John Deere Farmers Pocket Companion from 1884

How cool is this? I stumbled across this vintage public domain image today from Deere & Company, A.K.A John Deere, printed back in 1884, 2 years before John Deere died. Here is an exerpt from Wikipedia about John Deere and how he got started, pretty interesting story.

Deere & Company began when John Deere moved to Grand Detour, Illinois in 1836 in order 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.

What was more successful than these small tools was Deere’s cast-steelplow, which was pioneered in 1837. Prior to Deere’s introduction of the steel plow, most farmers used iron or wooden plows which stuck to the rich Midwestern soil and had to be cleaned very frequently. The smooth sided steel plow solved this problem, and would greatly aid migration into the American Great Plains in the 19th and early 20th century.

Deere’s production of plows 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 plows 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 produced about 100 plows in 1842 and around 400 plows during the next year. 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 quickly built a new factory in 1848. Production at the plant rose quickly and, by 1849, the Deere, Tate & Gould Company was producing over 200 plows a month.

John Deere died in 1886, and the presidency of Deere & Company passed to his son Charles Deere. By now the company was manufacturing a variety of farm equipment products in addition to plows, including wagons, corn planters and cultivators. The company even expanded into the bicycle business briefly during the 1890s, but the core focus of the company remained on agricultural implements.

I love theses images and think it would be super cool to reprint them and sell them at local John Deere dealerships as notebooks. What do you think? To see the image full screen just click on it. To download it just right-click and “save as”. If you do something cool with this please let me know.


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