THE WAY WE WERE
Submitted by Ken Wilson
John Deere and Company began as a plow manufacturer and soon relocated from Grand Detour, Illinois to Moline, which sits on the Mississippi River. This gave them access to transport their products by water and by rail. From the days of the first plow up to the early 1900’s, Deere and Company produced equipment such as plows, seed drills, planters, cultivators and wagons etc. Around 1910, they experimented with the building of a tractor, but arrived at the decision to purchase the Waterloo Gasoline Tractor Company which gave them tooling, designs, factory space and immediate product to sell.
The Waterloo Company was started by John Froelich and two partners. Froelich’s first tractor was a gasoline powered machine with a forward and reverse drive. A model of this tractor will be working at the East Kent Vintage Equipment Show. This replica is one of only 5 known to exist and is owned by club member Paul Graham of Croton, Ont.
During the 1950’s Deere produce its first diesel tractors which had a small gas engine that was used to start the larger diesel engine. Over the next decade many improvements were made, but the John Deere two cylinder, horizontal style engine remained very popular because it had few parts, therefore it cost less to build and it had good fuel economy. Various versions of this two cylinder engine drove John Deere tractors up until August 30, 1960, when Deere’s four and six cylinder engines were unveiled. They were five years in the making and signaled John Deere’s entry into the modern tractor era.
On August 3 & 4, these tractors and many others will be on hand for the “Parade of Power” at the East Kent Vintage Equipment Show. Be sure to come down to the Ridgetown Event Centre and see yesteryear on parade!