The History of John Deere Combines

by Rob Wagner

John Deere & Co., based in Moline, Illinois, began producing combine harvesters in 1927 to harvest and thresh farm crops. The company was established in 1837 and grew to become the global leader in manufacturing agricultural machines. In addition to its standard combine harvester, it produced a sidehill harvester that allowed the combine to navigate steep hillsides to harvest crops.

Nos. 1 and 2

A 1958 version of the John Deere combine harvester.

The company's first combine harvester in 1927 is the John Deere No. 2, while the John Deere No. 1 is a smaller and more versatile model.

Improved Engineering

The combine harvesters Nos. 1 and 2 were replaced two years later as John Deere engineers came up with a lightweight version.

Hillside Technology

A sidehill combine harvesting peas on a hillside in 1937.

By the 1930s, John Deere and other farm equipment makers developed the sidehill leveling system to harvest crops on 50-percent-grade slopes.

New System

A 1975 4400 combine harvester.

After World War II, R.A. Hanson Co. manufactured leveling systems for John Deere combine harvesters that allowed more efficient hillside harvesting by preventing grain from balling up in one section of the separator.

Self-Propelled Combines

John Deere's self-propelled combine harvester.

In the 1950s, the company developed the Variable Speed Drive self-propelled combine harvester and the corn head attachment that strips husks from corn in the field.

Overseas Alliance

The 995 combine.

In 1997, John Deere bought equity stock in a Chinese combine harvesting company, In 2007, John Deere acquired a tractor plant in Ningbo, China.

About the Author

Rob Wagner is a journalist with over 35 years experience reporting and editing for newspapers and magazines. His experience ranges from legal affairs reporting to covering the Middle East. He served stints as a newspaper and magazine editor in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Wagner attended California State University, Los Angeles, and has a degree in journalism.

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Photo Credits

  • John Deere & Co.