John Deere responded with its ﬁrst “General Purpose” tractor, the Model “GP,” in 1928. A few years later, Deere released its ﬁrst true row-crop design in 1934 with the Model “A” and its smaller counterpart the “B,” in 1935. These tractors placed the company on a solid foundation within the industry.
Tractors on the brain! With the event season in full swing, we just can’t get enough. One of the best surprises of summer is seeing the trailers full of green and yellow tractors and equipment crisscrossing the highwayson their way to shows across the country. It’s a great reminder that Deere tractors are known for their durability, and have been from the beginning.
From 1912-1918, John Deere invested more than $250,000 in tractor development. This is a signiﬁcant investment for a company which, in 1913,had total sales of $30 million. These experimental tractors, for which we have tantalizing clues regarding their form and function, are still somewhat mysterious over a hundred years later. One in particular continues to draw interest—the All-Wheel Drive. You may better know it as the Dain. In our ongoing research, we continue to complete small pieces of the All-Wheel Drive puzzle. We share those insights in this issue.
This summer the John Deere collector community marked the 80th anniversary of the Model “G” tractor. Perhaps less celebrated by the casual observer than other early models, the Model “G” marked a transition in tractor development. Its production run, from 1937 to 1953, also spanned some difﬁcult times, with development beginning during the Great Depression and production continuing after World War II.
In the early 1920s, when tractors werestill a rarity on American farms, a shortcoming was a lack of versatility.Tractors could be used to prepare the soil for planting, but many tasks still required horses to complete. This changed in 1924 when International Harvester released its Farmall tractor. With a high rear axle and tricycle design, the Farmall addressed the needs of a row-crop farmer.
The Model “G” was designed initiallyto meet customers’ demands for more power from a row-crop tractor.Production of experimental Model “G”s began in 1935 with an estimated ten tractors named the “KX.”
The tractor was initially dubbed the Model “F,” but Frank Silloway, Deere’s Vice President of Sales, urged a name change to avoid confusion between this tractor and the International F-30.
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On January 16, 1937, John Deere issuedan internal memo introducing a new tractor intent on meeting “the needsof larger farms requiring a general purpose tractor having greater powerat both the belt and the drawbar than that available from the Model “A.”
Joseph Dain sold his namesake company, the Dain Manufacturing Company, to John Deere in late 1910.The company was formed in 1881 to build sweep rakes and hay stackers, and had grown to include factories in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Welland, Ontario, Canada.Dain remained in Ottumwa for a few years afterthe acquisition, and was also named vice presidentof Deere & Company, with additional responsibility for the patent and experimental departments.
In 1913, Dain moved to Moline, and the following year, in May 1914, was asked to design a light tractor plow that could be sold for $700. That September he was given $3,000 to build a prototype.Enough progress was made that in February 1915,he was given room to work “until he considersit perfected…”