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John Deere (1804)close

John Deere was born in Rutland, Vermont, and spent his boyhood and young adulthood in Middlebury. He apprenticed as a blacksmith, and in 1825, began his career. He soon developed a reputation for careful workmanship. In the 1830s, business conditions deteriorated, and John Deere migrated westward with other Vermonters. In 1836, he established a blacksmith's forge in Grand Detour, Illinois. He discovered that the cast-iron plows being used by farmers were inefficient in the rich soil of the Midwest, so he developed a steel plow that revolutionized farming for the settlers of the area. Within ten years, his company was producing 1,000 plows a year.

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