News Releases   July 17, 2018

Take a Step Back in Time and Experience the Trade and Art of Blacksmithing August 4-5

John Deere Blacksmith demo

Visit the John Deere Historic Site August 4-5 to learn about the art and trade of blacksmithing.

Grand Detour, Illinois (July 2, 2018) – The company John Deere founded has a presence around the world, but it all started in Grand Detour, Illinois, where Deere forged the first commercially successful self-polishing steel plow back in 1837. To celebrate the blacksmith’s history and trade, the John Deere Historic Site is hosting Hammer In 2018 on August 4-5. Dozens of blacksmiths from around the Midwest will fill the grounds of the John Deere Historic Site to provide demonstrations, sell their work, and introduce the public to one of the oldest trades in the world.

In addition to blacksmithing, other tradesmen and women will be exhibiting their skills and selling their wares including basket weavers, broom makers, trappers, wheelwrights, woodwrights and more.

From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors to this free event will see how blacksmiths and other tradesmen mold and craft their wares into works of art and household goods. Many of the products for sale during the event will be made on location.

Attendees 12 years of age and older will have an opportunity to get hands-on and experience what it’s like to be a blacksmith when they try hammering and forging to make their own piece of iron work. Attending blacksmiths will help guests under a training tent to let them experience the working side of the anvil.

On Saturday at noon, guests will be treated to the sound of dozens of blacksmiths hammering in unison during an official “Anvil Ring.” A food vendor will be on site and each day, items created by the attending blacksmiths will be raffled off.

"We are very excited to bring another Hammer In event to Grand Detour because it provides an unique opportunity to learn about the historical significance of blacksmithing and to see how the trade lives on as demonstrated by dozens of skilled professionals still practicing the trade today," said Kristen Veto, Manager of the John Deere Historic Site.

The John Deere Historic Site held its first Hammer In event in 2004, with 75 blacksmiths, attracting guests from around the country. Hammer In events have been hosted here every other year since in an effort to celebrate the trade as well as the history and legacy of the company’s founder.

Blacksmiths interested in participating should contact the John Deere Historic Site at 815-652-4551. The Site is located five miles north of Dixon on Hwy 2 (Between Dixon and Oregon).

About the John Deere Historic Site

The John Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour is the original Illinois homestead of John Deere and is the location where he built his first commercially successful “self-polishing” steel plow. The Historic Site was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, and a Historic Landmark of Agricultural Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers. It was recently named one of Illinois’ top historic sites by the Illinois Bicentennial Commission. The home Deere built still stands and is now accompanied by a replicated blacksmith shop, an exhibit of Deere’s original tools unearthed during an archeological dig, and a visitor center and gift shop. In the atmosphere of a friendly 19th century village, informed tour guides provide an entertaining and educational perspective of life on the prairie. The John Deere Historic Site is a free attraction and is open to the public March through December. For more information, please call 815-652-4551 or visit

Media Contact:
Wendy Artman
Artman Communications