February 7 is John Deere’s Birthday!
John Deere was born in Vermont on February 7, 1804 and is best known as an American blacksmith, plow manufacturer, and the founder of Deere & Company. After his apprenticeship as a teenager with a blacksmith inVermont, Deere entered into the blacksmith trade for himself when he moved toIllinois.
Given his expertise with metal, he noticed the inefficiency of the cast-iron plow in the tough Midwest soil and got to work on a prototype for a cast-steel plow. He sold his first three plows in 1838 and extended that number to 1,000 plows by 1846. In 1847, Deere moved to Moline, Illinois where he had the advantages of water access and cost efficient transportation. By 1855, Deere’s company had sold over 10,000 plows.
Deere left the everyday affairs of his company to his son Charles and focused his time on building up the community, even serving as the mayor of Moline for two years. He died at his home on May 17, 1886 at the age of 82. Deere & Company has gone on to be one of the most successful businesses in America and celebrated their 175th anniversary in 2012.