Successful construction projects typically start with a thoroughly drawn out plan and a solid foundation. Well, the same can be said for the evolution of construction machinery, a process that began for John Deere about six decades ago.
From Deere’s first industrial equipment investment back in the 1950s, to today’s modern equipment, the company has a rich construction equipment history. Let’s take a look at some of the key moments in Deere’s construction equipment production journey.
For more than 110 years, John Deere had been an agriculture-focused company. However, in 1956, they formed their Industrial Equipment Division (which would later become the Construction and Forestry Division) by making a $15 million investment. This investment was used to build manufacturing facilities and allowed Deere to separate the farm and construction machinery businesses.
Just a year later, 15 industrial John Deere tractors debuted at the International Amphitheater as part of the Chicago Road Show.
John Deere’s Model “64” becomes the company’s first all-hydraulic bulldozer, representing a milestone in design.
The JD440 skidder and JD480 forklift, as well as the JD350 and JD450 crawlers were introduced as the first machines with new industrial model numbers.
As manufacturing space at Dubuque Works reached more than 500,000 sq. ft., Deere introduced the world to the first articulated-frame motor grader, the JD570. This model is still considered to be one of the most significant advancements made in the history of construction equipment production.
Dubuque Works was undergoing an expansion that added more than a million square feet of space, while 960 acres of land were purchased north of Davenport, Iowa, for a new production location.
Deere Davenport Works began producing machinery. The company announced 28 models of crawlers, wheel tractors, loaders, scrapers, motor graders, and more, broadening its foundation within the business.
Deere’s industrial product line grew to feature 22 construction machines, 29 utility machines and 17 forestry machines.
Hydraulic excavators began to be manufactured in the Americas thanks to the formation of Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery Corporation.
Deere’s construction line grows to 60 products.
Deere formed an alliance with Bell Equipment of Richards Bay, South Africa, for rights to Bell-manufactured dump trucks.
Deere Davenport Works manufactures its first articulated dump truck.
Deere introduces Total Machine Control (TMC) in 310SJ and 410J Backhoes.
The 764 HSD is created, Deere’s first wholly original machine form in decades.
Deere starts shipping the 744K Loader, the first piece of construction equipment with more than 75 horsepower to meet EPA IT4/EU Stage IIIB regulations. The company also unveiled John Deere WorkSight™ this year.
While these aren’t all the notable moments in John Deere’s construction equipment history, they’re certainly critical when trying to understand how equipment got to where it is today.