John Deere is the founder of the “Deere & Company”, a leading business in agriculture and the manufacturing of equipment. Born on February 7th, 1804, in Vermont, United States, John Deere was an important figure in the improvement of farming equipment in his time. Join me in learning interesting facts about this historical figure.
John Deere Facts
1. Growing up with a large family with financial problems pushed Deere to kick start his career.
John Deere was born to a family of five other children. His father disappeared at sea, meaning his mother’s low income was used to barely keep the family functioning. It was for this reason John sought out work in his teenage years, and when he was seventeen, he got a job as the apprentice to a blacksmith. After he gained the experience he needed, he opened his own shop, four years later, an interesting fact about John Deere.
2. He grieved his wife in an unusual way.
In 1827, John married a woman named Demarius Lamb, with whom he had nine children with. Oddly, after his wife’s death in 1865, he decided to wed her sister, Lucinda Lamb. His eldest son, Charles Deere, took over the business after his father retired.
3. Yet again, Deere aimed to get a better life due to increasing financial problems.
An interesting fact about John Deere is that he faced bankruptcy in 1837 after two of his blacksmith shops were unusable due to fires. In addition to this, the economy of Vermont was failing, so John Deere, with less than $100 to his name, ventured to Grand Detour, in Western Illinois, where many went to look for a better life.
4. Deere got creative and seized the opportunity to create a useful product for his customers.
As a blacksmith, many of Deere’s customers were farmers, wanting their equipment repaired. During this time, John noticed many farmers had troubles with ploughs that they were using as they seemed too fragile for the heavy soils at the time. He rectified this by creating a steel plough from a broken saw blade after he had polished and sharpened it. He sold his first steel plough in 1837.
5. John Deere strategically based his business decisions on what would work best for him at the time.
After this, order came in quickly, and to keep up with them, John created a partnership with Leonard Andrus. Although the pair succeeded in making almost a thousand ploughs together, their disputes led to the end of the agreement. After this, Deere decided to use the advantages the Mississippi River provided, which included a steady supply of water, easy transportation, and coal. This move was shown to be successful as Deere made deals with the British, who imported steel, and later preferred to do business with companies in Pittsburg to avoid the hassle of oversea importation.
6. “Deere & Company” don’t forget about their employees.
Not only was the Deere company known for its great services, but to its employees, it was a caring brand. Back in 1909, many Deere employees had trouble finding homes so that they could attend to their work. To solve this issue, the Deere family estate built around 50 homes to house these workers, an interesting fact about John Deere. This continued even after World War 2, when the company built more houses, and rented to over 300 employees.
7. Being able to understand the poor conditions of their customers saved many people from being kicked out of their land.
Throughout the Great Depression, a time when people were forced off their lands for not being able to pay for rent or equipment, the Deere company refused to repossess the equipment of the farmers who were not able to pay their debts. This action was a very merciful one for the company to take as it too suffered a loss by needing to fire workers and providing lower rent on their housings.
8. Innovation is the essence John Deere’s created for his company.
John Deere is now the largest manufacturer of farm equipment in the world. The business now provides a very wide range of equipment, including tractors, lawnmowers and dozers. The company protects itself and its customers by applying a set of warranties and polices. His policy towards his business clearly showed that he planned to expand and innovate further. He once said; “They haven’t got to take what we make and somebody else will beat us, and we will lose our trade”. This was his response to an associate of his who didn’t understand why Deere felt the need to continually update the equipment they were selling.
9. John Deere left his imprint on both the industrial and political world.
John Deere had a great interest in politics, and so he was involved in many social affairs. This was why he was elected the Mayor of Moline, and went on to serve for two years. In addition to this, he gained many other powerful titles, like being the President of the National Bank of Moline, an interesting fact about John Deere. Deere decided that he could not continue in all of these positions due to his increasing health issues.
10. The eye catching, well-known logo was created to show the message of the company.
To this day, the deer trademark that is used by the company is one of the longest lasting trademarks in America. Back in the 1800s, a trademark was the only way to protect a company against plagiarism. The company has a popular slogan, “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, which was originally meant for one of the snowmobiles products it manufactures. The colour of the company’s logo, yellow and green, are used to symbolize the purpose of the establishment, which is to aid in nature and agriculture.
John Deere passed away on the 17th of May 1886, at the age of 82. As previously mentioned, his son, who had taken part in the marketing department of “Deere & Company”, took over his legacy when he was 21. He ran the company over the next 49 years, expanding into new areas in the United States such as Missouri. After Charles’s death, his son-in-law, William Butterworth, took over the company.
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