International Harvester Company (Working Proof)

International Harvester Company (Working Proof)
Item# 4287intlharv

International Harvester Company (Working Proof)

This item is an extremely rare American Bank Note Company working proof for an International Harvester Company stock warrant.

Reference:   Working proofs were used during the American Bank Note pre-production process. Each piece details the intricacies of the old fashioned cut-and-paste method in which the designs were developed. The proof was subsequently circulated amongst American Bank Note Company officials and the executives of the customer (in this case International Harvester) for editing and approval. The markings from this process are evident on the layers of the proof and the distribution board as detailed by the images below. Once the approval and editing process was completed, the mass production of the certificate occurred for distribution to eventual shareholders. This unique item offers a glimpse into the bank note approval and printing process.

Item Contents:   Working proof (1 piece), mounted on a cardboard backing.
Presentation:   This item is presented on an oversized, rigid hard board that measures 12 1/2" (w) x 9 (h).
Proof Sheet:   The main proof (pictured above) is a xerox of an original specimen, and is covered by a clear layer (tissue sheet) with the working markings from the editing process. Other original markings appear directly on the proof sheet.

Cardboard Backing:   The outside of the cardboard backing also contains approval notations as shown below:

Company History:   The roots of International Harvester run to the 1830s, when Cyrus Hall McCormick, an inventor from Virginia, finalized his version of a horse-drawn reaper, which he field-demonstrated throughout 1831, and for which he received a patent in 1834. Together with his brother Leander J. McCormick (1819–1900), McCormick moved to Chicago in 1847 and started the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company. The McCormick reaper sold well, partially as a result of savvy and innovative business practices. Their products came onto the market just as the development of railroads offered wide distribution to distant market areas. He developed marketing and sales techniques, developing a vast network of trained salesmen able to demonstrate operation of the machines in the field.

McCormick died in 1884, with his company passing to his son, Cyrus McCormick, Jr. In 1902 the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company and Deering Harvester Company, along with three smaller agricultural equipment firms (Milwaukee; Plano; and Warder, Bushnell, and Glessner—manufacturers of Champion brand) merged to create the International Harvester Company. In 1919, the Parlin and Orendorff factory in Canton, Illinois was a leader in the plow manufacturing industry. International Harvester purchased the factory calling it the Canton Works; it continued production for many decades.

In 1926 IH's Farmall Works began production in a new plant in Rock Island, Illinois, built solely to produce the new Farmall tractor. By 1930, the 100,000th Farmall was produced. IH next set their sights on introducing a true 'general-purpose' tractor designed to satisfy the needs of the average American family farmer. The resulting 'letter' series of Raymond Loewy-designed Farmall tractors in 1939 proved a huge success, and IH enjoyed a sales lead in tractors and related equipment that continued through much of the 1940s and 1950s, despite stiff competition from Ford, John Deere and other tractor manufacturers. In 1946 IH acquired a World War II defense plant in Louisville, Kentucky, which was enlarged, expanded, and re-equipped for production of the Farmall A, B, and the new 340 tractors. In 1974, the 5 millionth IHC tractor was produced at the Rock Island Farmall plant.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, despite good sales, IH's profit margins remained slim. The continual adding of unrelated business lines created a somewhat unwieldy corporate organization, and the company found it difficult to focus on a primary business, be it agricultural equipment, construction equipment, or truck production. An overly conservative management, combined with a rigid policy of in-house promotions tended to stifle new management strategies as well as technical innovation. Products with increasingly ancient technology continued in production year after year despite their marginal addition to sales. Worse, IH now not only faced a threat of stiff competition in each of its main corporate businesses, but also had to contend with greatly increased production costs, primarily due to labor and government-imposed environmental and safety regulations.

In 1979 IH named a new CEO, who was determined to improve profit margins and drastically cut a ballooning cost structure. Unprofitable model lines were terminated, and factory production curtailed. By the end of the year, IH profits were at their highest in 10 years, but cash reserves were still too low. Union members became increasingly irate over production cutbacks and other cost-cutting measures. In the spring and summer of 1979, IH began short-term planning for a strike that seemed inevitable. Then on November 1, IH announced figures showing that president and chairman Archie McCardell received a US$1.8 million (in 1979 values) bonus. McCardell sought overtime, work rule, and other changes from the UAW, which led to a strike on November 2, 1979.

Soon after, the economy turned unfavorable, and IH faced a financial crisis. The strike lasted approximately six months. When it ended, IH had lost almost $600 million (in 1979 value; over $2 billion today). By 1981 the company's finances were at their lowest point ever. The strike, accompanied by the economy and internal corporate problems, had placed IH in a hole that had only a slim way out. Things only got worse until 1984, when the bitter end came. International Harvester, following long negotiations, agreed to sell its agricultural products division to Tenneco, Inc. on November 26, 1984. Tenneco had a subsidiary, J.I. Case, that manufactured tractors, but lacked the full line of farm implements that IH produced (combines, cotton pickers, tillage equipment etc.) Following the merger, tractor production at Harvester's Rock Island, Illinois Farmall Works ceased in May 1985. Production of the new Case IH tractors moved to the J.I. Case Tractor Works in Racine, Wisconsin. Production of IH Axial-Flow combines continued at the East Moline, Illinois combine factory. Harvester's Memphis Works in Memphis, Tennessee was closed and cotton picker production was moved. The truck and engine divisions remained, and in 1986 Harvester changed the corporate name to Navistar International Corporation (Harvester had sold the International Harvester name and the IH symbol to Tenneco Inc. as part of the sale of its agricultural products division). Navistar International Corporation continues to manufacture medium- and heavy-duty trucks, school buses, and engines under the International brand name.

    - from:
State Affiliations:   IL-Illinois

See Additional American Bank Note Company Proofs

All certificates are sold only as collectible pieces, as they are either canceled or obsolete. Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied. Unless otherwise indicated, images are representative of the piece(s) you will receive.