MOLINE, Illinois (September 13, 2012) — John Deere, one of the oldest continuously operating companies in the United States, this year is celebrating its 175th anniversary. From its early beginnings, John Deere has been an icon associated with the American values of hard work, ingenuity and a commitment to quality.
Today, it expands that quality as a leader of innovation in the forestry industry. Loggers all over the globe rely on John Deere to keep their operations running smoothly and profitably. Although the company's heritage is tied to agriculture, its roots in forestry go back much further than most people realize.
In fact, John Deere's very first product, the plow that helped farmers till the Midwestern soil, was fashioned from a sawmill blade. Although advancements in forestry continued into the late 1800s, John Deere products had not been used in the actual harvesting of trees until the 1930s. The change was initiated by the ingenuity of John Deere customers and the versatility of the machines. These pioneering loggers modified John Deere tractors to help them accomplish a variety of forestry tasks more easily, safely and efficiently.
The 1940s saw a great leap for forestry, when the MC Crawler, known as the hardest-working machine the company ever built, was John Deere's first purpose-built machine. Praised for its versatility and ability to negotiate rough terrain, it was used for skidding, loading and other general-purpose tasks.
John Deere released the 440 Skidder in the 1960s, marking another milestone in modern skidder design. Until that point, the operator was not a consideration at all, as skidders were little more than an engine in a frame. That changed with the introduction of the 440, which offered a more comfortable operator's station. That innovation not only made operators happier but it also increased safety and productivity.
The introduction of the harvester in the 1970s started a new era in productivity. Up until this point, timber was still being cut by workers on foot, armed with chainsaws. Released in 1977, the John Deere 743 Tree Harvester combined the speed of rubber tires with the reach of a boom. Productivity skyrocketed, as a harvester operated by a single worker could harvest two trees per minute. The 743 also formed the basis for today's modern harvester.
In order to gain a better understanding of loggers' needs, John Deere expanded to a global forestry supplier through strategic partnerships and acquisitions. John Deere partnered with Hitachi Construction Machinery Co., Ltd. in 1998 to manufacturer purpose-built, excavator-based logging machines. In 2000, John Deere acquired Timberjack and Waratah, bringing exciting new technology and products to the brand. In just a short three-year period, John Deere had solidified itself as the clear worldwide leader in forestry.
John Deere's forward thinking and commitment to developing solutions for the type of challenges loggers are facing in the woods is continues through the development of innovative machines. John Deere's Walking Harvester, the world's first prototype for a walking forest machine, never reached full production, but led to solutions that help improve productivity, uptime and low daily operating costs on machines being developed today.
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land - those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at www.JohnDeere.com.