John Deere marks 100-year milestone in tractor production

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John Deere is marking 100 years of producing tractors for the agricultural industry with a display at the John Deere Forum in Mannheim, Germany, of some of its most influential machines, including an original Waterloo Boy – the company’s first machine. 

The company began its history of tractor production by acquiring Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in Iowa, USA, for US$2.25m in 1918. At the time, the acquisition was a fiercely debated and even controversial investment as many in the industry did not foresee much of a future for tractors given the continued heavy reliance on traditional horse power.

The 27hp Waterloo Boy Model N manufactured from 1917 to 1924 was the first tractor built and marketed by the company and the first John Deere-branded machine was the Model D, built from 1923 to 1953.

“Today, the tractor is no longer just for pulling implements – instead, agricultural tractors, machines and implements can be effectively connected,” said a John Deere spokesperson. “For example, tractor implement automation enables a baler to ‘talk’ to the tractor for automatic adjustment of functions such as forward speed, depending on the workload.”

The 100-year John Deere story, from the Waterloo Boy to today’s advanced tractors, is being celebrated at the company’s various tractor factories, with employees, their families and other guests invited to go behind the scenes of the company’s tractor production.

The Mannheim factory will also be holding a parade through the city, and customers who order a tractor this year will receive vehicles embossed with a commemorative 100 years anniversary badge on the machine.

March 23, 2018

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James joined the Industrial Vehicle Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter who keeps him busy.

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