Watch 100 years of the John Deere tractor
Discover the milestones that shaped us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our leaping deer trademark is recognized worldwide. Created over a century ago, it’s the longest continuously used corporate logo of any Fortune 500 company.
The strength of our leaders is reflected in the strength of our company. We’re determined to uphold our founder’s core values of integrity, quality, commitment, and innovation as we carry the legacy of John Deere leadership across our greater global communities.
Learn the stories behind legendary John Deere people, places, and products by visiting our wide range of John Deere Attractions. You can hear the clang of metal being forged, marvel at vintage machines, and discover the technology shaping our future.