Francesco Cassani



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On 15 February 1927, the Italian provincial newspaper of Bergano announced that a 21 year old local man, Francesco Cassani, succeeded in developing the world’s first diesel powered tractor.

Shortly after that, Cassani announced that his diesel-powered tractor saves up to 60% of fuel consumption.  The Italian Minister of Agriculture, Marescalchi, was impressed but insisted that the facts need to be proved.  He announced a competition to confirm the facts, known as the Trattrice Agricola Italiana.  It took place in 1928 in Rome and all the tractor manufacturers of Europe competed.  Cassani won this competition.  In 1952 Cassani invented the world’s first four-wheel drive diesel powered tractor.  He initially invented this tractor 35 years ago.  The chassis’s of his two-wheel drive tractors was invented for four-wheel drive.

Cassani often experienced difficult times.  In 1952, when the first SAME tractor was introduced, only 33 were sold.  In 1950, on the brink of bankruptcy, Cassani went to the Milan show and still only sold a few tractors.  As he walked away from his station, feeling discouraged and defeated by the thought of not meeting his obligations, he was approached by a priest, reverend Don Zeno.

He begged Cassani to donate a tractor to a camp he established for homeless, abandoned children where they grow crops for an income.  The other four tractor manufacturers rejected his request.  Cassani realized that he is not in a very good financial position to donate a tractor.  Instead, he conversed with his suppliers to donate the parts of the tractor.  He fulfilled reverend Don Zeno’s request.  From that day orders streamed in...  Was it coincidence?

 

Francesco Cassani