It currently stands at 98th rank in Fortune 500 ranking. Deere and Company agricultural products, usually sold under the John Deere name, include tractors, combine harvesters, balers, planters/seeders, ATVs and forestry equipment. The company is also a leading supplier of construction plant, as well as equipment used in lawn, grounds and turf care, such as ride-on lawn mowers, string trimmers, chainsaws, snow-throwers and for a short period, snowmobiles.
John Deere products are known for their distinctive green and yellow colour scheme. The company's slogan is "Nothing runs like a Deere" and has a picture of a Deer as a logo, a pun on "nothing runs like a Deer."
Additionally, John Deere manufactures engines used in heavy equipment and provides financial services and other related activities that support the core businesses.
Deere & Company began when John Deere, born in Rutland (town), Vermont, USA on February 7, 1804 moved to Grand Detour, Illinois in 1836 to escape bankruptcy in Vermont. Already an established blacksmith, Deere opened a 1,378 square feet shop in Grand Detour in 1837 which allowed him to serve as a general repairman in the village, as well as a manufacturer of small tools such as pitchforks and shovels.
Even more successful than these small tools was Deere's cast-steel plough, which was pioneered in 1837. Prior to Deere's introduction of the steel plough, most farmers used iron or wooden ploughs which stuck to the rich Midwestern soil and had to be cleaned very frequently. The smooth sided steel plough solved this problem, and would greatly aid migration into the American Great Plains in the 19th and early 20th century.
Deere's production of ploughs began slowly, but increased greatly when he departed from the traditional business model of making equipment as it was ordered and instead began to manufacture ploughs before they were ordered and then put them up for sale. This allowed customers to see what they were buying beforehand, and word of the product began to spread quickly.
In 1842, Deere entered a business partnership with Leonard Andrus and purchased land for the construction of a new two-story factory along the Rock River in Illinois. This factory, named the "L. Andrus Plough Manufacturer", produced about 100 ploughs in 1842 and approximately 400 ploughs during the next year. Despite the success, Deere's partnership with Andrus ended in 1848, when Deere relocated to Moline, Illinois in order to have access to the railroad and the Mississippi River. In Moline, Deere formed a partnership with Robert Tate and John Gould and quickly built a new 1,440 square feet factory in 1848. Production at the plant rose quickly and, by 1849, the Deere, Tate & Gould Company was producing over 200 ploughs a month, and a two story addition to the plant was built to allow for further production.
Deere & Company
John Deere bought out Tate and Gould's interests in the company in 1853, the same year that he was joined in the business by his son Charles Deere. The business continued to expand until 1857, when the company's production totals reached almost 1,120 implements per month. Then, in 1858 a nationwide financial recession took a toll on the company. In order to prevent bankruptcy, the company was reorganized and Deere sold his interests in the business to his son in law, Christopher Webber, and his son, Charles Deere, who would take on most of his father's managerial roles. The company was reorganized one final time in 1868, when it was incorporated as Deere & Company. The company's original stockholders were Charles Deere, Stephen Velie, George Vinton, and John Deere, who would serve as president of the company until 1886. Despite this, it was Charles who effectively ran the company. In 1869, Charles began to introduce marketing centres and independent retail dealers to advance the company's sales nationwide.
John Deere died in 1886, and the presidency of Deere & Company passed to Charles Deere. By now the company was manufacturing a variety of farm equipment products in addition to ploughs, including wagons, corn planters, cultivators. The company even expanded into the bicycle business briefly during the 1890s but the core focus of the company remained on agricultural implements. Increased competition during the early 1900s from the new International Harvester Company led the company to expand its offerings in the implement business, but it was the production of gasoline tractors which would come to define Deere & Company's operations during the twentieth century.
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