A History of John Deere
American inventor John Deere is a famous name in the field of agriculture. Originally a blacksmith, he designed a new type of plough in the 19th century that was an improvement on the cast iron ploughs already in existence.
This was a turning point in the history of ploughing and led to Deere creating his own company in 1837. The company was incorporated as Deere & Company in 1968, and by 2012 it was worth in excess of $40 billion. It’s incredible to think that this success had such humble origins, starting with Deere’s move west during the American Depression of the 1830s.
- American inventor John Deere is a famous name in the field of agriculture. He designed a new type of plough in the 19th century.
- Deere created his own company in 1837.
- During the agricultural boom of the 1960s and ‘70s the Deere company’s growth really accelerated. It was at this time that the company began to concentrate its focus on the production of farm equipment such as giant tractors, balers, and harvesting machinery.
- The tractors the company creates today are smart machines that can be connected to other machinery such as balers enabling “conversations” to take place between the different items of machinery.
John Deere – journey to creating his plough
John Deere was originally a blacksmith in Vermont. When the American financial situation deteriorated in the late 1830s, he relocated to Illinois and his wife, and five children followed. It was here that Deere was to create the plough that would change his life.
When he first arrived in his new home, Deere set up a blacksmithing shop. However, he began to notice that farmers were having difficulty ploughing the sticky prairie soil with traditional cast iron ploughs. These ploughs had to be cleaned every few feet which was inconvenient and time-consuming.
Deere used a broken steel saw blade to create a new type of plough which was more efficient. He reshaped the blade so that it moved through the soil and revolutionised the task of ploughing for farmers.
Deere then created his own business, in 1837. This gave him the opportunity to keep finessing the design of his product. By 1849, Deere’s new business was producing 2,000 ploughs a year. He did not take anything for granted and continued to innovate. This original passion paved the way for the ongoing success of the business that has turned it into today’s billion-dollar company.
Deere company continued success
John Deere probably never imagined that the business he created in 1837 would be a worldwide force in agriculture over 180 years later. The sheer determination and hard work of five generations of Deeres has made this happen.
The present company was incorporated in 1958. Following a merger with Deere & Company and its subsidiaries, it became John Deere–Delaware Company. Even prior to this date, the company had begun producing farm machinery. It’s first “Model D” Deere branded, fully green and yellow production tractor was manufactured from 1923 to 1953.
However, it was during the agricultural boom of the 1960s and ‘70s that the company’s growth really accelerated. It was at this time that the company began to concentrate its focus on the production of farm equipment such as giant tractors, balers, and harvesting machinery.
Deere also became a leader and innovator in the industry. Its innovations included the introduction of the ROPS (Roll-Over Protective Structure) safety feature, in 1966, and the creation of the Sound-Gard body in the early 1970s.
In order to improve efficiency, and keep up with demand, Deere created an Iowa factory in 1981 where computers and robots were used. This strategy of “flexible-manufacturing” enabled the company to become the biggest American manufacturer of farm equipment towards the end of the 20th century.
The company does not just produce agricultural equipment, its factories across the world also create construction machinery, forestry equipment, and industrial machinery. These factories are in countries such as Canada, India, Argentina, and Brazil. Overall, the brand has locations, and is sold, in more than 70 countries. This includes Australia where it has had a presence for more than 30 years and John Deere tractors are hugely popular.
Aside from expanding its operations globally, Deere has also maintained its innovative reputation. The tractors it creates today are smart machines that can be connected to other machinery such as balers enabling “conversations” to take place between the different items of machinery. Data can also be transmitted to the farm office allowing farmers to make smarter real-time decisions.
As technology progresses so will the machinery produced by Deere. The company has come a long way since John Deere first developed a new plough in the 19th century and it’s set to continue on its journey of success for many years to come.