John Deere Plow

John Deere Plow

Usage conditions apply
John Deere failed as a blacksmith in Vermont but succeeded as an agricultural tool manufacturer in Illinois. His company built revolutionary plows like this early 1838 example. The steel blades of Deere plows slid more easily through sticky prairie soil and made farmers more efficient. John and his son Charles expanded the company through clever marketing and financial acumen making Deere & Company the largest plow manufacturer in the world. The company continue to expand making everything from tractors to combines, from mechanical cotton harvesters to riding lawnmowers.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
John Deere
Place Made
United States: Illinois, Grand Detour
Physical Description
wood (part: material)
iron (part: material)
steel (part: material)
overall: 380 mm x 460 mm x 1230 mm; 14 15/16 in x 18 1/8 in x 48 7/16 in
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Deere and Company, 1938
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
National Treasures exhibit
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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Basically all these farmers in the midwest were complaining that plows weren't working in their tougher soil, as compared to the softer, sandier soil on the East Coast. John Deere heard these complaints and made a revolutionary plow out of a steel saw blade that was easily able to cut deeper and more efficiently through the prairie soil.
This item was on plantations for slavery work I guess.
It was ACTUALLY used primarily in the free states and helped the North become economically more powerful than the south. Slavers weren’t as interested in efficiency as farmers that didn’t have slaves.

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