John Deere plans centennial celebration for tractor business

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john deere 100th anniversaryMarch 14 marked the 100th anniversary of John Deere’s tractor business, and to celebrate, the company is planning a big centennial celebration this summer.

John Deere entered the farm tractor business in 1918 through the acquisition of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, and at the recent National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, John Deere’s product manager Tiffany Turner took the time to explain how the Waterloo Boy was the first tractor to be marketed under the brand.

“The Waterloo Gasoline Company came in in 1911 and started coming out with more economical, smaller tractors, and that’s when Deere started looking at this as an opportunity,” Turner told Successful Farming. “Behind two closed doors in 1915 they started the conversation, by 1918 they purchased it and then we started producing tractors like the Model-D, and now we’re all the way up to the 9rx narrow. So, if you think about it, back in that day it was 25hp, and now we’re up to 620hp.”

According to Successful Farming, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is marking 2018 as the year of the tractor, and this month they are installing a 1918 green, yellow and red Waterloo Boy tractor at the entrance of the business history exhibit.

“John Deere is excited the Smithsonian has chosen to present one of Deere’s most iconic tractors in the context of technological change in America,” said Neil Dahlstrom, manager, Corporate History and Archives at John Deere. “The display provides an opportunity to educate the public about the importance of agricultural innovation.”

John Deere says that within the exhibition, a new display on “Precision Farming” will take a look at a more contemporary story of disruptive technology in the agriculture industry today with the use of technology.

“There are still several Waterloo Boys that are floating out there,” Turner told Successful Farming. “That’s history, it’s so exciting because every tractor has a story, right? We all learned how to drive a tractor on one; I know I started on a 4020. So, it’s pretty exciting to see where we are at and where we’re going.”

On June 15-16 in Waterloo, Iowa, John Deere says that 100 of the company’s tractors and engines will be displayed at the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum and the Waterloo Convention Center. Both venues, the company says, will include exhibits, family-friendly activities and food, and the displays will also include a mix of company and customer-owned equipment. John Deere adds that the displays will also feature tractors and engines that span across the John Deere product lines, as well as from around the world. All are invited to attend the celebration.

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