Working with history

Historic plow with John Deere 175th Anniversary Logo

This will come as no surprise to most of you, but I’m a big fan of history.  I think I can safely blame my love of reading for some of it, and some of it is probably just my natural fascination with little details. Many people hear bits of historic minutia and think “so?”.  I think “How cool!”

 So  I’ve got to admit I’m really enjoying a current project that I’m working on. This year, John Deere celebrates its 175th anniversary.
That means that John Deere had been in business for over 70 years when Henry Ford introduced the Model T. It was in business for almost 40 years when Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.
The company lasted through the American Civil War, the Great Depression, World Wars I and II.  The list goes on and on. Heck, the company has been publishing The Furrow, a farming magazine, for over 100 years.

John Deere Blacksmith

One interesting thing that I’ve discovered since I started working at the company is that there is still ablacksmith on staff. He works at the Historic Site in Grand Detour, Illinois* and demonstrates the same kind of manual ironworking that Deere himself would have used to make his famous plow. I haven’t had a chance to see the blacksmith in action, but I hope to get a chance this summer. Coworkers have told me that history gets even more interesting when you add in some flying sparks and clanging hammers.
Like history isn’t interesting enough as it is…
*The company didn’t move to Moline, Illinois till 1848, where the world headquarters still remains today. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that– I didn’t until one of the Heritage Marketing guys told me last year, and I still needed to look up the date.  
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