The history of the massive John Deere company dates back to 1837 when the 33-year old pioneer blacksmith from Vermont designed a self-polishing plough in his shop in Illinois. However, it was his son Charles who went on to expand the company started by his father, producing a whole range of agricultural implements until his death in 1907. However, it wasn't until 1918 when the company acquired the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company that tractors became part of their offering. This was the start of the modern John Deere company.
The Waterloo Boy Model N tractor was kept on in production until 1924, slightly overlapping the introduction of the 2-eylinder Model D. many other manufacturers were offering 4-cylinder machines but JD's astute business sense saw that the post-war tractor boom was over and designed the 2-cylinder engine for ease and economy of maintenance. The basic design, albeit continually upgraded, remained in production until 1953 when about 160,000 units had been produced.
A range of row-crop tractors was introduced in 1928 and were known as the GeneralPurpose or GP models. The Model A was produced between 1934-1952 and was a tricycle design for row-crop work, with over 328,000 being made. The smaller Model B was produced between 1935-1952, including a crawler version during the 1940s. However, the basic range had changed little in the years up to 1937, with their "unstyled" tractors looking old-fashioned compared to the stylised offerings from other manufacturers. The Models A & B were restyled in 1937, followed by the D & H models in 1939, and the G in 1942. By this time, pneumatic tyres were being fitted as standard, although the rubber shortage in the later years of the war forced a return to steel wheels.
In the immediate post-war years, JD replaced the H, LA & L with the Model M in 1947. This was closely followed by the MC crawler & MT (tricycle) in 1949. Production of both models reached 70,000 before their demise in 1952. The first diesel-engined tractor, the Model R, was introduced in 1949, and was the last tractor to carry a letter name before the switch to numerical designations. This was the replacement for the D and continued until 1954.
The 20 Series was introduced in the mid 1950s, followed by the Series in 1958, plus the 40, 50, 60, 70 & 80 Series all followed during the 50s & 60s. The 50 & 60 Series replaced the B & A respectively in 1952 while the 80 Series replaced theModel R. In 1959, the first 4-wheel drive variant was introduced and the end of the 1950s saw John Deere expand world-wide with manufacturing bases in Mexico and Germany. To this day, the company has built a reputation based on "Nothing runs like a Deere".
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