Deere was an Illinois blacksmith and manufacturer. Early in his career,
Deere and an associate designed a series of farm plows. In 1837, on his
own, John Deere designed the first cast steel plow that greatly assisted
the Great Plains farmers. The large plows made for cutting the tough prairie
ground were called "grasshopper plows." The plow was made of wrought iron
and had a steel share that could cut through sticky soil without clogging.
By 1855, John Deere's factory was selling over 10,000 steel plows a year.
John Deere invented a better plow.
John Deere was the inventor of the
self-polishing cast steel plow.
Innovations related to agriculture,
tractors, cotton gin, reapers, plows, plant patents and more.
In 1868, John Deere's business was
incorporated as Deere & Company,
which is still in existence today.
John Deere became a millionaire selling
his steel plows.
History of Plows - Ploughs
Extracts from The Age of Invention by
Holland Thompson - Chapter 5: The
The first real inventor of a practicable plow
was Charles Newbold, of Burlington County, New Jersey, to whom a patent for a
cast-iron plow was issued in June, 1797.
But the farmers would have none of it. They said it "poisoned the
soil" and fostered the growth of weeds. One David Peacock received a
patent in 1807, and two others later. Newbold sued Peacock for infringement
and recovered damages. Pieces of Newbold's original plow
are in the museum of the New York Agricultural Society at Albany.
Another inventor of ploughs was Jethro Wood,
a blacksmith of Scipio, New York, who received two patents, one in 1814 and
the other in 1819. His plow was of cast iron, but in three parts, so that a
broken part might be renewed without purchasing an entire plow. This principle
of standardization marked a great advance. The farmers by this time were
forgetting their former prejudices, and many plow were sold. Though Wood's
original patent was extended, infringements were frequent, and he is said to
have spent his entire property in prosecuting them.
Another skilled blacksmith, William Parlin,
at Canton, Illinois, began making plows about 1842, which he loaded upon a
wagon and peddled through the country. Later his establishment grew large.
Another John Lane, a son of the first, patented in 1868 a
"soft-center" steel plow. The hard but brittle surface was backed by
softer and more tenacious metal, to reduce the breakage. The same year James
Oliver, a Scotch immigrant who had settled at South Bend, Indiana, received a
patent for the "chilled plough." By an ingenious method the wearing
surfaces of the casting were cooled more quickly than the back. The surfaces
which came in contact with the soil had a hard, glassy surface, while the body
of the plough was of tough iron. From small beginnings Oliver's establishment
grew great, and the Oliver Chilled Plow Works at South Bend is today  one
of the largest and most favorably known privately owned
From the single plough it was only a step to
two or more plows fastened together, doing more work with approximately the same
man power. The sulky plow, on which the plowman rode, made his work easier, and
gave him great control. Such plows were certainly in use as early as 1844,
perhaps earlier. The next step forward was to substitute for horses a traction
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