadership we carried out the biggest changes which the German IH organisation had ever undertaken. His successor is Mr. B.G. Lasrich, our former sales manager. I do hope that the German IH organisation will keep him for a long, long time to harvester together with him and under his leadership the results of the great efforts of previous years.

In the period from 1954 to 1966, a series of changes took place in the manufacturing organisation. I myself was appointed Manager of Manufacturing in 1954, and Mr. J. Schultze, who had been with the German IH organisation for many years, became manager of Neuss Works. In 1958, Mr. H. Blum was appointed works manager at Heidelberg.

In 1960, Mr. J. Schultze was transferred to our planning oftice in Brussels, and Mr. P. Kamper replaced him as manager of Neuss Works. Finally, I retired on January 1, 1967, ad Mr. Kamper has now taken over my position, while his former job was filled by Mr. H. Schnass, the first of a new generation now coming on the scene.

Until October, 1959, only the assembly of combines took place at Heidelberg Works, while the components were manufactured at Neuss Works. By that time, however, we had mde such progress with the training of workers who had all been ”new” when work first started, that beginning in November, 1959, we could also undertake the entire machining operations at Heidelberg. During the second year we succeeded in getting the plant beyond the break-even point. This was possible because it was designed for the exclusive manufacture of combines. Furthermore, we all had the ambition to prove that Heidelberg could build any required quantity of combines well and at reasonable price.

Unfortunately, we were unable to prove our aims, as decisions taken in 1962 meant the end of combine production in Heidelberg.

At this juncture it became evident that Great Britain would not join the EEC. Until then, it had been our intention to build combines in Heidelberg for the entire European area, inluding Great Britian, while our sister company in Britian was to build earthmoving machines (crawler and pay loaders) for the same area.

This plan thus came to nought, and as high import duties would force us out of the construction equipment market in the EEC, a substitute solution had to be found. This was acomplished by transferring the combine manufacture to Croix Works in France and designating Heidelberg as the manufacturing site for construction equioment for the EEC area. Market research had shown that the Heidelberg Works would thus be fully occupied. Unfortunately these predictions have so far not proved correct.

Market research is certainly just as necessary today as any other research, but in my opinion it has only one week point: it contains too much wishful thinking.

This major relocation of production proceeded very rapidly and by May 3, 1963, production of the D-85 crawler commenced, followed four days later by the H-30 Pay Loader. Mnufacture of the combine components phased out at the same time, while the last combines were assembled and delivered as late as May 25, 1964.

From 1961 to 1962, we also built the Canadian Crawler TD-5 in small quantities. However, there was no great demand, and production was soon halted.

Up to this writing, this one model D-85 has remained the only crawler tractor produced, though in my opinion other and larger units are urgently needed. On the other hand, the nmber of models of Pay Loaders increased very rapidly, and now we make the H-30, H-50, H-60 and H-65 sizes, and in Decmeber 1967, the H-65 C with articulated steering will also be added. As the next model, the H-90 will be considered.

However, even all this is not sufficient to fill Heidelberg Works to full capacity. Quality is bound to help us. I have never heard so much unsolicited praise from our clientele for high quality work as in the case of the items of construction equipment manufactured in Heidelberg.

We are at present building a big central parts depot in Heidelberg but this does not help machine production.

Now back to our tractor production at Neuss. As I have already mentioned, our D-line ranging from 17 to 39 HP had been in production for 12 years and had met with ever increasing success, but no one can afford to stay in business without developing new products. As a consequence, our Engineering Department had for some time been developing a completely new line of tractors, which would meet all demands for the present and the near future. The results were the EEC model series, also described by us as the Common Market tractors, ranging in size f’rom 23 to 60 HP with 3- and 4-cylinder engines in short-and long-stroke versions. In addition, we built over the same tooling and in most cases with the same engine components a 6-cylinder, short- and long-stroke engine, which, depending upon the RPM, develops up to 138 HP. The transmission for the smaller tractors was extensively modernized, while for the 50 and 60 HP categories a completely new transmission was developed.

The same applies to the hydraulics, the front axles and the sheet metal work. They were fundamentally changed for all models and at present we are building tractors which have hardly any similarity to previous types. Although they have been in production for only 1 - 1/2 years, these new products have been so well received by our customers that we have been able to increase our share of the market considerably. We are now close behind our keenest competitor, who previously had an appreciable lead over us.

It was no easy task to achieve all this, especially as it had been decided that the French organisation would participate proportionally in the overall plan. In the end, production was split up as follows: France was to supply the transmission from its St. Dizier works and the three point hitch from Montataire. The German organisation was to supply the engines, hydraulics, complete front axles and wheel disks with rims for Neuss. Heidelberg Works became the supplier of all sheet metal parts for St. Dizier and Neuss.

In addition to the above-mentioned tractor models, we have recently introduced a narrow tread tractor, which is in demand for vineyards and orchards. At present, French growers are by far the largest customers for this type, but we hope to make it a success on the German market as well.

It was nort an easy matter to carry out such a big change without interrupting production, especially as we had to supply on a temporary basis complete components on a large scale to France as a result of the razin of several buildings at the French works, which interupted production of some parts.

All this could only be achieved by very accurate, detailed planning. This led us to make use of the Pert (program evaluation and review technique) system, which had just become known at that time. We set up a temporary department for this which was responsible for overall coordination. Without the Pert system we would hardly have been able to complete the whole intercate plan on schedule considering that we had only 18 months at our disposal between the beginning and completion of the task including machine tool procurement.


The following investment figures will give a good idea of the scope of this project:


For the manufacture of engines in Stage I & II                               DM 67.576.000

For the manufacture of other tractor components at Neuss            DM 20.374.000


or a total of 88 million DM (US S 22 million).


This does not include the investment for the narrow trad tractor, for which a further amount of DM 6.671.000 was necessary (appr. US S 1.650.000).

It would be a mistake to think that this represents the total investment for the manufacture of the new tractor line. The funds which France required for their share also have to be added. They are not known to me in detail, but should be about the same level as our own.


With this investment, Neuss is now in a position to achieve the following annual production:


Engines, new design                                                      65.000 to 70.000 units

Engines, old design                                                        12.000 units

Chassis parts, manufactured at Neuss                             38.000 tractors

for Complete tractor (assembled)                                     24.000 units


With a small additional outlay the last items can be increased to 28.000 tractors.


Naturally, the reader could rightly ask where these enormous amounts have been invested. To answer this question, we must look at the overall aspects of manufacturing. It must be realized that we as a company have traditionally manufactured more of our component requirements than the majority of our competitors.

Owing to the reduction in the production of agricultural machinery our malleable requirements also fell steeply. As a consequence, the decision had already been taken in 1960 to obtain the ramaining requirements from our sisterworks at Croix, France, As a result, the whole of our malleable iron foundry was left vacant.

To cover our grey iron requirements, which had increased enormously because of the new program, we converted the idle malleable iron foundry into a second grey iron foundry fully automated and equipped with electric melting furnaces.

In this new foundry we produce almost nothing but engine parts, while the other castings are made in our old grey iron foundry, which is now mechanized.

The foundry conversion alone involved approximately DM 18 million, but there was no other alternative and now it is paying its way. As a next step, we needed a new steel warehouse, the old one being required as an engine test room. Incidentally, this is the only new building in the program, and the expense is not as high as one might think. We now have a steel warehouse with shear room, which may be described as modern. Except for the material for some automatic lathes, no stock in bar lenghts has to enter the works.

In the forge shop, we left only a few drop hammers and counterblow hammers. All the other hammers were replaced by torging presses, which have production capacity many time that of a drop hammer. Only in this way was it possible to meet the enormously increased requirements for forgings in the available forge space. With the exception of the crankshafts, we fore all other steel parts ourselves.

A single example may suffice to give a good idea of the size of these requirements. Nowaday, all gears for engines are made of steel and have to be hardened. For the above-mentioned quantities of engines we required approx. 800.000 rough gear forgings per year (about 2300 per day) from the forge. It is not too difficult to imagine the size of installations necessary to process these rough forgings into finished products.

The production of front axles, wheel disks and also rear wheel rims is now carried out in continuous operations.

The machining operations have naturally undergone the biggest and most far reaching changes, and it is here where most of the money has been invested. Regardless of whether it was cast iron or steel, if the required quantities made it appear advisable, automation - in the form of transfer lines and similar installations - was introduced and, as is already apparent, with the greatest success in regard to quality and output.

Entirely new methods have been introduced for the assembly of engines and hydraulic components. Both units are assembled not on convential assembly lines but on overhead pendulum type chain conveyors. Even during testing, they remain on these suspension devices and are taken off only after final inspection. We find that this type of assembly line has outstanding advantages over the method used before.

Our tractor assembly takes place on a assembly line moved by a below-the-floor chain drive. This allows unhampered access to all spots during assembly, regardless of which tractor model is produced.

This line also passes through the spray booth and drying oven and then links with another conveyor chain, on which the painted sheet metal parts are already hanging. Special elevators, located on either side of the assembly line, deliver pre-assembled front and rear wheels from the basement. The need only to be mounted on the tractor, which then can be driven on to the rolls of the test stand for final inspection. The tractor is then ready for shipment by railroad, or for export packing, as a large percentage goes to many overseas countries.

This completes my review of the development of the German IH organisation.

After two world wars, several periods of inflation, and almost complete destruction during Worls War I I, IH Germany isagain in a position to contribute its share to a peaceful and happy life on earth, for in the atomic age, all nations of the world must in the final analysis live together in peace if they are to avoid nutual destruction.


 Anyone who has read this report on the development of the German IH organisation since its foundation in 1908, and who does not know all the details, may come to the conclusion that in spite of all political and wartime chaos, the development of IH in Germany has followed an entire positive course.

This would be a fallacy. Not everything in our development has been that positive. Admittedly, in the sector of a tractor and engine design and production we have reached goals that we hardly thought attainable 10 years ago. However, in doing so, we have lost that much more ground in the field of agricultural implements and machines.

Up to 1939, we were undoubtedly the biggest agricultural machine manufacturer in all of Germany. After the war, we gradually lost this position and at present, in comparison with other well-known competitors, we are but an unsignificant factor.

Taking into account the change which took place in agriculture after the war - I refer in partucular to the enormous progress in mechanisation - it is my opinion that the combine is nothing but an evolution of the grain binder. Since our present share of the combine market, expressed as a percentage, commences only after the decimal point, the question arises as how to increase our participation.

My answer is to built combines that the market wants. Naturallv, it is impossible to qet by with a singel type. Binders, after all, were available in a full range of models at the same time. Therefore combines should also be available in a full range of models, which should naturally be as uniform as possible in their basic design for reasons of economy. We are indeed following such a principle with our new tractor line. Here the question arises as to where, in the EEC area, do we have a factory that would be big enough for such a program? The only answer is that we do not have such a factory. However, we could, as we have done it in the case of our tractor program, divide production responsibility which would probably be the foundation for such a program. Naturally, gaps would show up here and there, which might be closed by expanding existing manufacturing facilities. The same kind of pieces or components should, for economic reasons, be manufactured at one particular location and then be exchanged for other parts produced elsewhere. Since motor truck production in Heidelberg was halted and since through the construction of a parts depot a large building previously used for this purpose has become vacant, Heidelberg Works now has sufficient space for a production potential of at least 3.000 combines a year. As a highly seasonal machine, combines cannot be delivered to dealers and farmers uniformly throughout the year and Heidelberg has the necessary free area to store these machines. Also,Heidelberg is a relatively dust-free region. Another fact is that through elimination of motor trucks and because of the considerably lower quantities of construction equipment than had originally been estimated the old number 1 grey iron foundry at Neuss is no longer used to full capacity. (This does not apply to the new number 2 foundry, which will be running in two shifts for the scheduled engine production). Neuss would thus be in a position to supply the necessary cast iron for the combines. I consider it to be worthwhile to make a more detailed study of this matter.

Another case in question are cutter bars. We enjoyed a reputation for building the best cutter and could therefore command a higher price for them as our competitors. There were even smaller tractor makers who purchased our cutter bars to boost the sale of their tractors.As a result of the extensive reorganzisation for the new and appreciably larger tractor program, we had to halt production of cutter bars at Neuss and transfer it to Croix Works.

From that time on the cutter bar business has been falling off. While we had built and sold 16.270 bars of all types in 1964, the last year of production at Neuss, this figure had already fallen in 1966 to 7.828. The reason for this frightening decline is that customers are no longer satisfied with the quality. It may be that they were spoiled by us, but the price also appears to be wrong, since the afore-mentioned small tractor makers no longer buy from us.

In my opinion, design and manufacturing procedure should be reviewed. It should be possible to furnish a product that will again satisfy customers in regard to quality and price. It should also be borne in mind that quality demands differ from country to country. While this is difficult to prove, I am convinced that such corrective action is bound to have favorable effects on tractor sales too.

A third case in point is the production in our works of front loaders, which are used on regular farm tractors. We have always purchased this allied equipment complete from Baas, a Gerrnan company, who are leading in this field. The loader is good, but not cheap.

I believe that if somebody can design and build good modern tractors, they should also be able to deveiop and produce a suitable front loader which would be satisfactory to us and our customers. Heidelberg works is ideal for producing such equipment, and what is more, is in a position to do so. There is a demand for over 2.000 such loaders per year for the domestic market alone. This represents only direct sales by us - not considering the possibility of OEM sales.

These three points may suffice to show far behind we are in agricultural machinery. With regard to other important types of agricultural machines, such as side delivery rakes, rotary tedders, field harvesters, hay loaders, manure and fertilizer spreaders, we have simply been wiped off the map by our competitors.

When our zone managers visit a dealer to take orders for tractors, they should also be able to discuss their agricultural

machine requirements. It is possible that this would mean somewhat smaller sales districts and engaging a few additional salesmen. Our sales organisation is so well developed that this would not create any major problems, and our overall sales expenses would be spread over a much larger turnover. Furthermore, I believe that we simply owe it to our old-established and worls-famous narne, to our good and reliable dealers and our faithful customers, to think in these terms and act accordingly.

This brief epilogue really brings me to the end of my review and my thoughts. While recollecting the past and glimsing briefly into the immediate future, i see no need to worry about the future of the IH organisation in Germany. It was far more difficult to cope with the past than it will be to shape the future successfully.

W. Prinz

© matbush September 2011