What Should I Know About Antique John Deere Tractors?

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Antique John Deere tractors are named for their inventor, Mr. John Deere. He was born in Rutland, Vermont in 1804. In 1837, he made his first plow using steel from an old windmill blade. By 1842, there were 100 of these plows and demand for his product kept growing. By 1852, Deere & Co. had moved to Moline, IL and they were producing 4,000 plows each year.


When John Deere passed away in 1886, his son took over the reigns of the company. Charles Deere was an astute businessman with a strong sense of what marketing was needed to take the company to the next level. After Charles Deere passed away in 1911, William Butterworth took over the company. In 1918, Deere & Co. bought Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. This was the decision that brought the company into the tractor business.

In 1934, Deere's most popular tractor, the Model A, began being produced. From this came a popular line of 2-cylinder tractors--D, B, G, L, LA, H and M. The John Deere Model D was produced from 1 March 1923 to 5 July 1953, which is the longest span of production of a 2-cylinder John Deere tractor. As one of the company's chief products during this time period, the Model D is the most popular of all antique John Deere tractors.

In the early 1950s, John Deere tractors started to be identified with a numerical system instead of the confusing letter labels. Higher numbers indicated more powerful tractors. The Model 40 was at the bottom of the product line with 23 horsepower, for example, while the Model 80 had 62 horsepower and was John Deere's first five-plow tractor.

Today, antique John Deere tractors are prized by people who have a deep appreciation for the history of farming. Even though modern technology has created easier ways to plant and harvest crops, there is a large community of people who devote their time to restoring antique John Deere tractors. If you have antique John Deere tractors, the Internet is a very helpful resource. There are many Web sites devoted to helping John Deere enthusiasts locate the used tractor parts they need.

For people who are trying to buy or sell antique John Deere tractors, the John Deere company Web site is a good place to look for information about what a particular tractor is worth. Keep in mind, however, that selling antique farm machinery is much like selling a used automobile. The value of a particular tractor can be more or less than the price listed online, depending on its condition and whether or not expensive repairs are needed as part of the restoration process.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the wiseGEEK team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

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