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John Deere

I think of my Dad, Herb Kannianen, as a John Deere man. He owned other tractors and equipment, probably since John Deere was usually more expensive, but he seemed partial to his John Deere tractors and equipment. I adored my Dad, so that's probably why I still love that green and yellow stuff. And the flying deer logo--"Nothing runs like a Deere!"

Although I grew up around John Deere equipment, I never knew the company was the name of a real man.

Born in 1804, John Deere started out as a blacksmith in Vermont. As a young apprentice, he became known for smooth hay forks (pitchforks) and shovels. He moved to Illinois, where he set up a blacksmith shop. After repairing endless plows made of cast iron and wood, he realized they weren't doing the job. Invented on the East coast, where the soil was often light and sandy, they frustrated the farmers in the Midwest. The soil there was thick and heavy, and stuck to the plowshares. John Deere invented a new kind of plow in 1837.

Made out of highly polished steel, it was the first commercially successful self-scouring plow. Its shiny surface and properly shaped share cleaned itself as it turned over a furrow of sod. They became extremely popular, known as John Deere's "self polishers."

By 1907, the company had a wide range of plows, cultivators, corn and cotton planters, and other implements. Later they developed their own line of tractors, combines, commercial equipment, etc.

I don't know the year of this old combine, but I have to admire the paint! Still green after a lot of decades. It's hard to see, but the print on the back of this combine says "Moline, Illinois" which is still the headquarters for John Deere.

I didn't measure, but I'd guess this header was about six or seven feet across. In contrast, I think my brother's combine header is 36 feet.

John Deere was quoted, after people told him he was being too picky with improvements, as saying, "I will never put my name on a product that does not have the best that is in me."

My brother Carl has John Deere tractors on his farm. Below is our daughter Jana inside the wheel of one of them.

I'm a little sad I don't see a flying deer on this one ... .

John Deere is still going strong, now a $58 billion company, so the ol' blacksmith didn't do too badly.

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