Andre Citroen set up a workshop in 1904 to manufacture his own design of double-helical gear wheel, and soon established a reputation for mass production of high-quality components. This expertise proved invaluable during the First World War, when the factory switched to producing artillery shells, but when the war ended Citroen was able to turn his attention once more to civilian products. The main focus was on automobiles, with Citroen's first car, the Type A, rolling off the production line in 1919. In September of the same year, a Citroen tractor made its first appearance at an agricultural trials near Senlis. This tiny machine weighed less than 800 kg was intended for use in vineyards and on smallholdings - it was equipped with a 10/12 hp four-cylinder engine, which was similar to that used in the Type A car. The tractor also made an appearance in the agricultural trials at Chartres in October 1920, but by that time Citroen had already lost interest in the little machine and sales were handed over to the Société Agricultural company of Aubervilliers. It is estimated that around 500 of the little Citroen tractors were built from 1919 to 1920. However, this was not quite the end of Citroen's relationship with tractors. In 1924 trials were carried out in France of a half-track machine known as the Citroen-Kegresse, after the rubber track design pioneered by Adolphe Kegresse; the machine was found to be unsuitable for agricultural purposes, but subsequently found favour with the military. After the Second World War, Citroen also experimented with a four-wheel drive, four-wheel steer tractor known as the Model J, with at least three prototypes being built and tested in secret at a monastery, although it never actually made it to the production stage. This was the end of Citroen's flirtation with tractor design, although Citroen engines and other components were later used in tractors built by other manufacturers.

(Click on images below to enlarge)

Citroen at the Musee Maurice Dufresne, Azay-le-Rideau, France in 2007.


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