Making great strides in mechanisation: the Aberdeen display of January 1937

Demonstrations of implements and machines have played an important role in helping to diffuse mechanisation. They allow farmers and agriculturists the opportunity to see the latest implements and machines at work. They let them see the latest developments and what is available and how it works. Seeing them at work helps to provide insights into how they could be used and how well they would work on a farm.

In January 1937 the largest display of mechanised cultivation was held in Aberdeen. It was described in the Scottish press as being a very significant demonstration. The Aberdeen press and journal published an extensive and insightful account of it on 28 January 1937. It is worth quoting at length for its insights into the significance of the event and what it says about the progress of mechanisation in 1937. It also lists what tractors and implements were on display.

“Tractors and implements in Aberdeen display

Scotland’s biggest demonstration of mechanised cultivation

Farmers from points as far apart as Caithness in the north and Kirkcudbright in the south travelled to Aberdeen yesterday to see the greatest display of mechanical cultivators that has ever been staged in Scotland.

As a demonstration of the point which has been reached in mechanised cultivation the display was one of the most outstanding that has been seen in Great Britain.

Eighteen tractors, working in several fields, totalling fifty acres, gave demonstrations on all sizes of ploughs, from the two-furrow in unit with a small tractor, to the four-furrow pulled by the powerful “crawler’ type tractor.

Despite the fact that the forenoon was marred by snowstorms that at times were blinding, there was a gratifying attendance of farmers from all parts-ready to see and learn of the advances made by the agricultural engineers.

Great variety

The demonstration was help on Hope Far, which is attached to the Duthie Experimental Stock Farm at the Rowett Institute, and the following committee made excellent arrangements-Mr John Mackie, Coullie, chairman of the Governors of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture; Mr T. Hutchison, of Messrs Barclay, ross and Hutchison; Mr A. Crichton, Duthie Farm; Mr T. Fraser, Duthie farm; Mr A. R. Wannop, director of county work for the College; and Mr John Mackie, The Bent, Laurencekirk.

The splendid display of tractors and the great variety of implements provided plenty of interest to the visitors. At one end of the scale was the little Ferguson tractor with the plough in one unit, the latter being operated hydraulically from the tractor, and at the other was the powerful “crawler” tractors represented by the Allis-Chalmers, Fowler and International.

The machines, in their various types, also demonstrated the different wheel types, rom the plain and straked rubber tyre by Dunlop to the crawler bands.

Where speed counts

Such a display is of interest to farmers generally, but in the North-east it is of particular appeal. Where the weather is so variable, the cultivation of the ground and sowing by mechanical means gives the advantage of being able to work at great speed while the weather is suitable, and the same applies to harvesting.

There are also the losses which have been incurred among horses, and the amount of ground that has to be put in crop for the purpose of providing food for the horse.

While enterprising farmers have taken advantage of the many mechanical appliances which engineers have placed at their disposal, the tractor and the implements which it can manage so well could enter much more into the farm economics of the area. Not only in the speeding up of the work of cultivation, but in assisting in the improvement of the organisation can the tractor do a great deal.

Yesterday’s display started off with ploughing by several makes of tractors and ploughs. There was also a display of cultivating for root crop on a field that had already been ploughed and then, in the afternoon, when a large area had been ploughed in, machines were put on to show cultivating by grubbers, toolbar frames, rotary cultivators, and disc harrows, while several displays were given of ridging for root crop.

Tractors and ploughs

The following tractors and ploughs gave demonstrations-Allis-Chalmers, with Sellar Cub plough; Case Model C, with Ransome no. 4 Midtrac; Ferguson with Ferguson; Fordson, with Cockshutt no. 10; international W 30, with international 8s; Lanz Bulldog, with Ransome two-furrow Midtrac; Marshall, with Ransome no, 10; Massey-Harris four-wheel drive, with Ransome no. 3 Motrac; and Massey-Harris no. 23 ; Massey-Harris Challenger and Oliver, with Oliver 8a. Tractor-type tractors-Allis-Chalmers Model M, with International (four-furrow); fowler, with cockshut no. 6; international Trac-tractor, with International.

The cultivators demonstrated were:-Stanhay, Small’s toolbar; Ransome’s Toolbar; Oliver; Sellar grubber; Rotary by Rotary Cultivators Ltd; Fishleigh rotary harrow; Ferguson; Wilders’ Pitch Pole harrow.

Makers of implements and tractors whose names are internationally famous combined in making the great display, and the committee made a splendid job of the arrangements despite the handicap of the weather and the fact that the demonstration had been postponed for one day.


The following were the exhibitors:-G. Sellar and sons Ltd, implement makers, Huntly; John Wallace and Sons, Ltd, agricultural implement makers, Glasgow; R. A. Lister and Co. ltd, Dursley, Gloucestershire; Alex Strang (Tractors) Ltd, Duddingston Gds S, Edinburgh; Marshall Sons and Co., Ltd, Britannia Iron Works, Gainsborough (per George E. McCaw, 112 Bath Street, Glasgow, C2); harry Ferguson Ltd, tractor manufacturer, Huddersfield; Stanhay Ltd, Ashford, Kent; Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies, Ltd, Orwell Works, Ipswitch (per Barclay, Ross and Hutchison, Ltd, Aberdeen); Barclay, Ross and Hutchison, Ltd, The Green, Aberdeen; Peter Small, engineers, Forfar; Associated Manufacturers Co. (London), Ltd (per Barclay, Ross and Hutchison); Massey-Harris Ltd, Manchester; Rotary Cultivators, Ltd., Westminster, London; Fishleigh Rotary Cultivator Co., Ltd (per A. M. Russell, 108 West Bow, Grassmarket, Edinburgh); J. R. Forrester, 5 Weir Street, Paisley; Lanz tractor Co., Ltd., London; J. Allan and Sons, agricultural engineers, Murthly; Harper Motor Co., Holburn Street, Aberdeen; A. Jack and Sons Ltd, Implement Works, Maybole; Jas. Simpson and Sons, Ltd, Prince Street, Peterhead; J. Mackie, Bent, Laurencekirk; Reid and Leys, Hadden Street, Aberdeen; Mackie and Tough, Udny.

Prospective customers will have the opportunity to-day of seeing any particular type of tractor pulling any particular type of plough or other implement.”