Harry Ferguson, the ‘Mad Mechanic’ who invented the modern tractor

Before tractors, Ferguson was first in Ireland or Britain to build and fly his own plane

Harry Ferguson pictured in his study with his model tractor in 1948. Photograph: Fred Ramage/Keystone Features/Getty Images

Harry Ferguson pictured in his study with his model tractor in 1948. Photograph: Fred Ramage/Keystone Features/Getty Images

When exploring the stories of Irish innovators in times gone by, it’s easy to see a pattern emerge of well-educated ascendancy sons pioneering new ideas - figures such as engineer and inventor of the steam turbine Charles Parsons, and Hans Sloane, the doctor whose collection formed the basis of the British Museum. But Irish emigrants at all levels of society contributed their passion, energy and ideas to the world stage, and continue to do so to this day.

One such innovator from a less lofty background was Harry Ferguson, of Massey Ferguson fame.

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