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The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere

af Neil Dahlstrom

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1011,461,746 (3.25)1
Today, John Deere is remembered-some say mistakenly-as the inventor of the steel plow. Who was this legendary man and how did he create the internationally renowned company that still bears his name? He began as a debt-stricken blacksmith who, fleeing debt in New England in the 1830s, set up shop in a little town on the Illinois frontier. There, in response to farmers' struggles, he designed a new plow that cut through the impervious prairie sod and lay open the rich, heavy soil for planting. The demand for his polished steel plow convinced him to specialize in farm implements. In the decades before the Civil War, John Deere envisioned a company supplying midwestern farmers with reliable, affordable equipment. He used only high quality, imported steel and resisted pressure to raise prices. At the same time, he won respectful affection from his employees by working alongside them on the shop floor. Upon taking the helm in the 1860s, John's only surviving son, Charles, expanded the Moline factories to increase production, started branch houses in major midwestern cities to speed distribution, and began to transform the company into a modern corporation. The transformation didn't come without difficulties however: Charles found himself battling the Grange, facing threats of labor unions and strikes led by his own employees, and enduring patent suits and blatant thefts of product designs and advertising.… (mere)

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This biography follows one person's goal of working for himself and using his blacksmith skill to eventually build the best quality plow and do so at an affordable price.

The author covers both John Deere's life as well as most of his son's. His son had a great influence on improving his fathers plow manufacturing business through incorporating his own skills into the operation. The father-son team complimented each other well and their business grew, due to the dedication and combined skills.

The entire story of these two people preceded the tractor.

The authors do a good job following the lives of these people and their little company, from the start to the death of the father. By that time, the John Deere company was well known and seems to really have the best plows, and a reputation to repair them and provide replacement parts when needed.

There are few photos in the book but that does not matter much.
The reader learns a lot about the plows used in the Illinois area and in the prairie country, as farmers came west and first broke the surface of the land with unsuitable plows. The authors describe John Deere's idea of greatly improving plows to handle the new prairie soil, allowing a farmer to plow more acres per day.
As the book progresses the authors follow the father-son team through overcoming obstacles such as intermittent supply problems, advertising or getting the word out, copycat manufacturers, and bringing in key skilled people to handle what the two of them could not do well.
This book is a good read of times long ago, of the trials of being your own boss, and of establishing a reputation, especially in the age before telephone or radio. ( )
  billsearth | May 2, 2015 |
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Today, John Deere is remembered-some say mistakenly-as the inventor of the steel plow. Who was this legendary man and how did he create the internationally renowned company that still bears his name? He began as a debt-stricken blacksmith who, fleeing debt in New England in the 1830s, set up shop in a little town on the Illinois frontier. There, in response to farmers' struggles, he designed a new plow that cut through the impervious prairie sod and lay open the rich, heavy soil for planting. The demand for his polished steel plow convinced him to specialize in farm implements. In the decades before the Civil War, John Deere envisioned a company supplying midwestern farmers with reliable, affordable equipment. He used only high quality, imported steel and resisted pressure to raise prices. At the same time, he won respectful affection from his employees by working alongside them on the shop floor. Upon taking the helm in the 1860s, John's only surviving son, Charles, expanded the Moline factories to increase production, started branch houses in major midwestern cities to speed distribution, and began to transform the company into a modern corporation. The transformation didn't come without difficulties however: Charles found himself battling the Grange, facing threats of labor unions and strikes led by his own employees, and enduring patent suits and blatant thefts of product designs and advertising.

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