Massey-Ferguson Limited, a manufacturer of farm machinery and other equipment, at one time headquartered in Canada, has historic importance in the growth and development of Canada. Established in 1847 by Daniel Massey as the Newcastle Foundry and Machine Manufactory, the company became a sole proprietorship under his son, Hart Almerrin Massey, in 1855, and in 1870 it became the Massey Manufacturing Co. The firm moved to Toronto in 1879 and merged with its chief competitor, A. Harris, Son & Co Ltd (established in 1857), in 1891. The new Massey-Harris Co Ltd was incorporated in 1891, becoming the largest company of its kind in the British Empire. In 1953 the company merged with the Ferguson companies to form Massey-Harris-Ferguson Ltd; the name Massey-Ferguson Ltd was adopted in 1958; and in 1987 the corporation was reorganized into Varity Corp, although subsidiaries retained variations of the old names, eg, Massey Combines Corp of Brantford, Ontario.
From its earliest days the company acquired the rights to innovative machinery, making agricultural history with the Toronto Light Binder during the late 19th century and in 1927 acquiring the Wallis Tractor. The ideas of Harry Ferguson, developed during the 1920s, also gave the company an edge in tractor technology. In spite of financial difficulties in the 1980s (necessitating federal government assistance from 1981), Varity continued to manufacture and sell farm and industrial equipment such as tractors, balers and multipurpose diesel engines. It operated plants in Canada and overseas. In 1994 Varity sold the Massey-Ferguson division to AGCO Corporation, an American farm machinery manufacturer.