John Deere was an American blacksmith and inventor, born in 1804. He started Deere & Company, which is a big company that makes farm equipment. In 1837, he developed the first American cast steel plow. The implements being used by pioneer farmers of that day were cumbersome and ineffective for cutting and turning the prairie soil. To alleviate the problem, Deere and a partner, Major Leonard Andrus, designed three new plows in 1838. Their cutting part was made from steel cut from an old sawmill blade and shaped by bending it over a log. The moldboard, used for lifting and turning, was made of wrought iron and polished on the upper surface to prevent clogging.
In 1836, John traveled to Grand Detour, Illinois, to make a fresh start. He had married and nine young children to look after. John was smart and hard working and he easily found work as a blacksmith. There were lots of farmers in Illinois and John had to fix their plows. The new farmers in Illinois struggled to turn heavy, sticky prairie soil with cast iron plows designed for the light, sandy soil of Vermont. John thought about the steel needles he had seen in father’s tailor shop. The needles stayed smooth and shiny because they were pulled through rough leather. John Deere came up with the idea for a plow that would work. The plow in his mind was polished and shiny and made of steel just like his father’s tailoring needles. It was shaped so that it could scour itself as it cut furrows. In 1837, he created his plow using a broken saw blade.
John sold his first plow to a farmer named Lewis Crandall. Lewis loved the plow told lots of other farmers. By 1841, John was making 100 of the plows every year. In 1843, he started working with another man named Leonard Andrus to help him keep up! By 1848, John had stopped working with Leonard and moved the business to Moline, Illinois. Moline had water power, coal and cheaper transportation than in Grand Detour. In 1850, John’s company made 1600 plows. The company was soon producing other tools to go with the steel plow.
In 1858, John asked his son Charles to be in charge of the company. John stayed on as president of the company, but he also wanted to work on others things. He started a bank in Moline and joined a church. He was also the mayor of the city for two years and the director of the city library! John Deere died on May 17, 1886, at his home in Moline.
Diecast John Deere scale models and replicas include: planters, grain drills, tractors, balers, wheel loaders, skid loaders, mowers, harvesters, farm vehicles, combiners, tank spreaders and much more.
More history and source: Wikipedia.
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