Landini, part of the Argos Tractor Group, has two events to celebrate this year.

The first being the 140th anniversary of its foundation by Giovanni Landini, who established a business in Fabbrico in 1884, while the second is that it is now 30 years since the Morra family acquired control of the company in 1994.

Like many founders of modern-day machinery companies, Landini started off by working with local farmers, which, in Giovani’s case, included a large number of wine growers, and so it was for this trade that he started to produce machinery.

Hot bulb engine
The first hot bulb engine produced by Gionanni Landini

After the turn of the century, his mind turned to engines and by 1910 he had produced his first hot bulb unit – a single cylinder engine that would run on just about any liquid that was flammable and capable of being fed to the injector.

This flexibility at a time before the standardisation of fuels led them to be popular stationery engines, especially on the European continent and within the various global empires that existed at the time.

Giovanni Landini with family
Giovanni Landini with his family

Anglo American companies such as Ford and International Harvester were focusing more on petrol and then diesel engines, as fuels became more readily available.

The hot bulb and beyond

Giovanni Passed away in 1924, a year before the company launched its first tractor – the Landini 25/30, which was powered by 30hp hot bulb engine.

By 1932, the company was also producing a 40hp model, establishing it as a significant manufacturer of tractors in Italy.

After the war, it became evermore apparent that the hot bulb was a dated concept although production continued up until 1961.

The three sons of Giovanni Landini, who were now running the business, opted to buy in a design, rather than develop their own diesel engine.

Landini Legend
The Landini Legend series used a six cylinder engine from Perkins

A deal was struck with Perkins of the UK and licensed production of the its engines began in 1956, starting the association with Perkins, and then Massey Ferguson, which purchased the engine company in 1959, followed by the acquisition of Landini itself the following year.

Under the wing of MF

Just as Massey Ferguson had allowed Perkins to operate as a separate entity within the company, it also allowed Landini to function as a brand in its own right.

This continued up until 1989 when Massey Ferguson sold off 66% of Landini to Argo SpA, a company owned by the Morra family which then purchased the remaining shares over the next few years, completing the full acquisition in 2000.

Valpadana Tractor in orchard
Valpadana make small articulated tractors suitable for orchards and vineyards

The Morra family also took on the Doncastor factory of Case IH in 2000, along with the rights to build a selection of its models, due to the need for Case and NH to satisfy EU competition legislation.

A brand identity was required for these tractors, so the McCormick name was taken down from the shelf and applied to the tractors built under this agreement, and that brand continues today alongside Landini – although the two ranges are since fully integrated.

The manufacture of all tractors was switched to Fabbrico in 2007, resulting in the closure of the historic Doncaster factory as a consequence, along the creation of ARGO Tractors, which is now the holding company for these two major names and the smaller Valpadana.