The origins and organization of the International Harvester Company and the beginnings of the modern market structure for agricultural machinery
Canfield, George L.
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It is the purpose of this thesis to discuss the organization of the International Harvester Company as a function of the extreme pressures and changes going on within the harvesting machinery market. These pressures were so great that it was necessary for the largest members of the industry to consolidate and stabilize the market through drastic reduction in the production of harvesting machinery and elimination of all but token competition. The consolidation of the harvesting machinery industry, however, bore a fundamental threat to the interests of the United States Steel Company and the House of Morgan chosen to consolidate the industry, strove to undo the efforts of the Harvester Company to effectively integrate their raw material sources with the industrial plant. Further, the House of Morgan battled relentlessly with the International Harvester Company during the first ten years of its existence to reduce that company to industrial peonage under the Steel Company and to integrate the resources of the Harvester Company into the financial empire of J.P. Morgan. In the battles for control of the company, the manufacturing elements effectively defeated Morgan's attempts to emasculate the Company and preserved the industrial autonomy of the firm. However, the final success of the International Harvester Company was won at the cost of the effective elimination of the Deering interests from the power structure of the company. To compensate for the reduced production of harvest machinery, the International Harvester Company undertook extensive expansion, first into the remaining harvesting machinery companies to ensure a stable market, next into a number of new products required for the changing market, then into the internal combustion vehicle trade and finally with a broad-based program of export expansion and then foreign-manufacturing. In International Harvester's drive to produce the full line of machinery for the farm, they began the process of oligopoly control of the farm machinery market, through an arrangement with the Massey- Harris Company of Canada at first and later through the creation of a number of full line agricultural machinery firms. This process of producing the full line and reaching tacit understandings on the terms of competition with the Other competitors laid the basis for the modern system of oligopoly control for the farm machinery industry. Finally there is a brief discussion of the use of the International Harvester Company as a test case for the various theories of industrial merger and an examination of the historical treatment of International Harvester.