John Deere ~ Reaping What You Sow

Moline, Illinois! The birthplace of my Dad and John Deere Tractors! You don’t have to love tractors to love this place! The John Deere Pavilion holds a fascinating history of a man, his vision and how he impacted the world! Take a ride on a tractor with us! Nothing runs like a Deere!


As all great success stories begin, John Deer was no exception. It was a rough and rugged start. After borrowing money from an investor  to start his own blacksmith shop in 1836, the shop burned down not only once but twice, and the investor demanded his money back! Deere didn’t have many options so he left his family behind and moved west to recoup his losses and pay off hiss debts.   In 1837, John Deere, blacksmith and inventor, had little more than a blacksmith shop. The possibility of John Deere becoming a legend and household name didn’t seem very likely. But he had a vision and determination.  The story of John Deere is one of determination, innovation and integrity.


A Trademark is Born! In 1867, son Charles Deere sued another plow maker for trademark infringement. The other company barely disguised the product they were making calling it by the same name and using an almost identical trademark to Deere’s. In 1872 John Deere visited on old friend, Melvin Gould, and the topic of the lawsuit came up. Gould sat down at the kitchen table and drew a deer leaping over a log. Fro then on all the plows made by John Deere had this trademark on the beam.


The Great Tractor Debate! Not all of the John Deere executives agreed on entering the tractor business.  The company’s president was adamantly opposed . He wanted the company to focus on streamlining and cutting costs, not research and development. Thankfully the threat from competitors and some influential men at Deere won over the president. They reached a compromise. Instead of  developing their own tractor, Deere and Company voted to buy the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company.  The purchase serious money way back then!

Stay off the antiques! They are just for display! Waterloo Boy was Deere’s 1st entry into the tractor market and was built from 1918 to 1932. From 1934 through 1952  Model A and B tractors proved to be very popular. During WWII the federal government asked Deere to build transmissions for M3 tanks and also the MG-1 and MG-2 heavy military tractors used for moving aircraft.

With knowledge of the John Deer history under our belts, we set out to test drive the New Generation tractor equipment! Oh my gosh are they ever HUGE!!!

Feel the Power! A boy and his tractor. There are fun interactive displays where you can simulate excavating. Using the joysticks you scoop up loads of dirt with a backhoe. You have a limited amount of time to complete the task. Based on the amount of dirt you actually get int he dump truck, it calculates your profit but will also ding you for any damages done while you are working.

Girls like tractors and machinery too! Probably because this combine is a multitasker! It threshes and separates the grain from the non-edible parts of the plant. The grain is even cleaned by a series of moving screens called chaffers that remove the remaining plant residue. This combine can unload a whopping 38 bushels per second! She’s a hard working machine but she’s a beauty!


Interactive meal planning was a big hit. Pick your meal from all the categories. Appetizer, entree, side dish, dessert, and find out how many calories you have completely overshot your daily suggested  amount by! Scary!

Discover an innovation that never hit the market in the USA with John Deere….so far. The Walking Harvester was developed to improve productivity with minimal risk to the forest. Responding to sensory input, the machine distributes its weight evenly over the ground to create a base of support on its six legs. It looks like a giant insect!

The amazing collection of plows and tractors, harvesters and combines over the years that John Deere and Company has produced and the impact these products have had on the lives of people all around the world is astounding! You have to come and see it to really understand one mans vision and what he accomplished!

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