Today, I was able to tour the John Deere head office in East Moline Illinois. I am always fascinated by stories of business successes, particularly when they are based on innovative ideas or products. This photo demonstrates the innovation John Deere, the blacksmith brought to the world.
Originally the wooden plough had a cast iron blade. This worked well in sandy light soil however, in the northern states with heavy black soil and an average of 33.34 inches of rain a year in Illinois the farmer needed to kick the mud off his blade every few steps.
John Deere’s mother was a knitter and used polished steel knitting needles. Thinking about these knitting needles he decided to try using highly polished steel rather than cast iron for the plough blade. He found a discarded steel saw blade and adapted it to fit the plough. This new blade worked. It created a furrow without the mud sticking to the blade, increasing ploughing speed. With this John Deere began manufacturing agriculture equipment in 1837.