The history of a blacksmith named John Deere and a company of the same name, created by him in the 19th century, is closely intertwined with the colonization and development of the Midwest, an area that promised great opportunities and opened up great prospects for settlers.
John Deere was born on February 7, 1804 in Vermont, where he spent his childhood and adolescence, graduated from high school and completed a four-year course in blacksmithing. In 1825, John Deere began his career as an apprentice and soon gained respect and a good reputation for his skill and craftsmanship. Forks and shovels were especially popular in western Vermont.
The economic crisis has severely affected the business environment in Vermont. The future for the young ambitious man was a rather bleak picture. Most of the natives from Vermont emigrated to the Western states. Stories about great opportunities and prospects in other states captured John Deere so much that he decided to leave his own business and join the settlers, taking only tools and some cash with him. After long weeks of travel, he settled in a small town in Illinois, founded by immigrants from Vermont. The demand for blacksmithing was so great that just two days after arriving in Illinois, John Deere founded his own forge.
He then had a lot of work - making horseshoes for horses and cattle, repairing plows and other agricultural equipment for farmers. It was from the farmers that John learned that they were having difficulty handling the sticky prairie soils. The steel plows they brought with them from the Eastern States were designed for light sandy soils. Plowing the soil became a slow and laborious operation, which caused many to become discouraged and contemplated moving to other states. John Deere carefully studied the problem and came to the conclusion that the correct shape and mouldboard of the plow should lead to its self-cleaning of sticky soil. So in 1837 a steel plow of a unique design was created, which successfully passed field tests. This plow was one of the first examples of custom-made agricultural machinery.
Ten years after the creation of the legendary plow in 1848, John Deere was already producing more than 1000 of these products a year. The business principles that guided him have not lost their relevance today: "I will never put my name on a product that does not contain the best in me." One of the founder's partners once expressed his dissatisfaction with the constant changes in product design, citing the fact that farmers will be forced to buy the plows that will be produced by the company. John Deere responded by saying that “farmers are not obligated to buy the plows we make. Someone else will do it for us, and we will lose our business. " Since then, Deer & Company has continuously continued to improve its products. In 1868, the company was registered as a corporation, in 1869 the founder's son Charles Deere was appointed vice president, and subsequently president of the company.
Charles Deere was a prominent businessman who founded subsidiaries and a network of independent retail equipment dealers. By 1907, the corporation was already producing a range of steel plows, cultivators, seeders, and more. During the work of the third president of the enterprise, six independent manufacturers of agricultural equipment became part of Deer & Company, which allowed the corporation to produce the entire line of agricultural equipment. In 1918, the company acquired a tractor plant in Waterloo, Iowa.
In 1928, John Deere's grandson, Charles Deere Wyman, took over the management of the company. While modern agriculture was booming, Charles's reliance on engineering and technological excellence led to great success and significant growth for the company. Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, the company reached $ 100 million in gross sales for the first time in history in 1937. During the Second World War, the management of Deer & Company continued to improve its products, which allowed it to take a strong position in the post-war market. Shortly before the death of Charles Deere Wyman, the company became one of the 100 largest manufacturers in the American market.
Under the leadership of William Hewitt, who headed the company from 1955 to 1982, the business was booming. Manufacturing and marketing operations have been established globally in various countries. The company has become a leading manufacturer of agricultural equipment, the largest manufacturer of construction, forestry, and park and lawn maintenance equipment in the world.
Robert Hanson, Mr. Hewitt's successor, worked for the company during a difficult economic situation and intense competition. Under his influence, the corporation acquired a dynamic flexible structure and reached a new level of sales, setting record figures in the last three years of the decade.
Hans Becherer was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors in 1990. He continued to develop international operations. Six times in Mr. Becherer's career, the company has hit record highs. He retired in August 2000. During this time, Robert W. Lane became the head of the company, with extensive experience in John Deere, including the management of the agricultural division of the company and its lending institution.