John Deere has a long track record of creating top performing equipment for everything from construction to agricultural jobs. Behind every machine is a powerful engine, which is created to stand the test of time.

Let’s take a look at some key dates in John Deere’s engine history and rediscover where it all began.


John Deere entered the engine market with the Root and VanDervoort Engineering Company of Champaign, Illinois.


During the early days of this partnership, R&V relocated its manufacturing facilities to East Moline, Illinois.


Root & VanDervoort’s engines began being sold exclusively through John Deere’s dealership network.


John Deere began to consider purchasing an outside company that was capable of producing both engines and tractors.


John Deere purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in March, bringing its dreams to fruition. It continued to sell Waterloo Boy engines as a part of the Waterloo Boy tractors.


John Deere recognized that the Waterloo Boy engines were largely unchanged and outdated. It began working on a new stationary engine in Waterloo. The new design included an enclosed crankcase, which meant that the engine could be self-oiled.


John Deere released the first “E” series of engines, originally produced in 1.5-horsepower and 3-horsepower versions.


A larger 6-horsepower version of the “E” series engine is introduced.


Vice President and General Manager of the John Deere Tractor Company L.A. Rowland reiterated John Deere’s commitment to the two-cylinder engine design, saying that it has been “so outstandingly successful that there is no thought of a change.”


John Deere introduced the Model “R” engine, the company’s first diesel engine, which provided over 40 horsepower at the drawbar and the belt pulley.


John Deere debuted its first 300 and 400 Series engines. These four and six-cylinder units helped power new agricultural equipment.


The company announced plans to develop a new engine facility in Waterloo.


The first engines were assembled at the Waterloo facility and powered the company’s tractors, industrial equipment combines and forage harvesters.

Fun Fact

John Deere produced its 5,000,000th engine worldwide in 2004.

Final Thoughts

John Deere engine history goes back decades, and it’s easy to see how the company evolved through the mere development of this piece of equipment. Today, Deere continues to innovate its engines to meet environmental standards while providing the power customers have come to expect.

If you have any questions about the John Deere’s engines or machines, you can contact your local John Deere dealer.

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