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She is said to have liked green because it represented the new growth of spring and gold because it reminded her of the harvest.

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Those distinct colors are trademarked, Grant said. The largest room of the museum is filled with many tractors from the company's past. Nearly all of them are owned by private collectors, who have restored them.

John Deere: Man with the Golden Plow

They're shown on a rotating basis to keep things fresh. I grew up in eastern Iowa and my grandparents farmed into the s. So I recognized a few of the tractors on display, including the model, which was first built 55 years ago. A wall in the museum's great room shows how the tractor-making process progresses from design to foundry to machining to assembling the finished products.

Though the techniques have changed over time, Grant said, the four phases haven't. There's also a circular, interactive display that tells the story of the museum's location. The site has been used for manufacturing since , and it was here that the Waterloo Gas Engine Co. A small, movable water tower links visitors to wall panels that tell about other John Deere factories in Waterloo.

In the s, they covered 7 million square feet and acres of land. Today, the company still has thousands of employees in this city on the Cedar River. The museum also has a display about workers' lives that includes a well-worn woman's assembly line uniform from World War II. It also covers the company's labor history and a strike. The last room has a section on John Deere dealerships from the early days, including one from Cross Plains.

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This part of the museum also includes a huge R model tractor that was produced in Waterloo less than a month ago. It dwarfs the other tractors on display, but Grant said it isn't the biggest one produced by John Deere.

Grant, who knew little about tractors before she began working on the museum project several years ago, said she gets a kick out of watching people stroll through the museum. And in the process of working on the museum, she discovered a little about her own family history. By talking to family members and digging around a bit, I found out that it was a Model B. I had no idea.

Tuesday through Saturday. Children ages 12 and under are free with an adult. For details, call For other things to see and do in the Waterloo area, call or see travelwaterloo.

by R.T. Johnson

Getting there: Waterloo is about miles southwest of Milwaukee via I, Highway and Highway Outside of Moline his investments aside from his factories were in every known avenue of public enterprise. There is no estimating the scope of Mr. Deere's contribution to the material prosperity and progress of the world. His factories and allied industries, his distributing branches, gave employment to thousands and furnished means of livelihood to other thousands, to say nothing of the countless thousands who have profited through the utility of the Deere plow and allied implements.

Such usefulness to humanity is not generally dignified with the name of philanthropy, but men who have been such factors in providing the opportunity to others to help themselves must be real philanthropists in a large appreciation of the term. His closest friends scarcely realized the extent of his national prominence and influence. A sincere republican, he was a factor in the highest councils of his party. He stood consistently for those policies which would build up the nation. He was a counselor of statesmen, for had he not intimate knowledge of the farm and factory, the warn-earner of national resources, all of them the most serious considerations of the lawmaker: He was accorded appointments of honor as national convention delegate, national elector in the Benjamin Harrison campaigns, president of the state board of labor statistics under Governors Ogelsby and Cullom, trustee of DeKalb Normal School, commissioner to the Vienna Exposition in and to the World's Columbian Exposition in in Chicago.

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But only once did he take up public work for personal reasons, and that in the interest of the development of deep waterways, a cause which lay close to the heart of one with such large conception of the world's wealth. He was appointed by Governor Deneen in to be commissioner of the Illinois and Michigan canal in appreciation of his influence in promoting the question of national waterways before congress and of drawing attention to the water-ways of Illinois.

This strong silent man, who abounded in action and in splendid achievement was supremely indifferent to personal prominence or power. A man of the world in its largest sense, he was swayed by the simplest tastes. He found his recreation and delight in things which money cannot buy-in his home, in the woods and hills and water, in flowers, in the progress of the crops, in reverencing the memories of the sturdy pioneers, especially of the middle west. Did he have a weakness it was for fine horses. He was a plain man of the people wherever he went, democratic in nature, dignified, reserved-a gentleman of the old school, courtly considerate, deferential, who shunned ostentation to the degree of abhorrence.

His benevolences were wholly impersonal, offhand, from the pocket, his identity often being completely hidden. He was quickly responsive to children and he would strike up a sort of quiet good fellow-ship with them as he passed them from day to day along the street.

John Deere Man With the Golden Plow

He gave most liberally to encourage talent and ambition of children in limited circumstances, and when once his sympathies were enlisted he never forgot. He idolized his own grand-children.

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Deere was married September 16, , to Mary L. Dickinson of Chicago.

To them were born two children: Anna C. Deere, born in October, , wife of William Butterworth. Deere died October 29, The above biography is held at Access Genealogy. Permission has been granted to republish here. Access Genealogy One of the largest websites online providing free genealogy. A must see for Native American research! Find Your Ancestors at SurnameWeb The oldest, most complete listings of surnames and related websites online.

Free Family Tree Family Tree Guide is a quick, simple and free way for you to share your family history. Within minutes, you can have a dynamically driven website that creatively portrays your family tree. Free Genealogy Charts These free genealogy charts will enable you to begin development of a notebook in which you can track your ancestry as you research it. Copyright, by Webified Development all rights reserved. Charles Deere was brought a babe in arms by his mother in from the family home in Hancock, Addison County, Vermont, where Charles was born March 28, John Deere had preceded the family by several months to the west.

In the simple home at Grand Detour, now a somewhat deserted village near Dixon, Illinois, the son tasted the privations of the pioneer, lived the humble life of the settler, mingled with the Indians and was given the meager advantages of the country school. He was brought a boy of eleven, to the new home in Moline when John Deere, in , was prompted to move from Grand Detour by reason of the natural advantages of coal, water power and transportation for his modest industry.

His common school education was continued in Moline and he attended commercial schools at Davenport and Galesburg, finishing his education at Bell's commercial school in Chicago. Under the direction of such a master mind it was but natural that a distinctively Deere sentiment should sway the industry. He envisioned that soil sliding easily off of a highly polished steel moldboard.


With steel scarce in the area, Deere acquired a broken steel saw blade, and from it crafted a new type of moldboard plow. Now, nearly two centuries later, the company that grew out of the success of this innovative plow continues to manufacture advanced equipment for those whose commitment to the land runs deep. While the original plow could only do a fraction of the work farmers can tackle with modern tillage equipment, it was high-tech at the time. Historian Wayne Broehl, Jr. Over the next two decades, Deere built strong supply and distribution channels, and continually improved his product based on suggestions from customers.

His research paid off and by his business was booming — he produced 2, plows that year.