In the 1800s steam engines on wheels were used to power heavy machinery in the fields. Because steam power was inefficient and costly John Froelich developed a gasoline engine for the tractor in 1892. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that gasoline-powered tractors were modernized and mass produced.
In the 1910s Henry Ford built the Fordson, which was the first tractor to be mass produced. The Fordson was so popular that in 1923 it owned 77% of the U.S. Market; the funny thing is, they were built mainly in Ireland, England, and Russia.
The Fordson’s popularity made gasoline the standard way to power a tractor. By the 1920s every tractor made had an internal combustion engine and was either Ford or Bobcat built.
The tractor in all its years has not changed its design. It was built as a machine with two very large wheels and a cabin that sat right above. The one major design change was more efficient wheels; the modern tractors all have rubber wheels, instead of the old iron wheels. Another change was the cabin; the modern tractors have a much safer and more comfortable cabin for the operator. Other than those two changes, the modern tractor has not changed much.