Petition for a Harry Ferguson museum exhibit in Northern Ireland
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October 25th 2020 marked 60 years since the passing of Harry (Henry) Ferguson, the world renowned Northern Irish mechanic and engineer who pioneered the development of the modern day agricultural tractor. His legacy lives on to this day in Massey Ferguson Ltd which many of you know so well. Furthermore, Ferguson's passion for engineering saw him become the first person on the island of Ireland to build and fly his own aeroplane, as well as develop the first four-wheel drive Formula One car, the Ferguson P99.
His innovative designs were desired the world over, with demand of his TE20 tractor exceeding production in the 1940's, and many thousand TE20's having to be shipped from England to the USA to keep up with sales. As such, a new US Harry Ferguson Inc plant. developed a TO20 tractor to keep up with American demand, leaving the UK's Coventry plant free to supply the rest of the world.
Ferguson's interest in racing also led to his development of the four-wheel drive system, which has been utilized ever since in Formula One race cars and Range Rovers.
Given Harry Ferguson's innovative contributions to the agricultural and motoring world, it seems shocking that there are no extensive museum exhibits of his inventions in his home country of Northern Ireland. The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum displays a replica of Ferguson's monoplane and an early tractor and plough. However, the largest exhibits of his inventions are in England, with Coventry having the most extensive reported collection, including prototype engines, a gearbox prototype for the R5/2 four-wheel drive car, unpublished history of Ferguson research on cars, body drawings for the R4 and R5, dozens of photographs covering the 1940 construction of Banner Lane, as well as various trade and enthusiast press news and features on the TE20 and Ferguson cars.
It is fitting that the man who contributed so dramatically to the progress of the agricultural industry the world over be commemorated in a more extensive exhibit in his home country than merely as an addendum to a large museum site.
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