Back in 2013, John Deere celebrated its 50th anniversary as a producer of lawn and garden equipment. To put the company’s manufacturing prowess into perspective, Deere pushed its 500,000th Gator Utility Vehicle off the assembly line in Horicon, Wisconsin back in 2010. However, this milestone at John Deere Horicon Works wasn’t earned overnight and there was history at the location even before the first tractor was produced.
In fact, the factory has a long and rich history, dating back more than 100 years. Let’s take a look at some of the key milestones that led Horicon Works to where it is today.
Following the successful introduction of the Van Brunt seeder, which had become a popular piece of equipment in Wisconsin, the Van Brunt brothers moved their operations from Mayville, Wisconsin, to a facility in Horicon, which gave them more resources to grow their business.
Sales of the Van Brunt brothers’ products began reaching as far as New York and Canada.
John Deere & Company bought the Van Brunt business and continued to sell a variety of disks, drills, and other farming-related products.
The John Deere brand became a much more influential entity at the Horicon factory as products began being painted in the traditional John Deere green and yellow color scheme. In 1953, production of a grassland drill became the first machine made in Horicon to not have the Van Brunt name on it.
The name of the factory changed from John Deere Van Brunt Company to John Deere Horicon Works.
Horicon Works grew and spanned 600,000 square feet, now including its own foundry and forge.
Horicon Works burst into the consumer products market with a 7 horsepower 110 Tractor. The tractor was kept at the factory until 1970 before being sent to the Smithsonian for display at the National Museum of American History.
Grain drill production was moved from Horicon to John Deere Des Moines Works. This allowed Horicon Works to focus solely on consumer products. At this time, Horicon began and continued to manufacture mowers, tillers, snow throwers, and more.
Horicon employees celebrated the production of the 5 millionth lawn tractor made at the facility.
John Deere Horicon Works celebrated the 50th anniversary of lawn and garden equipment production.
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