A History of
the John Deere
model A Tractors
Unstyled Model A
John Deere Model A 1934 to 1952
"John Deere's latest contribution to the farming industry - the new John
Deere Model A General Purpose Two Plow Tractor." So read
Deere's advertising literature in 1933. "This Model A is a brand
new tractor - new in it's greater adaptability - new in it's wider
range of utility - new in the array of outstanding features it
contains - new in greater economy of operation."
Rows between crops were 40 to 42 inches....the width of a horse.
Tractors up to this time had fixed tread widths of 40 to 42 inches.
The John Deere Model A was the first tractor to have adjustable wheel
tread and a one piece transmission case. Rear wheels could be slid in
or out on splined axles permitting wheel spacing from 56 to 84 inches.
A significant change especially since many tractors had side draft when
pulling plows. By being able to change rear wheel tread width, this side
draft could be eliminated and thus make steering easier for the operator.
Open Fan Shaft A's
One of the features of the early A's that collectors seek after are
models with an open fan shaft. This was the original design from
serial #414809 until 424024. The fan shaft was not enclosed from
the front of the governor housing to the back of the upper water
pipe, which also acted as a support for the fan shaft.
In the middle of 1938, the styling was changed on the A for the 1939
model year. Electric starting became a popular option at this time also.
From 1947 to 1952 the general purpose Model A's with pressed steel
side frames are known as late styled. Electric starting was made
John Deere Model A's can be divided into two basic groups - general
purpose and standard tread.
1934 Open Fan Shaft model A
Variations of the John Deere A:
AA, two types
A Unstyled - A, AN, AW, ANH, AWH
A Styled - A, AN, AW, ANH, AWH
A Late Styled - A, AN, AW, A Hi Crop
AR Early & Late Styled & Styled
AO Early & Late Styled, Styled & Streamlined
W stands for wide, N stands for narrow, H stands for high, O stands for
I stands for industrial, R stands for regular tread
1949 Late Styled John Deere model A Tractor
Experiments were carried on in 1932 with tractors designated FX and
GX which were to become AA tractors.
February 16, 1933 the John Deere Tractor Company authorized
production and sale of 10 AA tractors. Two models were to be made,
the AA-1 as a 4 speed and the AA-3 as a 3 speed. Beginning on
April 8, 1933 with serial #410000 the first AA-1 was produced.
After a field day demonstration the AA-3 was discontinued.
Regular production of the Model A began at serial #410012 using much
the same specifications of the AA-1 model.
Serial number plates on the Model A all read General Purpose up
After that Model A Tractor replaced the General Purpose on the plate.
In 1935 the old style silk screen decals (with a picture of a deer
between the words John and Deere) was replaced with the Deer
In 1936 the AI came out based on the AR but with industrial yellow
paint, black silk screening, shorter wheelbase, heavier drawbar,
cushioned seat and several other features for industrial applications.
Only 90 were built.
In 1936 the AO was replaced with the Streamlined AO (AOS). It was
based on the AI but covered in sheet metal to protect orchard
trees and crops. In 1940 the AOS was discontinued and the AO
brought back with a bigger engine.
In 1949 the AR and AO tractors were the first Waterloo built two
cylinder tractors to have engine driven high pressure live
In 1947 Roll O Matic front wheels as an option became available.
The price of a new Model A in 1938 equipped with rubber tires was $1175.25.
In 1952 the price of a new John Deere Model A tractor was $2,400.
The original Model A was rated at 16.22 drawbar and 23.52 belt horsepower.
Late styled A's were rated at 35.3 drawbar and 39.45 belt.
During World War II all American manufacturers were under control
by the War Production Board. Nothing could be exported without
a license. Lend Lease began in late 1942 and covered tractors, plus
some equipment. One Lend Lease contract covered 1584 Model A
tractors. Another sent 1000 Model H's to Russia.
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