John Deere celebrates 100

— The John Deere company is celebrating its 100-year anniversary of entering into the tractor business with a 100 days of celebrations.

The 100 days of celebration started on March 14 at the Tractor and Engine Museum.

John Deere entered into the tractor manufacturing business in 1918 with the purchase of the Waterloo Gasoline Company.

Tiffany Turner, product manager for large tractors of John Deere Co., said John Deere wasn’t on the forefront of the tractor manufacturing business as many believe.

The first tractors were built at the turn of the century. They were too heavy for most farmers to use as well as too expensive.

The Waterloo Gasoline Company came out with two versions of a tractor in 1911 that proved to be more economical and smaller.

“They were lighter weight and easier to afford,” said Turner.

Soon thereafter, John Deere was given the opportunity to enter into the tractor business, but Turner said with a severe drought, low sales and a war, they didn’t want to jump that hurdle.

“In 1915, company president William Butterworth, who was son-in-law to Charles Deere, made the decision they were not getting into the tractor business,” she said. “But I think that was a great simulation of where strategy and collaboration within Deere really showed reward.”

A two-day board meeting eventually overruled him and John Deere officially entered into the tractor business on March 14, 1918, with the purchase of the Waterloo Gasoline Company for $2.25 million.

John Deere stepped into a saturated market, Turner said, with 186 different tractor manufacturers on the scene by the early 1920s.


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