In the very early years of the 20th century, John Deere had been watching the development of farm power and the growing need for tractors. He was also watching the tractor production progress of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in Waterloo, Iowa.
Tiffany Turner is a large tractor product manager at John Deere. She says March 14th 1918, was a big day for the John Deere company.
"The Waterloo Gasoline Company came in in 1911 and started coming out with more economical, smaller tractors, and that’s when Deere started looking at this as an opportunity. Behind two closed doors in 1915 they started the conversation, by 1918 they purchased it, and then we started producing tractors like the Model-D, and now we’re all the way up to the 9rx narrow," says Turner. "So, if you think about it, back in that day it was 25hp, and now we’re up to 620hp."
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is marking 2018 as the year of the tractor. This month they’re installing a 1918 green, yellow and red Waterloo Boy tractor at the entrance of the business history exhibition.
"There are still several Waterloo Boys that are floating out there. That’s history, it’s so exciting because every tractor has a story, right? We all learned how to drive a tractor on one, I know I started on a 4020," she says. "So, it’s pretty exciting to see where we are at, and where we’re going."
Turner says every six, seven, eight, and nine series tractor produced this year will leave the factory with a 100-year badge. The big celebration will take place on June 15th in Waterloo, Iowa – where it all began.
Learn more about Deere's 100th anniversary of tractors
Click here to read the history of the John Deere Waterloo Tractor Works