Around here, we are big fans of John Deere. Over the last century-and-a-half, the brand and its signature green have come to symbolize integrity, hard work and down-to-earth values, whether at at farm or on a construction site. John Deere has inspired countless songs, supported generations of families and tilled and built the nation we call home. But many Americans don't realize just how far the manufacturer's roots extend back into our country's history. Here are some facts about the man behind the big green tractor and the plow that made history:
- Accidental discovery: In 1837, John Deere was just a salt-of-the-earth, blue collar Midwesterner, working as a blacksmith in Grand Detour, Illinois. One day, while working with a broken steel sawmill blade, he had a light bulb moment, turning the blade into a makeshift moldboard. Previously area farmers had used moldboards made of cast-iron, which tended to get stuck in the soil.
- Curve ball: The curve of the moldboard also set it apart. "It is essentially a parallelogram, curved in a concave fashion," writes Wayne Broehl, Jr. in his book "John Deere's Company." "Deere must have given a great deal of thought to the shape, to the special curve of his moldboard, for its exact contours would determine just how well the soil would be turned over after the share had made the cut."
- Singing sensation: Deere's new plow quickly became popular with Midwestern farmers. Some said that it cut through the dirt so quickly that it made a singing noise, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
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