Ferguson’s Spanner

Ferguson’s Spanner, Rob Beeton

When Harry Ferguson developed his Ferguson System in the 1930’s, one of his main objectives was to make the integrated tractor and Implement as simple to use as it was efficient. An important part of this system was the ‘Ferguson Spanner’.

Contrary to the popular opinion that this was for dipping the fuel tank, this spanner was designed to be a universal tool to facilitate the adjustment and servicing of the tractor and implement. The inch graduations on the stem were used to check the furrow width and depth, while the open ends fitted most of the nuts and bolts Ferguson used.

The first version of the tool was supplied with the Ferguson Brown tractor and as the’ thread type David Brown used used Whitworth or BSF, the spanner was accordingly 5/8 x 7/16W.  Along the stem was forged the ‘Ferguson’ script in relief. It is interesting that in the 1963 MF35 parts list, it still describes the spanner as being 7/16″ x 5/8″.

When Ferguson linked up with Ford in the USA, the Ford Ferguson and the Sherman implements resulted. The screw threads from then on became American unified so the spanner now became 1 1/16 x 11/16 AF.

.These spanners were made for Ford by the Manzel tool company and the ‘M’ within a circle logo was forrged on the reverse side of the stem, the front having the inch graduations.  Manzel produced these’ spanners long after Ferguson and Ford pated company, each issue after the first being numbered from number 2 on to number 30.  At number 9 the Ford logo along with the 9N17014 part number appeared on the face and in 1948 at number 13, the FOMOCO logo was used. These were’ supplied with the 8N on into the 50’s.

When Ferguson returned to England and Standard Motors started production at Banner Lane the spanner supplied at first had only inches on the face, sometimes with a Staffordshire knot on the reverse. The basic design more or less remained unchanged only with slight forging variation, EN5C and EN18 (Steel grade numbers) appearing in various positions, until around 1970 when the ‘girder’ stem was introduced. Variations on this design had ‘Made in England’, ‘Made in Germany’ and ‘Made in France’ forged on them.

Around 1968 the practice of supplying a spanner with every new tractor ceased and became accessories which could be purchased from the dealer.

Matching ring spanners were produced by Britool, Birdsall and Vapormatic, which were used mainly by mechanics.

Sparex produced a copy of the open ender and Kvernland supplied a lookalike with the ploughs in the 1960’s.

In the USA, Ferguson supplied various wrenches starting with an open ender with Harry Ferguson INC and the part number T017014 on the stem. The toolmaker must have been hungover on more than one occasion because some of these had mistakes on them such as letters missing out of ‘Harry’ and the ‘S’ printed in reverse, these tools were normally galvanised. The next version had Ferguson stamped into the 1 1/16″ end, and TO17014 stamped into the 11/16″ end. The ‘TO’ in the part number identified the item as ‘Tractor Overseas’, as opposed to ‘TE’, ‘Tractor England’.

With the merger with Massey Harris the design featured the MHF logo and the new Massey Harris part number 180 108M 1 forged on the stem. again these were galvanised.

One of the unusual spanners I have in my collection has MASSEY FERGUSON forged on the stem with centimetres on the reverse. I don’t know the origin of this one but I guess it could be South American. Any info would be appreciated.

In this article I can only give a brief insight into this legendary tool and with over 80 versions in my collection and still looking for others I have more to learn on the subject.

Just to end, when the wreckers were scrapping the Banner Lane factory one of the stillages which got tipped into the scrap skips contained over a ton of brand new Fergie spanners!