Fact File about the Invention of the Steel Plow: Invention: Steel Plow *** Date of Invention: 1837 *** Name of Inventor: John Deere *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1804 - 1886 *** Nationality of Inventor: American *** Historical Period: First US Industrial Revolution (1700 - 1860) *** Category: Agriculture *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor, John Deere, and the invention of the Steel Plow ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Steel Plow? The Steel Plow was invented by John Deere in 1837 during the First US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1700 - 1860), a great advancement made in the area of Agriculture.
Fact 2: Who invented the Steel Plow? The plow was an important farm tool that had one or more heavy blades to break the soil and cut a furrow prior to sowing seeds for the growth and the production of a crop.
Fact 3: Who invented the Steel Plow? Prior to the invention of the Steel Plow there was the wooden plow that had been used for hundreds of years. The early farmers and immigrants to the United States found that the climate of the Northern states was ideal for the production of wheat. But they only had a wooden plow to break the grass cover and roots of the turf, and the wooden plow frequently broke.
Fact 4: Who invented the Steel Plow? In 1819 Jethro Wood patented an iron bladed plow that could plow a stony field without breaking. The problem with the iron-bladed plow was that it was less effective against the clay soils and prairie sod of the Midwest because the blade of the plow required frequent cleaning.
Fact 5: Who invented the Steel Plow? In 1837, John Deere solved the problem by inventing the Steel Plow that was self-scouring, lighter than its iron predecessor, and had sharp-edged steel blades that cut cleanly through the prairie sod of the Midwest States of America, without the need for frequent cleaning.
Fact 6: Who invented the Steel Plow? The inventor of the Steel Plow, John Deere, was born on February 7, 1804 in Rutland, Vermont, United States and died on May 17, 1886.
Fact 7: Who invented the Steel Plow? The early years of John Deere were spent in Rutland, Vermont, United States where he was raised by his mother, Sarah Yates Deere. His father, William Rinold Deere, had left the family in 1808 to claim an inheritance in England and never returned to America.
Fact 8: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere attended elementary schools in Vermont and briefly attended Middlebury College. Following his education his first job was as an apprentice to Captain Benjamin Lawrence, a successful blacksmith.
Fact 9: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere completed his apprenticeship in 1825, started his own blacksmith business and married Demarius Lamb in 1827. The couple went on to have nine children.
Fact 10: Who invented the Steel Plow? In 1836 John Deere moved his family west from Vermont to Grand Detour in Illinois. He built a forge and opened a blacksmith business.
Fact 11: Who invented the Steel Plow? It was the period of Westward Expansion and many families were heading West to the rich agricultural lands of Illinois, that became known as the 'Prairie State'. Between 1830 to 1860 the population of Illinois grew from just 25,000 pioneer families to 300,000 families.
Fact 12: Who invented the Steel Plow? The majority of settlers in Illinois were farmers and John Deere prospered due to a lack of blacksmiths working in the area. He and his apprentices had plenty of work from farmers; shoeing horses, making farm tools such as hayforks, shovels and hoes and repairing farming equipment, including the iron bladed plows.
Fact 13: Who invented the Steel Plow? The farmers from the East had brought their cast-iron plows with them which had worked well on the light, sandy New England soil but the iron plow worked poorly on the sticky midwestern clay soils and prairie sod.
Fact 14: Who invented the Steel Plow? Plowing was a slow and laborious task at the best of times but the rich Illinois soil clung to the bottom of the iron plow and every few steps it was necessary to stop plowing and scrape the soil from the plows.
Fact 15: Who invented the Steel Plow? The problem with the iron plows were so serious that many discouraged pioneers were considering moving further west or returning to the East. John Deere's customers talked incessantly about the problems and he decided he would try to invent a plow with highly polished, sharp-edged steel blades that would stop the soil from sticking to the blades.
Fact 16: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere made adjustments to the iron blade plow design of two important parts called the 'moldboard' and 'share'. The 'moldboard' was the curved metal plate that turned over the earth from the furrow and the 'share' was the cutting part of the moldboard that cut, lifted and turned the soil over.
Fact 17: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere reasoned that a properly designed 'moldboard' and 'share' made from highly polished, sharp-edged steel would scour and polish itself as it turned the furrow slice.
Fact 18: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere invented the steel plow in 1837, using the steel from a broken saw blade. He tested out his new steel invention on the farm owned by Lewis Crandall just outside Grand Detour.
Fact 19: Who invented the Steel Plow? His invention was so successful that he could not keep up with the local demand for the new, innovative farming tool. John Deere was so confident in his invention that he took a risk and started a new business of manufacturing steel bladed plows, before he had orders for them.
Fact 20: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere began to make a supply steel bladed plows or "self-polishers" and then travel across the state to sell them. This was not an easy task. The new state of Illinois had not developed an infrastructure, there were few roads just trails so traveling and the transportation of his plow product was difficult. The other major problem was the scarcity of steel.
Fact 21: Who invented the Steel Plow? The Bessemer Process to create steel from iron, producing steel cheaply and efficiently, would not be invented by Henry Bessemer until 1855. In 1843 John Deere entered a partnership with Leonard Andrus in order to produce more plows. However, in doing so they exhausted all local steel supplies and had to make the decision to arrange for a shipment of special rolled steel from England.
Fact 22: Who invented the Steel Plow? The steel had to be shipped across the Atlantic Ocean, up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers and then 40 miles overland by wagon before it reached his little factory in Grand Detour, Illinois.
Fact 23: Who invented the Steel Plow? In 1848 John Deere dissolved his partnership with Leonard Andrus due to issues of trust and opened a new factory to Moline, Illinois with easier transportation on the Mississippi River. By 1849 he had a workforce of about 16 men and produced over 2, 000 plows in just one year.
Fact 24: Who invented the Steel Plow? In 1853 his 16-year old son Charles joined the business as a bookkeeper following his graduation from a Chicago commercial college.
Fact 25: Who invented the Steel Plow? The year of 1855 was an extremely important year for the business of making steel plows because Henry Bessemer invented the Bessemer Process creating steel from iron and producing cheap steel, although it was not brought into production until 1860.
Fact 26: Who invented the Steel Plow? The Panic of 1857 brought about a national depression that engulfed the country for nearly three years. During this time the business nearly collapsed but when the economy recovered business improved and Charles Deere, who turned out to be a brilliant businessman, took over the day to day running of the company. Steel became cheaper and the company flourished.
Fact 27: Who invented the Steel Plow? In 1868, the business was incorporated as Deere & Company. It would become one of the largest agricultural and construction equipment manufacturers in the world.
Fact 28: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere who had started life as a humble blacksmith became the President of the National Bank of Moline and in 1873 was elected the second mayor of Moline and served in office for two years. He remained president of the company for the rest of his life but focused on social and philanthropic causes.
Fact 29: Who invented the Steel Plow? John Deere died at his home, known as Red Cliff, on May 17, 1886 at the age of 82. His funeral in Moline, Illinois was attended by 3,000 people.