The Interesting History of John Deere

John Deere is the brand name of Deere and Company. It is an American corporation that manufactures, diesel engines, agricultural products, forestry machines, construction, drivetrains, etc. used in lawn care and heavy equipment. In 2019, it was ranked 87th in the Fortune 500 American and 329th in the global ranking. The company not only sells products to its customers but also provides services such as financial services and other related activities. 

The company’s motto is Nothing Works Like a Deere as its logo is having a leaping deer with the words John Deere underneath. Over 155 years, the company has used various logos incorporating a leaping deer. Its headquarters is in Malone, Illinois. The various tractor series of the company include the D series, E series, super heavy tractor, specialty tractors, and JDLink. 

Who Was John Deere?

Who Was John Deere?

John Deere, a blacksmith by trade determined that the cast iron and wood plow in use at that time was not suitable for the prairie soil that presented challenges now and then. After some experimentation, he developed a new type of plow. He sold the first plow of his experimentation in 1838. Deere designed 10 improved plows for the following and 40 more in the following year. In 1868, Deere & Company was founded and incorporated. 

Foundation of John Deere Company

Foundation of John Deere Company

Deere & Company began when John Deere moved to Grand Detour, Illinois in 1836. He was escaping Vermont bankruptcy. He already established a blacksmith, Deere workshop in Grand Detour in 1837. It allowed him to work as a general repairman in town. Also, he was the maker of tools such as shovels and forks. 

At that, the tools were just the beginning. The thing that set it apart was the self-braking steel plow introduced in 1837. It was the time when John Deere turned a Scottish steel saw blade into a plow. Before Deere’s steel plow, most farmers used wood or iron plows that the rich Midwestern soil clung to. These plows had to be cleaned frequently. 

Leonard Andrus

Leonard Andrus

The smooth-sided steel plow solved the problem and it greatly facilitated the migration to the Great Plains of the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1842, Deere partnered with Leonard Andrus and purchases the land for the construction of a new two-story factory along the Rock River in Illinois.  The factory was named L. Andrus Plough Manufacturer. 

In 1842, it produced around 100 plows and 400 in the following year. Deere’s association with Andrus ended in 1848 and he moved to Moline, Illinois. He moved to access the Mississippi River and railroad. There, he formed a partnership with John Gould and Robert Tate and built a factory in the same year. 

The production grew rapidly and by 1849, Deere, Tate & Gould Company was formed and produced 200 plows per month. Also, a two-story addition was done at the plant that allows for increased production. 

Interesting Historical Facts About John Deere

Tractor Models

Tractor Models

Since 1837, nearly 700 tractors models were designed. As the first plow was manufactured in 1837, John Deere designed approximately 690 different tractor models and sold them to the farmers. The number of designed tractor models includes 38 backhoe loaders, 45 industrial tractors, 8 Waterloo Boy tractors, and 70 Lanz Agricultural tractors. 

John Deere Brand Logo

John Deere Brand Logo

There have been eight variations of the official John Deere brand logo. In 1876, the first logo registered by John Deere was a leaping deer trademark. The logo changed over the years as the company grew in the production line. Before achieving the modern green and yellow image that we all know as of today. 

Charles Deere

Charles Deere

In 1858, Charles Deere, Deere’s son took over as manager at the age of 21. It was the time when economic panic hit the United States. After his father died in 1886, Charles became the president of the company and continued it for another 21 years until his death in 1907. 

Financial Recession

In 1857, the company was producing 1,120 units per month but in 1858, a financial recession hit the country. As a result, John Deere sold the financial interests to his son Charles Deere and son-in-law Christopher Webber. It helped him to avoid bankruptcy.

John Deere as Mayor

John Deere was active in local politics in Moline. As a result, in 1873, he was elected as the second mayor of Moline. During his tenure, he brought the first fire truck. Also, he co-founded the National Bank and served as a trustee of the First Congregational Church. During his time as Mayor, he made numerous contributions to educational, charitable, and political organizations in Illinois. 

John Deere held the position of Mayor for two years in which he worked on the fixing of sewers and sidewalks. Also, he passed an unpopular liquor license ordinance which was criticized by the public. 

Bicycle Production

Bicycle Production

By the mid-1890s, the bicycle became one of the popular forms of transportation in the United States. It allowed John Deere to capitalize on the trend and as a result, in 1894, the company manufactured three models of bicycles. These models were Moline Special, the Deere Leader, and the Deere Roadster. Once the craze subsided, the company stopped the production of bicycles after a couple of years. 

Company Went International

Company Went International

In 1912, John Deere and Company went international. The first manufacturing entity was in Canada. From 1956, the company decided to build factories in Mexico, Spain, and Germany. In the following years, the company’s operations spread to South Africa, Argentina, and France. Now there are 104 john Deere locations worldwide out of which 43 are in the United States. 

51 HP Model R Tractor

51 HP Model R Tractor

John Deere produced the first 51 HP engine, featuring the first power take-off (PTO) with its clutch. It was installed in the Model R Tractor. The Model R tractor had two engines. The first engine was a 416 cubic inch diesel engine with a two-stroke gasoline engine. The two engines were due to the reason that it was difficult of starting the tractor with the first engine. 

The dual-engine helped the driver to start the engine by pulling the start lever instead of turning the steering wheel manually. 

Growth Of Production Line

Growth Of Production Line

John Deere and Company started manufacturing agricultural factors. While John Deere is widely known for the production of agricultural equipment, the company has grown over the past century. It meets the needs of the customers of multiple industries. Now it produces Gators and UTVs, residential mowing, commercial construction, golf and turf, and forestry. 

John Deere – Interesting History and Facts

John Deere and Company started from the manufacturing of plows and now it manufactures different products such as tractor hydraulics, diesel engines, drivetrains, agricultural and construction industries. A man coming from a middle-class family in Rutland, Vermont ended up the leading seller of agricultural and construction products. 

The company has been running for 184 years. It is not limited to the United States but it went international in the early 1900s. John Deere and Company not only produces products but also services such as financial services and other related services.