Running strong for more than a century

Watch 100 years of the John Deere tractor

Our heritage

Discover the milestones that shaped us.

  • Origin of the Plow

    When the American economic bubble burst in the 1830s, John Deere headed west, soon to be followed by his wife and five children. Deere was an established blacksmith back in Vermont, but he would have to start over in his new home of Illinois. Looking forward to the opportunity that comes with hard work, he began to travel west over ground he’d soon change forever.

    A historical 1855 dealer advertisement “John Deere Manufacturer, wholesale & retail dealer in plows & agricultural implements. Moline, Rock Island Co. Illinois”
  • Soil Solution

    It didn’t take long for Deere to set up his blacksmithing shop in Grand Detour, Illinois. He soon realized the farmers in his community were not seeing success in the fields based on their hard work alone. Families settling the area were having trouble with the sticky prairie soil, an unexpected challenge compared to the sandy soil of their homeland. Their tried-and-true cast iron plow had to be scraped off and tended to every few feet in America’s Heartland.

    Line illustration showing a farmer scraping dirt of his steel plow
  • The Opportunistic Blacksmith

    Convinced a different material and shape would solve the problem, Deere found a broken steel sawblade and began crafting history. One man’s trash became Deere’s groundbreaking innovation. He reshaped the blade, paying great attention to the exact curvatures of the tool. In the dirt, it was a first-of-its-kind success. For the community it served, nothing was ever the same.

    Walter Haskell Hinton painting of John Deere working in his blacksmith shop
  • From Dirt, We Grow

    Deere used the momentum from this single innovation to build a business and keep refining the product itself. With the help of research, customer feedback, and time-tested hard work, John Deere the business was booming by 1849, producing 2,000 plows a year. Never one to be satisfied with “good enough,” Deere continued to expand his operation. Now, nearly two centuries later, the company that grew from a single broken sawblade is a driving force in the world, from boots on the ground solutions to beyond the horizon of technology.

    1882 photograph of three men standing next to the Deere & Co train car loaded with steel plows ready to be shipped and factory employees looking out the window of the building behind