John Deere Biography

(Founder of 'Deere & Company')

Birthday: February 7, 1804 (Aquarius)

Born In: Rutland, Vermont, United States

John Deere was the founder of ‘Deere & Company’, which is one of the leading agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world. For two years, he also served as the mayor of Moline, Illinois, where his company is headquartered. Starting out as a teenaged blacksmith's apprentice, he went on to establish his own business, and became known for developing and manufacturing a steel plow suited for the tough soil of the Midwest. Apart from his masterpiece, he also made the first ride-on plow, 'Hawkeye Riding Cultivator', and branched into other agricultural tools. Noted for his high quality of work, he once famously said, "I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me."

Quick Facts

Died At Age: 82


Spouse/Ex-: Demarias Lamb Deere (m. 1827–1865), Lucenia Lamb Deere (m. 1867–1886)

father: William Rinold Deere

mother: Sarah Yates Deere

siblings: Elizabeth Deere, Francis Deere, George Deere, Jane Deere, William Deere Jr

children: Alice Marie (1844–1900), Charles (1836–1907), Ellen Sarah (1832–1897), Emma Charlotte (1840–1911), Frances Alma (1834–1851), Francis Albert (1828–1848), Hiram Alvin (1842–1844), Jeanette (1830–1916), Mary Frances (1851–1851)

Born Country: United States

Steel Inventors

Died on: May 17, 1886

place of death: Moline, Illinois, United States

U.S. State: Vermont

Founder/Co-Founder: Deere & Company

More Facts

education: Middlebury College

  • 1

    What are some popular John Deere tractor models?

    Some popular John Deere tractor models include the John Deere 5 Series, John Deere 6 Series, and John Deere 8 Series.

  • 2

    How long has John Deere been in business?

    John Deere was founded in 1837, so the company has been in business for over 180 years.

  • 3

    Where are John Deere tractors manufactured?

    John Deere tractors are manufactured in various locations around the world, including the United States, Germany, and India.

  • 4

    What are some key features of John Deere lawn mowers?

    Some key features of John Deere lawn mowers include easy-to-use controls, comfortable seating, and durable cutting decks.

  • 5

    What is the John Deere PowerGard Protection Plan?

    The John Deere PowerGard Protection Plan is an extended warranty program that provides additional coverage for John Deere equipment beyond the standard warranty period.

Childhood & Early Life
John Deere was born on February 7, 1804, in Rutland, Vermont, United States, to William Rinold Deere and Sarah Yates Deere. His family moved to Middlebury, Vermont, in 1805, and his father boarded a ship to England in 1808 in the hope of claiming an inheritance, but presumably died at sea.
His mother raised him with the little money she made and he was sent to the local public school to gain rudimentary education before attending Middlebury College. He was only 17 years old when he became an apprentice of successful Middlebury blacksmith Captain Benjamin Lawrence, and set up his own smithy business four years later in 1826.
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John Deere, who initially worked in Burlington, set up his first shop in Vergennes and then branched to Leicester, and for the next 12 years, worked in various towns around Vermont. As the business slowed down in 1837, he moved west and settled in Grand Detour, Illinois, where there was larger demand for crafty blacksmiths.
He soon found out that he was making the same repairs again and again, and realized that the cast-iron plows he made in the east were ill-suited for the tough prairie soil of Illinois. There are different stories about his inspiration, but he made a self-scouring steel plow that would be able to handle the sticky clay of the prairie, and manufactured the first commercial cast-steel plow in 1837.
His first steel plow, made in 1838, was sold to a local farmer named Lewis Crandall, whose good experience with the product secured two more orders from his neighbors by the end of the year. The demand for his plow grew exponentially in the following years, and he was producing about 75-100 plows per year by 1841.
In order to keep up with the rising demands, he partnered with Leonard Andrus in 1843; however, the partnership was strained as the opinions of the two men often clashed. Nevertheless, they together produced nearly a thousand plows in 1846 before Deere dissolved the partnership with Andrus in 1848.
In 1848, he moved to Moline, Illinois, located on the Mississippi River, to take advantage of the city's water power, coal and cheaper transportation, and subsequently began importing British steel to speed up production. His company made approximately 1600 plows in 1850 and soon began producing other tools to complement the famed plow.
He eventually contracted with Pittsburgh manufacturers to develop steel plates of comparable quality so that he could stop importing from overseas companies. His factory produced over 10,000 plows by 1855, and he continued to make high-quality equipment despite the 'Panic of 1857' that had engulfed the US.
As the financial situation of the country improved, he handed over the day-to-day operations of his company to his only surviving son, Charles Deere, and later incorporated his business as Deere & Company in 1868. In 1863, he made the 'Hawkeye Riding Cultivator', the first ride-on plow, which was pulled by horses.
Family & Personal Life
In 1827, soon after establishing his own blacksmith shop, John Deere married Demarius Lamb, with whom he fathered nine children. He initially went to Illinois alone, and sent for his wife and then five children about a year later.
During his later life, he shifted his focus to civil and political affairs, and was elected as Mayor of Moline, even though he refused to run for a second term due to health issues. He also served as the president of the National Bank of Moline and was the director of the Moline Free Public Library, apart from being a trustee of the First Congregational Church.
After his wife died in 1865, he married her sister, Lucinda Lamb, in June 1867.
He died on May 17, 1886, at his home in Moline and is buried in Riverside Cemetery, Moline.
Facts About John Deere

John Deere was not originally a farmer, but a blacksmith who later revolutionized agriculture with his innovative steel plow design.

Despite facing several setbacks in his early years as an entrepreneur, John Deere persevered and eventually built a successful business that still thrives today.

John Deere's iconic green and yellow color scheme for his equipment was chosen because he believed it would be easily visible in the field.

In addition to his contributions to agriculture, John Deere was also known for his philanthropy and support of education in his community.

John Deere's legacy extends beyond his company, as he is remembered as a pioneer in agricultural technology and a symbol of hard work and innovation.

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