What Happened to Case Tractors?

case tractors

The Case brand has been in existence for close to two centuries. It has seen a fair share of ups and downs.


We still have Case products, such as tractors and other Case IH parts, in the market. But how has such a brand stayed afloat for such a long time? In this article, we investigate what happened to Case tractors.


Founding Of Case

Case brand was founded in 1842 by a young man, Jerome Increase Case. As a young boy, Jerome had read about machines that would harvest wheat. He got intrigued and became passionate about agriculture and mostly the technological side of it.


His first invention as a 23-year-old was the handheld thrashing machine. His machine started work in Wisconsin the same year, but the following year, in 1843, he moved it to Racine, Wisconsin, and opened the Racine Threshing Machine Work.


Working in Racine gave him access to water power, allowing him to improve his machine.

The Case company was incorporated as J. I. Case Company. However, the company was popularly referred to as Case. The first two letters are initials for his name.


Case continued to grow through the latter part of the 19th century and became an international company with its first expansion into South America in Argentina.


Jerome Case died in 1891, leaving behind a thriving corporation that had brought forth the first self-propelled traction steam engine.


Other Developing Companies That Influenced The Case Journey

Alongside the development of the Case tractors, other players in the market were also producing competing machinery and technology. This input from different players is what led to the mergers that have been experienced in the industry over time.


To begin with, it was the McCormick Company. The McCormick company was in operation in 1871 when a fire decimated their factory. Jerome Case offered to help them after the fire, but they declined. They built a new factory, and in 1881 they introduced the Twine Binder and Harvester in the market. This introduction would mark the beginning of the harvester wars that lived through the 1880s.


At the advent of the new century, in 1902, the McCormick company merged with the Deering Company and three smaller manufacturers and formed the International Harvester Company. Under the International Harvester Company, they produced construction and agricultural equipment, commercial trucks and automobiles, garden and lawn products, and household equipment.


Another company that would be very instrumental in the Case story later is Tenneco. Tenneco has undergone a few rebrandings since its inception in 1930. It started as Tennessee Gas and Transmission Company, then rebranded to Tenneco Automotive, and now it is traded on the NYSE as Tenneco.



The J. I. Case ran for 105 years before being bought by Tenneco in 1967. However, Tenecco continued using the Case name and branding in the market.


Before 1984, however, Case purchased the British tractor manufacturer David Brown Ltd. Also, they bought the majority shares of Poclain, a French construction equipment manufacturer. Case would sell its garden tractor segment to Ingersoll Power Equipment a year before the big merger. 


In 1984, Case’s parent company, Tenneco, bought the International Harvesters agriculture division. The purchased International Harvester agricultural division was merged with the Case agricultural division and rebranded to Case International, which would later become Case IH.

Under the new formation, the company produced the Magnum flagship tractor brand.


Two years later, Case IH bought the Steiger brand. And just as Tenneco kept the Case branding, Case IH kept the Steiger brand to date. Later in 1996, they purchased an Austrian manufacturer, Steiyr.


In 1999, Case IH bought the New Holland N.V. and became CNH, currently CNH Industrial. The merger with New Holland saw Case absorb former Fiat and Fordson tractor lines in Europe. It also revitalized the McCormick brand and redid the design and style of the Magnum and the Steyr tractors.


Technologies By Case Over the Years

The inception of Case was a result of technological innovation. Jerome Increase Case invented the thrashing machine that separated straw and grain.


Case started producing the gasoline engine in 1895, but it was not until 1904 that they sold the first gasoline tractor. At this time, the Case company had expanded into Europe and was doing well in that market. In the mid-teen years of the 20th century, they also experimented with kerosene engines.


Before the gasoline engine, Case used the steam engine, which halted its production in 1927. They produced over 30,000 steam engine tractors until the cease of production.


The founder built the steam engine in 1869 when he built the first portable steam engine to power wheat threshers. Seven years later, Case made the first self-propelled traction steam engine.


With the industry’s and technology’s development, the following revolutionizing technologies from Case were the Magnum tractor and the Maxxum tractor.


The Magnum tractor was the first to emerge after Case and International Harvesters merged. Maxxum followed four years later after the merger. The Maxxum tractor is an economical, multi-purpose tractor that stands out because of its serviceability, maneuverability, power, versatility, and performance.


In 1995 Case IH introduced the AFS (Advanced Farming Systems) system. The system employed satellite technology and other innovative solutions of its time to help farmers monitor yield and maximize productivity.


That same year they introduced the Autosoft sugarcane harvester, which makes sugarcane harvesting efficient. This technology was improved in 2013 by introducing the first two-row sugarcane harvester. The two-row sugarcane harvester improves the harvesting speeds and machine flexibility.


Three years later, Case IH expanded into the application equipment market by adding the production of sprayers.


Later in 2006, they introduced the first commercial cotton picker that could do modules as it is harvesting.


Ten years later, Case IH showcased an autonomous concept vehicle.


Nevertheless, seven years prior, in 2009, they had improved their engine and equipped them with CVT (continuously variable transmission) technology. This technology automatically balances the need for power and fuel efficiency.


In 2018, they improved the safety of tractors by introducing the Advanced Trailer Brake.


In 2020 and 2021, they worked hard to improve farming technology. In 2020, the AFS technology was upgraded to enhance farmers’ flexibility, productivity, and performance; in 2021, the AFS was further upgraded using telematics technology.


Case Tractors Take Home

The Case brand, started by Jerome I. Case, has partnered with farmers over the years. The Case name has seen good times and challenging times. It has adapted accordingly, and to this day, it continues to do so. Farmers trust the brand. Whether it is buying the whole tractor, or just Case IH parts, the commitment remains.