John Deere equipment is internationally known for its quality and commitment to customers, following their founder’s famous “I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me” mantra. However, the company focuses on more than just quality equipment. Community, safety, health, and the environment are all critical cogs in the wheels that make Deere run.

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To better illustrate the company’s roots and continued commitment to these values, we’ve put together a John Deere timeline filled with 20th century equipment safety and environmental protection milestones. Enjoy!


Deere and Company creates its own cloth-screen filtering system to remove pollution from plow-grinding operations.


The company’s first foundry is equipped with air pollution controlled molding equipment.


John Deere forms a product safety committee. Warning labels are placed on corn pickers and shielding for power take-offs is introduced.


Tractors have power take-off shields installed and made available in retrofit programs for tractors produced after 1932.


The John Deere corporate industrial safety department is established.


John Deere adopts strict water-effluent standards that were said to be on par with those mandated by Illinois Water Board a decade later.


Fuel tanks on tractors were moved ahead of the radiator and away from the engine to improve safety.


Deere allocates $1.3 million for pollution prevention.


Lawn and garden tractor starting interlocks are developed.


Decals with internationally-recognized symbols are introduced for simple identification of controls across products.


Roll-over protection devices are made available to the industry.


Deere’s first corporate environmental policy is established.


The Department of Environmental Control is established to coordinate pollution-control efforts.


Dual-beam headlights with a dimmer switch are developed for improved lighting for transport along highways and a computerized injury-analysis system is introduced.


Roll-over protective structures (ROPS) are made available for tractors manufactured after 1960. Sound-Gard tractor cabs are designed to reduce operator exposure to noise/airborne particles and PowerGard (shielding for power take-off drive lines) is introduced.


The “Management by Objective” program is established as a foundation for continuous company-wide safety improvements.


The hinged PTO master shield for tractors is announced.


A traction interlock system for lawn and garden tractors is developed.


A bypass-start override valve is created to stop bypass starting.


ROPS are made standard equipment on tractors.


Lock ‘n Load closed chemical-handling system for planters is co-developed by John Deere. John Deere combines and cotton pickers are equipped with the Operator Presence System.


Power take-off-alert operator-presence system is designed.


Freon air conditioning was phased out in new products (ahead of the auto industry).


Deere implemented the Environmental Management System, introduced a new operator enclosure that provides quiet and clean air and sprayers are equipped with drift-reducing technology.


Turn-signal module that connects tractors and their implements is introduced. A 2-stroke engine innovation is designed to reduce emissions 70 percent while improving fuel economy 30 percent.


The 20th century was filled with important company milestones relating to product safety and the environment. Hopefully this John Deere timeline helped shed some light on the events that have shaped the company that Deere is today.

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