Heavy Construction News – John Deere

Heavy Construction News

John Deere

 

Deere & Company
Type
Public
Traded as NYSE: DE
S&P 500 Component
Industry Heavy equipment
Founded Grand Detour, Illinois
(1837; 180 years ago)
Founder John Deere
Headquarters Moline, Illinois, United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Samuel R. Allen
(CEO and President)
Products Agriculture, Construction, Forestry, Consumer & Commercial equipment, Diesel engines, Automobiles
Services Financial services
Revenue Decrease US$26.644 billion (2016)
Operating income
Decrease US$2.988 billion (2016)
Net income
Decrease US$1.524 billion (2016)
Total assets Increase US$57.981 billion (2016)
Total equity Decrease US$6.520 billion (2016)
Number of employees
56,767 (2016)
Website www.deere.com

Deere & Company (brand name John Deere) is an American corporation that manufactures agricultural, construction, and forestry machinery, diesel engines, drivetrains (axles, transmissions, gearboxes) used in heavy equipment, and lawn care equipment. In 2016, it was listed as 97th in the Fortune 500 America’s ranking and was ranked 364th in the global ranking in 2016.

John Deere also provides financial services and other related activities.

Deere is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DE. The company’s slogan is “Nothing Runs Like a Deere”, and its logo is a leaping deer, with the words ‘JOHN DEERE’ under it. The logo of the leaping deer has been used by this company for over 155 years. Over the years, the logo has had minor changes and pieces removed. Some of the older style logos have the deer leaping over a log. The company uses different logo colors for agricultural vs. construction products. The company’s agricultural products are identifiable by a distinctive shade of green paint, with the inside border being yellow. While the construction products are identifiable by a shade of black with the deer being yellow, and the inside border also being yellow.

Deere & Company began when John Deere, born in Rutland, Vermont, USA on February 7, 1804, moved to Grand Detour, Illinois in 1836 to escape bankruptcy in Vermont. Already an established blacksmith, Deere opened a 1,378-square-foot (128 m2) 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. Small tools production was just a start; the item that set him apart, was the self-scouring steel plow, which was pioneered in 1837 when John Deere fashioned a Scottish steel saw blade into a plow. Prior to Deere’s steel plow, most farmers used iron or wooden plows to which the rich Midwestern soil stuck, so had to be cleaned frequently. The smooth-sided steel plow solved this problem, and greatly aided migration into the American Great Plains in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The traditional way of doing business was to make the product as and when it was ordered. This style was very slow, As Deere realized that this was not going to be a viable business model, he increased the rate of production by manufacturing plows before putting them up for sale; this allowed customers to not only see what they were buying beforehand, but also allowed his customers to purchase his products straight away. Word of his products 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, named the “L. Andrus Plough Manufacturer”, produced about 100 plows in 1842 and around 400 plows during the next year. Deere’s partnership with Andrus ended in 1848, and Deere relocated to Moline, Illinois, to have access to the railroad and the Mississippi River. There, Deere formed a partnership with Robert Tate and John Gould and built a 1,440-square-foot (134 m2) factory the same year. Production rose quickly, and by 1849, the Deere, Tate & Gould Company was producing over 200 plows a month. A two-story addition to the plant was built, allowing further production.

 

Logo of the company used between 1876 and 1912

Deere bought out Tate and Gould’s interests in the company in 1853, and was joined in the business by his son Charles Deere. At that time, the company was manufacturing a variety of farm equipment products in addition to plows, including wagons, corn planters, and cultivators. In 1857, the company’s production totals reached almost 1,120 implements per month. In 1858, a nationwide financial recession took a toll on the company. To prevent bankruptcy, the company was reorganized and Deere sold his interests in the business to his son-in-law, Christopher Webber, and his son, Charles Deere, who would take on most of his father’s managerial roles. John Deere served as president of the company until 1886. The company was reorganized again in 1868, when it was incorporated as Deere & Company. While the company’s original stockholders were Charles Deere, Stephen Velie, George Vinton, and John Deere, Charles effectively ran the company. In 1869, Charles began to introduce marketing centers and independent retail dealers to advance the company’s sales nationwide. This same year, Deere & Company won “Best and Greatest Display of Plows in Variety” at the 17th Annual Illinois State Fair, for which it won $10 and a Silver Medal.

The core focus remained on the agricultural implements, but John Deere apparently also made a few bicycles in the 1890’s.

20th century

John Deere Plow & Cultivators Co.’s New Orleans House, 1903

Increased competition during the early 1900s from the new International Harvester Company led the company to expand its offerings in the implement business, but the production of gasoline tractors came to define Deere & Company’s operations during the 20th century.

Logo of the company used between 1912 and 1936

In 1912, Deere & Company president William Butterworth (Charles’ son-in-law), who had replaced Charles Deere after his death in 1907, began the company’s expansion into the tractor business. Deere & Company briefly experimented with its own tractor models, the most successful of which was the Dain All-Wheel-Drive, but in the end decided to continue its foray into the tractor business by purchasing the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in 1918, which manufactured the popular Waterloo Boy tractor at its facilities in Waterloo, Iowa. Deere & Company continued to sell tractors under the Waterloo Boy name until 1923, when the John Deere Model D was introduced. The company continues to manufacture a large percentage of its tractors in Waterloo, Iowa, namely the 7R, 8R, and 9R series.

The company produced its first combine harvester, the John Deere No. 2, in 1927. A year later, this innovation was followed up by the introduction of John Deere No. 1, a smaller machine that was more popular with customers. By 1929, the No. 1 and No. 2 were replaced by newer, lighter-weight harvesters. In the 1930s, John Deere and other farm equipment manufacturers began developing hillside harvesting technology. Harvesters now had the ability to effectively use their combines to harvest grain on hillsides with up to a 50% slope gradient.[9]

On an episode of the Travel Channel series Made in America that profiled Deere & Company, host John Ratzenberger stated that the company never repossessed any equipment from American farmers during the Great Depression.

During World War II, the great-grandson of John Deere, Charles Deere Wiman, was president of the company, but he accepted a commission as a colonel in the U.S. Army. A replacement was hired and before returning to work at the company in late 1944, Wiman directed the farm machinery and equipment division of the War Production Board. In addition to farm machinery, John Deere manufactured military tractors, and transmissions for the M3 tank. They also made aircraft parts, ammunition, and mobile laundry units to support the war effort.

In 1947, John Deere introduced its first self-propelled combine, the model 55. It was soon followed by the smaller models 40 and 45, the larger model 95, and an even larger model 105 was introduced in the 1960s. In the mid-1950s, Deere introduced attachable corn heads, allowing crop producers to cut, shell, and clean corn in one smooth operation.

In 1956, Deere & Company bought-out the German tractor manufacturer, Heinrich Lanz AG (see Lanz Bulldog).

A John Deere-Lanz 700 tractor

On August 30, 1960, John Deere dealers from around the world converged on Dallas, Texas, for an unprecedented product showcase. Deere Day in Dallas, as the event was called, introduced the world to the “New Generation of Power”, the company’s first modern four-cylinder and six-cylinder tractors, during a day packed with high-tech presentations, live demonstrations, and a parking lot full of brand-new green and yellow machines. The line of tractors introduced that day was five years in the making, and the event itself took months to plan. Deere chose Dallas to host the event partly because it was home to facilities large enough to accommodate the 6,000 guests and the equipment they were all there to see. The Dallas Memorial Auditorium, the Texas State Fairgrounds Coliseum, the Cotton Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl parking lot were each the site of part of the event. During the event, a new John Deere tractor with a diamond-covered nameplate was displayed for all to see inside Neiman-Marcus, a popular Dallas-based department store.

According to information released by the company at the time of the event, John Deere dealers and key employees came to Dallas via the “largest commercial airlift of its type ever attempted.” During the 24 hours leading up to the event, 16 airlines brought Deere employees and sales people from all over the United States and Canada to Love Field in Dallas. Bill Hewitt, then chairman and CEO of Deere & Company, welcomed the dealers and introduced the new tractors. Hewitt told the guests they were about to see “a line of entirely new tractors – completely modern in every respect – with outstanding features not duplicated in any other make of tractor.”

Since entering the tractor business in 1918, John Deere had focused on two-cylinder machines. The New Generation of Power introduced at Deere Day in Dallas was very different from anything Deere had built before. The new line of four- and six-cylinder tractors, the models 1010, 2010, 3010, and 4010, were more far more powerful than Deere’s two-cylinder models, and also easier and more comfortable to operate, with conveniently located controls, better visibility, and improved seat suspension. These new tractors were also easier to service.

The 4010 was rated at 80 horsepower in 1960, but tested at 84 horsepower during testing trials, making it one of the most powerful two-wheel-drive farm tractors at that time. The 4010 was the predecessor to the 4020, which is widely regarded as the most popular tractor ever produced by John Deere, and perhaps any tractor manufacturer in the United States. Although the 4020, which was available with Deere’s optional Power Shift, enjoyed greater popularity, the 4010 moved John Deere into the modern era of farm tractor technology and design following its successful history as a tractor manufacturer that was by the late 1950s experiencing waning market share due to its outdated technology.

In addition to the advanced engine technology, the “10” series tractors offered many other upgrades from the older two-cylinder models they replaced, including significantly higher horsepower-to-weight ratio, advanced hydraulics, more convenient and comfortable operator stations, and many other improvements. Of the “10” series John Deere tractors introduced in 1960, the 4010 was by far the most popular, with more than 58,000 units sold from 1960 to 1963. The success of the “10” series John Deere tractors, led by the 4010, helped propel John Deere from a 23% market share in 1959 to 34% by 1964 when the 4020 was introduced, making it the top manufacturer of farm equipment in the United States.

In 1972, Deere introduced its new ‘Sound Idea’ tractors, the 4030, 4230, 4430, and 4630. While these tractors were mechanically similar to the New Generation tractors they replaced, and the 4230, 4430, and 4630 used a 404-cubic-inch displacement engine like the 4020, they featured redesigned sheet metal and most importantly they were available with an optional completely integrated operator’s cab that John Deere called the Sound Gard body. This insulated cab that included a roll-over protective structure had a distinctive rounded windshield and came equipped with heat and air conditioning, as well as speakers for an optional radio. An 8-track tape player was also available as an option. The 5020 was replaced by the very similar 6030 and continued in production with New Generation styling until 1977 when the 30 Series tractors were replaced by Deere’s ‘Iron Horse’ series that included the 90-hp 4040, 110-hp 4240, 130-hp 4440, 150-HP 4640, and 180-hp 4840. The 4240, 4440, 4640, and 4840 featured a new 466-cubic-inch displacement engine, and improvements to the cab including an optional hydraulic seat for a smoother ride. The Sound Gard body and Power Shift transmission were standard equipment on the 4840.

In 1983, Deere introduced the 4050, 4250, 4450, 4650, and 4850. These tractors were essentially the same machines as the Iron Horses they replaced, but with significant upgrades. They offered a new 15-speed Power Shift transmission, and were available with optional mechanical front-wheel drive featuring caster action for better traction and a tighter turning radius. They also featured cosmetic upgrades, including a new light brown cab interior, not the black interior on previous models. These tractors were followed by the mechanically similar 55 and 60 series tractors before they were replaced by the Deere’s completely redesigned 7000 and 8000 series tractors in the early 1990s.

In the 1962 Illinois Manufacturers Directory (50th anniversary edition), John Deere, listed as Deere and Company, claimed a total work force of 35,000, of which 9,000 were in Illinois. The corporate headquarters were located at 1325 Third Ave. in Moline, Illinois, with six manufacturing plants located around that city and a seventh plant in Hoopston, Illinois. The six plants in Moline were listed as:

  • John Deere Harvester Works at 1100 – 13th Ave., East Moline, where 3,000 employees made agricultural implements
  • John Deere Industrial Equipment Works at 301 Third Ave., Moline, where 500 employees made earth-moving equipment
  • John Deere Malleable Works at 1335-13th Street, East Moline, where 600 employees made malleable and nodular iron castings
  • John Deere Planter Works at 501 Third Ave., Moline, where 1,000 employees made agricultural implements *John Deere Plow Works at 1225 Third Ave., Moline, where 1,100 employees made agricultural implements
  • John Deere Spreader Works at 1209-13th Ave., Moline where 800 employees made agricultural implements

The John Deere Vermilion Works was located at North Sixth Ave., Hoopston, Illinois, where 140 employees were listed as making iron work and implement parts. Moline, with 42,705 residents in 1962, had the local 7,000 employees of John Deere represent 16% of the city’s entire population.

In 1969, John Deere followed its New Generation tractors of the 1960s with a New Generation of combines. These included the 3300, 4400, 6600, and 7700. These models were also the first to come with Quik-Tatch header mounting capabilities as standard equipment. In the 1980s, these combines were followed by the 4420, 6620, 7720, and 8820 that were essentially updated and improved versions of the previous models with larger capacity, a nicer cab, and easier maintenance and service. The 4420 was discontinued in 1984 and replaced by the 4425 combine imported from Germany, and the 6620, 7720, and 8820 received the Titan II updates.

In 1989, Deere replaced the 6620, 7720, and 8820 with a new line of completely redesigned ‘Maximizer’ combines that included the 9400, 9500, and 9600 walker combines. These combines were completely redesigned and featured a center-mounted cab, rear-mounted engine, and more comforts in the cab. Also in 1989, Deere was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 1997, Deere celebrated 50 years of self-propelled combine production, and the 1997 models featured a 50th-anniversary decal. In 1998, the 9410, 9510, and 9610 were introduced. These were essentially the same machines, but with minor upgrades. Deere dealers offered ’10 series’ upgrades to owners of older 9000 series Maximizer combines. In 1999, Deere introduced the 50 series Maximizer combines. These machines featured significant cosmetic upgrades including a more streamlined appearance, improved ergonomics in the cab, PTO shaft-style header hook-up, and the larger models were available as rotary machines which were a complete departure from the combines that Deere had built in the past.

In the late 1970s, International Harvester had pioneered rotary combines with their Axial flow machines, and were soon followed by other manufacturers, but Deere continued to build only conventional walker combines through the 1980s and 1990s. In 1999, John Deere introduced the Single-Tine Separation (STS) system on its 9550, 9650, and 9750 combines, representing a step forward in rotary combine technology. The STS system uses less horsepower and improves material handling.

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