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      Tractor: Tractor: The Inventor - JOHN DEERE
    Posted on Tuesday, October 19 @ 12:08:05 UTC by Cars
      Tractor JOHN DEERE (1804-1886) The story of John Deere, who developed the world's first commercially successful, self-scouring steel plough, closely parallels the settlement and development of the midwestern United States, an area that the homesteaders of the 19th century considered the golden land of promise.

    John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont on 7 February 1804. He spent his boyhood and young adulthood in Middlebury, Vermont where he received a common- school education and served a four-year apprenticeship learning the blacksmith's trade. In 1825, he began his career as a journeyman blacksmith and soon became noted for his careful workmanship and ingenuity. His highly polished hay forks and shovels, especially, were in great demand throughout western Vermont, but business conditions in the state became depressed in the mid-1830s, and the future looked gloomy for the ambitious young blacksmith. Many natives of Vermont emigrated to the West, and the tales of golden opportunity that filtered back to Vermont so stirred John Deere's enthusiasm that he decided to dispose of his business and join the pioneers. He left his wife and family, who were to join him later, and set out with a bundle of tools and a small amount of cash. After travelling many weeks by canal boat, lake boat and stagecoach, he reached the village of Grand Detour, Illinois, a place named after a river meander, that had been settled by pioneers from his native Vermont. The need for a blacksmith was so great that within a short time of his arrival in 1836 he had built a forge and was busy serving the community. There was a lot of general blacksmithing work to be done shoeing horses, and repairing ploughs and other equipment for the pioneer farmers. From them he learned of the serious problem they encountered in trying to farm the fertile but heavy soil of the Midwest. The cast-iron ploughs they liad brouglit with them were designed for the light, sandy New England soil. The rich midwestern soil clung to the plough bottoms and every few steps it was necessary to scrape the soil from the plough. This made ploughing a slow and laborious task. Many pioneers were discouraged and were considering moving on, or heading back east. John Deere studied the problem and became convinced that a plough with a highly polished and properly shaped mouldboard and share ought to scour itself as it turned the furrow slice. In an attempt to provide a practical solution to the problem he fabricated a plough incorporating these new ideas in 1837, using the steel from a broken saw blade. The new plough was successfully tested on the farm of Lewis Crandall near Grand Detour. Deere's steel plough proved to be exactly what the pioneer farmers needed for successful farming in what was then termed "the West", though his contribution to the growth of American agriculture would in due course far exceed the development of a successful design for a steel plough. As a result of economic constraints, including those of labour and manufacturing costs, it was the practice of the day for blacksmiths to make tools to order for customers. John Deere's bold initiative was to manufacture his ploughs before he had orders for them. He would produce a stock of ploughs and then take them into the country areas to be sold. This was a wholly new approach to manufacturing and selling in the pioneer days, and one that quickly spread the word of John Deere's self-polishing ploughs. Despite this innovative approach, there were many problems involved in attempting to operate a manufacturing business on the frontier including a lack of banks, a poor transport network and, worst of all, a scarcity of steel. As a result, John Deere's first ploughs had to be produced with whatever pieces of steel he could locate. In 1843, he arranged for a shipment of special rolled steel from England. It had to be shipped across the Atlantic by steamship, up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers by packet boat, and overland by wagon 65km/40 miles to Deere's infant factory in Grand Detour. In 1846, the first slab of cast plough steel ever rolled in the United States was made for John Deere and shipped from Pittsburgh to Moline, Illinois, where it was ready for use in the factory Deere opened there in 1848, to take advantage of the water power and easy transport offered by the Mississippi River. Within ten years of developing his prototype, John Deere was producing 1,000 ploughs a year. In the early years of his business, Deere laid down several precepts that have been followed faithfully ever since by the company he founded. Among them was an insistence on -high standards of quality. John Deere vowed, "I will never put my name on a plough that does not have in it the best that is in me." In 1868, Deere's business was incorporated under the name Deere & Company. The following year John Deere's son, Charles, who was later to succeed him as president, was elected vice-president and treasurer. One of his early partners chided him for constantly making changes in design, saying it was unnecessary because the farmers had to take whatever they produced. Deere's viewpoint was more far-sighted: if he did not improve and refine products, somebody else would. As a result the John Deere Company has continued to place a strong emphasis on product improvement, and consistently devotes a higher share of its income to research and development than many competitors. Its role as a significant force in the tractor industry began when it purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in 1918, and produced its Model D in 1924.
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