The John Deere Model M tractor was a two-cylinder row-crop tractor produced by John Deere from 1947 to 1952. My friend Tim’s brother, at 15 years old, bought one used in 1963 from Heard and Vernon Farm Equipment Company in Cumming, Georgia. The M had been in development for several years during World War II prior to its introduction in 1947. The M replaced the H, L, and LA models. Three additional variants; the MT tricycle, MC crawler model, and MI industrial model were also built. The M was the first tractor to be produced at Deere’s new Dubuque, Iowa factory.
It was the first to use Deere’s Touch-O-Matic hydraulic system. PTO and electric starting were standard features. The Model M was powered by a 2-cylinder, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled gasoline engine. It had a displacement of 309 cubic inches and delivered around 20 horsepower.
The tractor featured a 4-speed manual transmission with a top speed of approximately 12 to 13 miles per hour. The Model M was one of the first tractors to come equipped with a hydraulic system. This allowed operators to control various attachments and implements hydraulically, providing greater efficiency and ease of use. The tractor had a rear PTO, which allowed it to power various implements, such as mowers, tillers, and other farm equipment.
The Model M was a compact tractor, weighing around 2,970 pounds without any attachments. Its dimensions were approximately 124 inches in length, 65 inches in width, and 68 inches in height. It has a 6-volt, positive ground electrical system.
John Deere made 45,700 Model M’s. They originally retailed for $1,075 (1952).
A 6-volt, positive ground electrical system is an older configuration used in some vintage vehicles and equipment. In this system, the electrical components operate on a 6-volt supply, and the positive terminal of the battery is connected to the metal chassis of the vehicle or equipment, creating a positive ground.
This is in contrast to modern vehicles that typically use a 12-volt negative ground system. The 6-volt, positive ground setup was common in many vehicles manufactured before the mid-1950s. While it has historical significance, modern vehicles have transitioned to 12-volt negative ground systems due to their advantages in terms of electrical efficiency and component availability.
They have been using the M model tractor ever since they bought it for pulling a hay rake, hay wagon, manure spreader, cultivator, sickle mower, turning plow, harrows, bush hog, scraper blade, and spring tooth plow. Tim has recently performed some modifications including new paint, new decals, new lights, new gauges, rebuilt the starter, new steering wheel,
new wiring throughout, new muffler, new radiator, new gas, and oil caps, new head gasket, and valve adjustment. It has a 3-point hitch conversion on it that his Daddy made. It also has optional extra weights on the front wheels. The optional extra weights on the front wheels of the John Deere Model M tractor are necessary to provide better traction, stability, and steering control, especially when using heavy rear-mounted implements. The front wheel weights increase the downward force on the front tires, preventing them from losing traction and improving overall traction on uneven or soft terrain.
Tim’s brother reminded him that their Daddy built a frame that allowed them to mount a mule-drawn corn planter to the back of the tractor.
Additionally, the weights act as a counterbalance to the weight of rear implements, reducing the risk of tipping over and maintaining a balanced distribution of weight. This enhanced stability and control are crucial for safe and efficient operation during various agricultural tasks.
- “John Deere M” (accessed July 22, 2023) https://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/000/0/3/31-john-deere-m.html
- “John Deere Model M” (accessed May 29, 2022) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Deere_Model_M
- “John Deere M” https://www.tractordata.com/farm-tractors/000/0/3/31-john-deere-m.html
- “John Deere Model M Facts and Key Dates” https://blog.machinefinder.com/25019/john-deere-model-m-facts-and-key-dates