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170 Years of John Deere
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170 Years of John Deere
John Deere was a blacksmith and manufacturer who founded Deere & Company—one of the largest agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world.

John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont on February 7, 1804.  He was the son of William Deere. After his father disappeared en route to England, Deere was raised by his mother in Middlebury, Vermont, where he received an elementary-school education.

He served a four-year blacksmith apprenticeship, and entered the trade in 1825. In 1827 he married Demarius Lamb, and by 1836 the couple had four children, with a fifth child on the way. The business was not doing very well and Deere was having trouble with his creditors. Facing bankruptcy, Deere sold the shop to his father-in-law, and departed for Illinois.

Deere settled in Grand Detour, Illinois. As there were no other blacksmiths in the area, Deere had no difficulty finding work. Growing up in his father’s Rutland, Vt. tailor shop, Deere had polished and sharpened needles by running them through sand. This polishing helped the needles sew through tough leather. He found that cast-iron plows were not working very well in the tough prairie soil found in Illinois, and remembering the polished needles, Deere came to the conclusion that a plow made out of highly polished steel and a correctly shaped moldboard (the self-scouring steel plow) would better be able to handle the soil conditions of the prairie, especially its sticky clay.

In 1837 Deere developed and manufactured his first cast-steel plow.  The wrought iron plow had a steel share which made it ideal for the tough soil of the Midwest, and worked better than other plows.  In 1848,  Deere  moved to Moline, Illinois a major transportation hub Mississippi River.  By 1855, over 10,000  plows were sold by Deere's factory. From the very beginning, Deere insisted on making high quality equipment. Deere once said, "I will never put my name on a product that does not have in it the best that is in me." As the business improved, Deere left the day to day operations to his son Charles. In 1868, Deere incorporated his business as Deere & Company.

Later in life, Deere focused most of his attention on civil and political affairs. He served as President of the National Bank of Moline, a director of the Moline Free Public Library, and was an active member of the First Congregational Church. Deere also served as Mayor of Moline for two years.

Deere died at home on May 17, 1886. The company he founded  has become one of the largest manufacturers of agricultural and construction equipment in the world.  With 170 years of commitment to agricultural excellence John Deere has become one of the United States longest enduring companies.   


Collector Find of the Month:
Jim Simpson 
John Deere 3020 Deluxe Farm Set
Ertl John Deere 3020 Deluxe Farm Set, including; 4-bottom plow, wheeled disk w/ C-hitch, and flare-box wagon.  This a rare set to find in a mint condition box. It looks like it just came from the John Deere dealer.  You might need a farm loan to acquire this set.  According to Dick's Price the set is valued at $925.

See more interesting John Deere toys at Jim Simpson's John Deere Collector website at

Do you have a farm toy find you would like to share in the February issue?  E-mail your find to 

Click on the links below to view articles, videos and photo galleries!
Linking Together The Chain of Farm Toy Collectors
Your very own website in just minutes!
You can have your own website with your very own blog and photo gallery. This video will show you how to set up your website in minutes.
Down on the Model Farm: Part III
Detailing Your Model Farm Display

John Deere 80's Classics: Part I
John Deere 4850 vs. IH, Case and AC

John Deere 80's Classics: Part II
John Deere 50 series 4wds 8850, 8650, 8450

John Deere 80's Classics: Part III
John Deere Titan II combines

The Literature Rack
John Deere WA Series 4wds
John Deere has been producing tractors since 1918 and that means there are many Deere tractor brochures to collect.
Toy Talk New Years Day Plow Contest
New Years Day 2007 was an exciting day on Toy Tractor Times Toy Talk as members competed in the 1st Annual Plow off Competition.
Toy Tractor Times Wallpaper
John Deere Tractors
The "New Generation of Power" tractor models steal the show at the 1960 Deere Day in Dallas.
Keeping Current with 1/64
John Deere 7030 Series
The New Ground Force is Launched: Introducing the 7030 Series Large-Frame Tractors
Collect it All
Waterloo Tractors
The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company was the first company to manufacture and sell gasoline powered farm tractors.
Growing Up Green
Despite most of my articles focusing on machines painted yellow or other colors, growing up, my toy tractor collection was all green.
Modeling in 1/32
We are going "outside of the box" again today.
Under the Scope
1/16 International 1468, Key Precision #3
Say hello to the first Under the Scope for 2007!
John Deere’s first tractors, the Frolich and the Waterloo Boy were also one of Ertl’s first 1/64 tractors.
Another year ....I don't even know where 2006 went! Snow is here for a while here so I've been able to work on some custom trucks again.

Next 'Times

The February 2007 Toy Tractor Times will continue our annual salute to the St. Louis Farm Toy Show.  This years show is in an exciting new location.  The Toy Tractor Times TV is going to produce a special video edition all about new show location.    St. Louis is known as a great place to see many toy dealers, custom builders and farm displays. 

Toy Tractor Times TV  will take you on the tour of the St. Louis Show. You will have a chance to meet well known show attendees like Gordy Schultz of Toy Farmin'  LLC, Jason Jeffers, TTT author Dave Tallon, customizers like Brad McPherson, toy dealers like Matt Hirtzel, Spec-Cast Vice President Dan Meyers, displayers like Adam Suntken and John Schomburg.  

St. Louis is known as the friendly show.  Matt Hirtzel proves each year.  Make sure to visit Matt Hirtzel of Saluki Toys during the St. Louis Toy Show in room 433.  Just tell Matt you are a Toy Tractor Times member and he will give you a free farm toy priced under $5.  

Stefanie and I look forward to seeing many of you in St. Louis.  Stop by the Toy Tractor Times table  near the registration area.

Until Next Times............

Featured My Website of the Month:
My Website is the newest feature of Toy Tractor .  Now you can write and tell your own stories about farm toys.  Every member of Toy Tractor Times can have their own website.  It is all part of your $18 a year membership.  Visit and put your website on the world wide web today.  Each month we will highlight one of our readers websites here on the index page.  This month I would like show you my website.  I hope it will give you ideas on how to start your Toy Tractor Times website .  I look forward to seeing your creations. Visit my site at

St. Louis 2007 Information

February 02, 03, 04  2007
Gateway Mid America Toy Show at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet Hotel, 191 Westport Plaza, St. Louis, Mo. One of the largest farm toy shows in the U.S. The show is held from Friday February 2 to Sunday the 4th. Look for full show coverage on

Directions to Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet Hotel-

From the airport: Take I-70 West to I-270 South. Exit at Dorsett Rd. (Exit #17). Turn left on Dorsett. Get in right lane, go one block, turn right on Progress Parkway. Proceed one mile on Progress Parkway to stop light. Continue straight into Westport Plaza.

Show Host Contact: Roy Lee and Audrey Baker
Phone: 618-836-7787 before January 30th
Phone: After January 30th, please contact the hotel at 314-878-1500.
Location: St. Louis, Mo