The person who inspired this statue never threw a baseball, never caught a football and never dunked a basketball into a hoop – basketball wasn't even invented yet.
Related: How high is your farm equipment IQ?
All he did while hammering away on his anvil in his humble blacksmith shop was invent a self-scouring plow that would change the world. It allowed farmers to plow prairie soil easily, and opened up vast new areas for food production.
This statue of John Deere, the blacksmith who invented the steel, self-scouring plow in 1837, is located on the historical site in Grand Detour, Ill., near Dixon. It's the site where Deere lived and carried out his trade. It's also where he founded his company – the one that bears his name.
You're seeing the statue here because I visited the recently opened John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, and the tractor cab and assembly plant near Waterloo. I wrote a series of articles on the history of John Deere, primarily on its tractors, which will be featured shortly in Indiana Prairie Farmer.
The series starts in the Farm Progress Show program which will be part of your August issue. The issue will arrive perhaps later than normal, but it will be worth waiting for. There's also more history about Deere in the issue itself. More will follow in later issues, talking about the history of farm equipment, not only from Deere's perspective, but industry wide.
This is the second annual series of the history of farm equipment based on an implement or tractor from my past.
In 2014, we tracked the phantom New Idea baler of the 1950s until we proved it indeed existed, although the ill-fated baler didn't last long on the market. It became a series on New Idea, concluding with a piece about Agco today. Agco owns the New Idea trademark.
What's next? Well, I grew up driving Allis-Chalmers, John Deere, Massey Harris, Oliver, Ford and Internationals, so I have a lot more memories to choose from.
Meanwhile, look for this year's series on tractor development.