International Harvester Company Film Collection, circa 1930s-circa 1980s

Scope and Content Note

The films in this collection are listed in four series: AGRICULTURAL, TRUCK, INDUSTRIAL, and CORPORATE, and are arranged thereunder by date. Although films are placed in a certain series because of the IH products they primarily promote, there are many places where the series overlap. For example, an advertising film in the TRUCK series focusing on the role of IH trucks in industry may also show industrial equipment. Such occurrences are often noted in the descriptions of the films, but not always. The CORPORATE series contains films which promote more than one of IH's main product lines (agricultural, truck, industrial, refrigeration), promote products outside of these main lines (refrigeration, SOLAR), or promote the company as a whole.

The films in the AGRICULTURAL series, which range in date from the 1930s to the early 1980s, concern agricultural matters and equipment. These include advertising films showcasing the production or saleable qualities of IH agricultural equipment, and educational films sponsored by International Harvester concerning agricultural processes in the United States, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Russia, Europe, and Asia, including the production of rice, soybeans, sugar cane, fruit, cotton, and binder twine; as well as terracing, soil conservation farming, victory gardening, and the proper care of equipment. While these educational films were generally made in the 1930s and 1940s, International Harvester also sponsored agricultural films in the 1970s that illustrate professional organizations, computer programs, and other business tools for farmers. The agricultural series also includes some industrial and training films about the manufacture of agricultural equipment. Among the tractors featured in agricultural series films are the F-12, F-20, F-30, Farmall regular, O-12, A, B, H, Cub, 624, 523, 656, 633, 844, 574, and 88 series 2+2 tractors. Among the implements featured are McCormick-Deering and IH combines, corn pickers, mowers, cream separators, harvester threshers, plows, balers, manure spreaders, cotton pickers, disk plows, disk harrows, field cultivators, planters, baler knotters, field choppers, windrowers, lawn mowers, chisel plows, and axial flow combines.

TRUCK series films range in date from the 1930s to 1985, and showcase the production and qualities of IH and IH-related heavy and light duty trucks. These include a good number of advertising films, as well as sponsored films detailing the use of IH trucks in mining, hauling, utility service, delivery, logging, oil well servicing, road building, concrete mixing, and strip mining; and films about the trucking industry, school busing, Attilio Gatti's expeditions to Africa, and recreation (skiing and fishing). Training, company promotion, and industrial films as well as unedited footage in the Truck series show the engineering, testing, and production of trucks, in addition to truck maintenance. Sales training films are also very well represented in the Truck series, and are the most lively of all of the IH films: often vulgar, and often featuring celebrities (David Brinkley). The most entertaining of the sales training films appeal to the distinctively American fraternity of the motor vehicle salesman. Trucks shown in this series include the D-line, L-line, C-line, Scout, Travelette, Travelall, DAF vehicles, Transtars, Paystars, Scout II, S-A 300, Cargostar, RVs, and S-series trucks.

INDUSTRIAL series films (1930s-1970s) include advertising, sponsored, and industrial films illustrating the production and the qualities of IH or IH-related industrial equipment products involved in the construction, mining, logging, railroad, road building, and other industries, as well as in warfare. Equipment shown includes the T-20, T-40, TD-18, TD-6, TD-14, and TD-24 TracTracTors, Payloggers, Payhaulers, Paymovers, crawler-loaders, and Payloaders, as well as Adams, Bucyrus-Erie, Drott, Kimco, Hough, and Yumbo equipment.

Films in the CORPORATE series promote International Harvester and related companies or illustrate various processes and goals of the company, but do not feature one kind of IH product more than they feature any other. In fact, many films in the CORPORATE series may not show any IH products at all. CORPORATE series films include sponsored educational films on dam building, oil drilling, manufacturing, coal mining, logging, construction, disposal, and other industries, as well as sponsored films about performing animals, “speaking” animals, public works, the war effort, erosion, energy use, natural resources, scientific analysis of agricultural equipment, country music, catfish farming, the Young Farmer's Association, and improvements in swine science; advertising and company promotion films touting the virtues of International Harvester and related companies' roles in the United States, Cuba, Mexico, South America, Europe, South Africa, Japan, and Australia; amateur films and unedited footage of parades, postwar restoration, award ceremonies, picnics, life and work at Benham coal mines, Russian agriculture, and fire (at Indianapolis Farm Equipment district offices), among other topics; industrial films about core and mold making, milling machines, gear cutters, tool grinding, statistical work analysis, worker safety, and proper use of tools; and filmed lectures and presentations on management performance, anti-free-trade bills, standardization of parts fabrication, the Solar turbine division, and the scope, organization, and future goals of International Harvester and related companies. Products shown in films in the CORPORATE series include wheel tractors (Cubs, Super A, Super C, M, H, WD-9, 433, 533 104, 724, TD25, 450) and other agricultural equipment (power milkers, balers, cotton pickers, combines); crawl tractors (TD-40s) and other construction equipment (payloaders, scrapers, crawlers, and loaders); trucks (L line trucks, Travelettes, 1972 pickup, 1210 camper special, Travelall, and Monitor); as well as power units, diesel engines, freezers, and refrigerators.