In 1946, British agricultural engineer Harry Ferguson entered a partnership with the Standard Motor Company to produce a new model of tractor, the TE20. Over the next decade, more than 500,000 units of the "Little Grey Fergie" were manufactured and exported around the world. The low price, versatility and capability of the machine made it the perfect solution for farmers looking to take their first steps into mechanization.
For owners, simplicity and ease of maintenance were another key reason for the model's enduring appeal. The TE20 was designed so that a single wrench could be used for all common maintenance tasks. That wrench even had inch markings along its shaft, so it could be dipped into the tractor's tank as a fuel level gauge. The basic owner's tool kit contained only two additional items: a grease gun and a socket wrench for the spark plugs.
Many thousands of Ferguson TE20s are still running today, mainly in the hands of enthusiasts. Few of them will have had any direct contact with their manufacturer since the day they left the factory. But that "sell and forget" manufacturing model has largely been consigned to history. For modern manufacturers, the day a product passes into the hands of the user generally marks the beginning of a relationship, not the end of one.