This Tuesday is John Deere’s birthday.
John Deere the man, that is, not the company he founded. He was born 207 years ago on February 7, 1804 in Rutland, Vermont. The company he founded has seen the invention of the engine, the tractor, even the telephone.
John Deere didn’t invent the plow- those had been in use for centuries. What he did was find a way to make plows work in the soil of the American midwest, which helped turn it into the agricultural powerhouse it is today. The company that John Deere founded is celebrating its 175th Anniversary this year.
Of course, John Deere is not the only inventor who had an impact on agriculture. Hiram Moore invented the combine harvester in 1838, and the Van Brunt brothers invented the grain drill in the 1860s to stop passenger pigeons from carrying off freshly planted seeds. The first gasoline powered tractor was invented in 1892 by John Froelich, who founded the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Factory.
What’s most amazing to me is that while these inventions have been revised and modified through the centuries, they’re still very much in use today. Planting equipment is still built in Moline, Illinois, and some of the world’s most powerful tractors are still built in Waterloo, Iowa.
I do wonder if these men knew what a lasting impact their inventions would have. Or were they just trying to solve a problem to make life easier for themselves and their customers?
Pretty amazing, isn’t it?