February 26, 2010
Here at MachineFinder we are constantly thinking of all the dedicated fans, and generations of devoted owners of John Deere products. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about where that greatness comes from.
The source of all this machine love would be John Deere himself, who just this month would have celebrated his 206th birthday! We thought it would be fitting to give tribute to Mr. Deere’s history, and how he gave birth to some of the most dependable machines and tools to be found today. Take a short little trip with us down memory lane; after all, it never hurts to hear the good old stories again now does it?
John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont on February 7, 1804. He then spent his early life in Middlebury and eventually took on an apprenticeship to learn blacksmithing – a decision that would change his life and the face of agriculture forever.
At the time of John’s apprenticeship in Vermont, competition was pretty stiff among blacksmiths. In the face of a couple of crippling setbacks (he lost his own foundry to fire, twice) and mounting debt, he decided to make the move out west. So west he went, to Illinois: Grand Detour, Illinois to be specific. Many others from Vermont had settled there too so John Deere felt right at home. He promptly set up his own blacksmith shop and quickly began filling orders.
John’s work was second-to-none and he was already making quite a name for himself. One day, it came to his attention that the farmers of the area were having some major problems with their old cast-iron plows in the thick, rich soil of the Midwest. The soil would cake up on the plows very quickly, requiring the farmers to stop and clean them off every few steps which made the already laborious task of plowing even more difficult. John Deere was confident he could solve the problem at hand by making a plow that would clean itself if he made it from something that gave the plow blade a shiny surface.