History of John Deere Company

Topics: Deere & Company, Moline, Illinois, John Deere Pages: 13 (4037 words) Published: March 18, 2013
1837 John Deere fashions a polished-steel plow in his Grand Detour, Illinois, blacksmith shop that lets pioneer farmers cut clean furrows through sticky Midwest prairie soil. 1838 John Deere, blacksmith, evolves into John Deere, manufacturer. Later he remembers building 10 plows in 1839, 75 in 1841, and 100 in 1842. 1842 John Deere adds retailing to his business, filling orders for the Patent Cary Plow. 1843 Deere and Leonard Andrus become "co-partners in the art and trade of blacksmithing, plow-making and all things thereto…" 1848 The growing plow business moves to Moline, Illinois, 75 miles southwest of Grand Detour. Moline offers water power and transportation advantages. Deere chooses a new partner, Robert N. Tate, who moves to Moline and raises the rafters on their three-story blacksmith shop by July 28. 1849 A work force of about 16 builds 2,136 plows.

1852 Deere buys out his partners. For the next 16 years, the company is known variously as John Deere, John Deere & Company, Deere & Company, and Moline Plow Manufactory. 1853 Sixteen-year old Charles, Deere's only living son, joins the firm as a bookkeeper following graduation from a Chicago commercial college. 1858 The business totters during a nationwide financial panic. Maneuverings to avoid bankruptcy shuffle ownership and managerial arrangements. John Deere remains president, but power passes to 21-year-old Charles Deere. He will run the company for the next 49 years. 1863 The company makes the Hawkeye Riding Cultivator, the first Deere implement adapted for riding. 1864 John Deere obtains the company's first actual patent for moulds used in casting steel plows. Another follows in a few months and a third the next year. 1867 Charles Deere sues Candee, Swan & Co., a competitor, for trademark infringement. The case has precedent-setting implications for trademark law. Could Deere preempt the word "Moline" which it has been using in its advertising, so that no similar product could incorporate it? The ultimate answer is no. The Walking Cultivator is patented in August 1867. Although farmers might prefer riding, the lower cost of this unit makes it sell even though the man has to walk in soft ground while straddling a row of corn. 1868 After 31 years as a partnership or single proprietorship, the concern is incorporated under the name Deere & Company. There are four shareholders at first, six within a year. Charles and John Deere control 65 percent of the stock. 1869 Charles Deere and Alvah Mansur establish the first branch house, Deere, Mansur & Co., in Kansas City. A semi-independent distributor of Deere products within a certain geographic area, it is the forerunner of the company's current farm and industrial-equipment sales branches and sales regions. 1873 John Deere is elected mayor of Moline and serves two years. 1874 Despite economic problems among farmers, the Deere business grows. More than 50,000 plows are sold.

1875 Gilpin Moore develops the Gilpin Sulky Plow. It takes the farmer off his feet, puts him on a seat, and becomes one of the company's most successful 19th-century products. 1876 Noting sagging business prospects and skyrocketing bad debts, the company institutes a ten-percent wage cut. A brief strike ends and workers return to work on the company's terms. The "leaping deer" trademark is registered. 1877 Deere & Mansur Company is formed in Moline to manufacture corn planters. A separate organization from the similarly named Kansas City branch, it will become part of Deere & Company in 1910. 1878 The Gilpin Sulky Plow defeats 50 other plows in a field trial at the Paris Universal Exposition, winning the first place Sevres vase valued at 1,000 francs. Unit sales the following year rise to 5,198, and reach a height of 7,824 in 1883. 1880 Wagons enter the product line early in the decade, soon followed by buggies. 1882 Deere & Mansur Company corn planters, employing an innovative rotary planting mechanism, turn a...
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