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John Deere Green

By Mary Herring Posted in Agriculture Equipment Value Guides

April 26, 2021

A brief history of largest tractor brands and their logos

First of Five Series: John Deere

There are a handful of tractor logos that are instantly recognizable, and many farmers show loyalty to their preferred brands. Here’s a look at how the first of the top five tractor brands in the United States began.

The John Deere Trademark is one of the most recognizable brand names worldwide. Not only is the name top of mind for most people, but so is the brand’s color scheme – green and yellow.

John Deere designed his first steel plow in 1837 as a 33-year-old blacksmith, using a broken steel saw blade. At the time, Midwestern farmers were using cast-iron or wooden plows and had to regularly stop to scrape off the sticky prairie soil. With the John Deere steel plow, soil would easily slide off the well-polished steel moldboard. Deere’s moldboard was also shaped differently than others at the time – essentially a parallelogram, curved in a concave fashion with exact contours designed to turn the soil.

The plow innovation became a commercial success and in 1848, Deere moved his growing operation from Grand Detour, Illinois to Moline, on the banks of the Mississippi River. The river provided water power for running his factory, as well as riverboats for bringing in raw materials and moving plows to market. Soon, Deere’s company was making over 1,000 plows a year.

Then, in 1918, Deere expanded into the tractor business with the Waterloo Boy and then the JD Model D in 1923. Many models and over 180 years later, John Deere is one of the most popular and recognizable tractor brands in the world.

John Deere Model D, 1923
John Deere Model D, 1923

The first John Deere brand using the leaping deer was registered in 1876, but the logo had already been in use for three years. Deere was producing more than 60,000 plows a year, and an official registered trademark was needed to protect against copying and fraud. This original trademark shows a deer jumping over a log. The type of deer, or the artist representation of a deer, is unknown.

The white-tailed deer is portrayed in seven later logos. Known for decades as the “leaping deer,” Deere changed the logo in 2000 and for the first time the deer was jumping upward, instead of landing.

Nothing Runs Like A Deere

The iconic Deere slogan “Nothing Runs Like A Deere” was first conceived as an advertising slogan for the snowmobile line Deere launched in 1971. The tagline almost never came to light, as the ad agency that conceived the slogan thought it was too “silly” to present to the company. However, it was eventually revealed and the Deere team immediately liked the concept for the snowmobile line that ended in 1982. Initially, the agriculture division did not think the slogan was a good fit but soon realized customers were drawn to the now-legendary slogan.

John Deere’s Iconic Colors

Deere won a 2017 lawsuit against FIMCO claiming that the company’s use of the green and yellow color scheme infringed on Deere’s trademark registrations and confused customers as to the source of the goods. The judge in the case ruled that the green and yellow qualified as a “famous” trademark, meaning it is “widely recognized by the general consuming public of the United States as a designation of source of the goods or services of the mark’s owner”.

John Deere logo timeline

Logos source: deere.com


Read the Second of Five Series: Mahindra


Sources:

https://www.deere.com/en/our-company/history/john-deere/

https://www.deere.com/north-africa/en/our-company/history/trademarks/

https://www.deere.com/assets/pdfs/region-4/rewards/JD_VisualIdentity_BasicLogoUse_V2.pdf


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