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History channel:::the machines that built america


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Season 1 episode 1, tractor revolution, great startup on transition from pops and old bessie walking 40 miles plowing 5 acres to what you guys all have today, the old city boy enjoyed this, I think you guys who live the talk would like it.

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Yep, I enjoyed it too.  My only complaint the narrator COMPLETELY ignored a little company called INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER. He made it seem like the ONLY tractor companies in the whole USA was John Deere and Ford.  He has written a book on Deere that I've already ordered that won't be printed for another month or two.  It will be my FIRST and last book on Deere.

   I did a little research couple weeks ago, from 1904 when IHC formed until the Great Depression in 1929 IH was spanking Deere bad in tractor sales, Ford was still sales leader by almost GIVING their tractors away, $295 for a tractor that cost Ford more than that to make. IH battled FORD on price but Deere couldn't afford to. Not until Deere bought the Waterloo Boy Company did Deere ever make a definite commitment to building tractors.  I actually think it's odd, the most impressive tractor Deere ever designed was the DAIN, 4wd, even had a type of planetary gear reduction to reduce speed and increase pulling power, an early TA?  I think Deere has the only one in existance stashed away somewhere.

  But, yes,  it's an informative show, tells about HALF of the story.

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i watched the show and i was not happy the way they totally ignored mccormick/international harvester part in bringing tractors to the farm and the development of the farm tractor.

i did not know about narrator writing a book about john junk. after i saw this program it made me question if other history channel shows are slanted or not true to the facts.  i thought it was history not history the way the producers think history was.

pete

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44 minutes ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

Yep, I enjoyed it too.  My only complaint the narrator COMPLETELY ignored a little company called INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER. He made it seem like the ONLY tractor companies in the whole USA was John Deere and Ford.  He has written a book on Deere that I've already ordered that won't be printed for another month or two.  It will be my FIRST and last book on Deere.

   I did a little research couple weeks ago, from 1904 when IHC formed until the Great Depression in 1929 IH was spanking Deere bad in tractor sales, Ford was still sales leader by almost GIVING their tractors away, $295 for a tractor that cost Ford more than that to make. IH battled FORD on price but Deere couldn't afford to. Not until Deere bought the Waterloo Boy Company did Deere ever make a definite commitment to building tractors.  I actually think it's odd, the most impressive tractor Deere ever designed was the DAIN, 4wd, even had a type of planetary gear reduction to reduce speed and increase pulling power, an early TA?  I think Deere has the only one in existance stashed away somewhere.

  But, yes,  it's an informative show, tells about HALF of the story.

Doc, it’s interesting you mention the Deere Dain tractor. I’m a member of a South Dakota history group on Facebook and someone recently shared an advertisement for a field demonstration for the Dain tractor by the Deere dealership in Cavour, South Dakota. Cavour is a little town just east of Huron, SD, sight of RPRUs 2014 & 2020. 
Supposedly, many of the Deere Dain tractors ended up in the Huron, SD area. 

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The color commentator of that show was Neil Dahlstrom. His "Day Job" is as follows,  Branded Properties and Heritage Manager at Deere & Co.  He oversees the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, The Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo, the Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Ill and the Corporate Archives.

   I'm actually surprised he even Mentioned Henry Ford or the Fordson tractor in the show.

   I forget what book or magazine I read it in, but it was either William Butterworth(CEO 1907-1936) or Charles Deere Wiman(CEO 1936-1955), both CEO to Deere who said, " I don't want to try to compete with IH for market share on reapers because They may decide to compete with US on plows, and we will never survive that!"  Deere understood that IH was the innovator, and low cost provider, and FORD was even bigger and more formidable of a competitor.

   It wasn't until Bill Hewitt took over in 1955 that Deere got greedy. They expanded into every continent, ditched the antiquated designs, and entered new markets.

   I personally think a video of Mr. Dahlstrom and Paul Wallem sitting down and exchanging stories and their respective companies successes and the inevitable failures, would be "Must SEE TV".  The TRACTOR REVOLUTION is worth watching, just keep in mind it's only half the story.

SDman - Yes, the DAIN was quite the machine, it's biggest fault was it's cost. It's tough to even find much info on them, but the original 4 were shipped to the Huron area, and then Deere built and shipped 100 more to Huron.  Dain himself had died of pneumonia, so Deere wanted the tractors destroyed, the rumor is they are in the James River NE of Huron.

  

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  I would not look to the History Channel for much.  Any show concerning farming was going to be a gloss over.  The Titan/Mogul should have gotten a mention as to wide spread sales to make tractors a presence across the US.  The original Farmall (Regular) being the template for the next few decades in terms of tractor design.  I suppose that in the minds of the producers that if IH did not do those things that somebody else would have.  That the Fordson would have been more encompassing if there was no IH.  That somebody else would have developed the row crop tractor.  Maybe someone here could fire off an email to the producers to see what they were thinking.

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44 minutes ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

The color commentator of that show was Neil Dahlstrom. His "Day Job" is as follows,  Branded Properties and Heritage Manager at Deere & Co.  He oversees the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, The Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo, the Deere Historic Site in Grand Detour, Ill and the Corporate Archives.

   I'm actually surprised he even Mentioned Henry Ford or the Fordson tractor in the show.

   I forget what book or magazine I read it in, but it was either William Butterworth(CEO 1907-1936) or Charles Deere Wiman(CEO 1936-1955), both CEO to Deere who said, " I don't want to try to compete with IH for market share on reapers because They may decide to compete with US on plows, and we will never survive that!"  Deere understood that IH was the innovator, and low cost provider, and FORD was even bigger and more formidable of a competitor.

   It wasn't until Bill Hewitt took over in 1955 that Deere got greedy. They expanded into every continent, ditched the antiquated designs, and entered new markets.

   I personally think a video of Mr. Dahlstrom and Paul Wallem sitting down and exchanging stories and their respective companies successes and the inevitable failures, would be "Must SEE TV".  The TRACTOR REVOLUTION is worth watching, just keep in mind it's only half the story.

SDman - Yes, the DAIN was quite the machine, it's biggest fault was it's cost. It's tough to even find much info on them, but the original 4 were shipped to the Huron area, and then Deere built and shipped 100 more to Huron.  Dain himself had died of pneumonia, so Deere wanted the tractors destroyed, the rumor is they are in the James River NE of Huron.

  

  A bit more complicated than that.  The time period was 1910-1920 and Butterworth was concerned that JD lacked the capital to make a successful run at Ford or IH.  Remember IH was well capitalized due to the efforts of financier JP Morgan who built IH from throwing together McCormick, Deering, and one other company.  It should be noted upon reading Wayne Broehl's book that Butterworth viewed himself as a conservator of the Deere assets which included everything his FIL Charles Deere accomplished versus an aggressive CEO out to grow his company.  Butterworth was a lawyer by education and never did a hard day's labor so he greatly feared running Deere and Co into the ditch as that was his ticket to an easy life.  As far as general fear of competition goes that just does not happen in American industry.  I think that all the principles in Deere knew that with enough time that they could build products to rival anybody else's.  But the foremost matter was securing capital and Butterworth stood firmly in the way due to his personal interests more so than what may not be good for Deere.  Wiman actually was aggressive including greenlighting the model A and B during the early days of the Great Depression.

  As to getting greedy all companies do that.  IH was going to be pushed at some point and it just happened that JD did it.  Could have been MH/MF had that company been better operated.  Or Ford could have gotten serious about being a farm equipment company by releasing a 3 plow tractor about the time the 8N came out.

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18 minutes ago, DOCTOR EVIL said:

 

SDman - Yes, the DAIN was quite the machine, it's biggest fault was it's cost. It's tough to even find much info on them, but the original 4 were shipped to the Huron area, and then Deere built and shipped 100 more to Huron.  Dain himself had died of pneumonia, so Deere wanted the tractors destroyed, the rumor is they are in the James River NE of Huron.

  

Yes the Dain Deere was quite controversial back in the mid 1990s. IIRC, the guy that found/restored the first Dain tractor back then had to take Deere to court to get Deere to even acknowledge that they were a Deere product….Deere originally denied their existence. 
That guy used to bring the Dain to Dakotafest(South Dakota’s farm machinery show) back then. Very interesting guy…I’m sure he’s deceased by now. 
There’s been several stories/ theories as to what happened to the vast majority of Dain tractors…some speculated they were scrapped and dumped into the river…some speculation is that they were cut up and buried in an earthen dam somewhere around Huron. I think there has been more than one search party trying to find those tractors in recent years, but nobody’s come up with anything yet. 

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ANY historical documentary is going to be a "gloss over." Nobody is going to watch a 56-hour documentary on the history of farming.

But look at the marketing. IH is NOT one of the "cool" brands. Everybody knows Ford, Caterpillar, and Deere, even if you're not involved in farming. Most people own at least one piece of "swag" from at least one of these brands, and wears it regularly. Hats, shirts, pants, belts, boots, for starters.  You find the logos on every product imaginable.

The only place you find IH swag is at a tractor show, and the designs are horrible. Who wants to wear a picture of an old tractor on a plain gray tee shirt when you can wear flames and lightening bolts?

How many songs feature Fords? Then there's Joe Diffie's "John Deere Green" which was a huge hit and still gets a lot of airplay today. The only song about "International Harvester" is that awful Craig Morgan brown note (you hear it and it makes your bowels move). It takes half the song just to spit out "International Harvester" and nothing rhymes with it.

Ford, Cat, Deere all roll of the tongue. Trying to shoehorn "Eye Aich" into a song is just lyrical suicide.

Shows are about ratings. To get ratings you need to grab people's attention. To get their attention you need to talk about things that are familiar to them. Ford, Cat, and Deere are still in business. IH ceased to exist 36 years ago.

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25 minutes ago, SDman said:

Yes the Dain Deere was quite controversial back in the mid 1990s. IIRC, the guy that found/restored the first Dain tractor back then had to take Deere to court to get Deere to even acknowledge that they were a Deere product….Deere originally denied their existence. 
That guy used to bring the Dain to Dakotafest(South Dakota’s farm machinery show) back then. Very interesting guy…I’m sure he’s deceased by now. 
There’s been several stories/ theories as to what happened to the vast majority of Dain tractors…some speculated they were scrapped and dumped into the river…some speculation is that they were cut up and buried in an earthen dam somewhere around Huron. I think there has been more than one search party trying to find those tractors in recent years, but nobody’s come up with anything yet. 

  Something does not sound quite right.  Broehl's book specifically mentions the Dain but Deere engineering did not have a whole lot to do with design.  That was Joseph Dain who's company was bought by Deere around 1911 but stayed on as an engineer.  Dain's original line was hay tools including rakes.  As to the disappearance of the Dain that should be no surprise as the general engineering of the time did not produce long lived tractors.  The increasingly reliable designs of the 1920's including the Farmall Regular and the JD D pushed a lot of the WWI era tractors into the scrap yards.  Fordson's disappeared from the US market by 1928 after suffering a severe slumping the few years prior.

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I watched an episode of Man Vs History last night on History channel.  He had a small segment regarding the rumor that John Deere invented the tractor.  He disproved that by mentioning that JD purchased their first tractor (did not mention the brand). He also pointed out that the first tractor in the JD line occurred after the death of Mr. John Deere.  He did however receive credit for his life changing plow. 

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2 minutes ago, nepoweshiekfarmalls said:

I watched an episode of Man Vs History last night on History channel.  He had a small segment regarding the rumor that John Deere invented the tractor.  He disproved that by mentioning that JD purchased their first tractor (did not mention the brand). He also pointed out that the first tractor in the JD line occurred after the death of Mr. John Deere.  He did however receive credit for his life changing plow. 

  Deere inventing the tractor is just sloppy research.  Now if you want to talk about the Froelich tractor which evolved into the Waterloo Tractor Engine Co then you might have a case (no pun intended).  Deere bought the Waterloo Tractor Engine Co in 1918 after fierce debate by the board of directors.  The thinking of Butterworth change nominally because of all the business JD was banking on by selling equipment for the Fordson was going to Oliver by a push made by Henry Ford.  So it was Butterworth's fear of being left in the dust therefore no meal ticket that made him go along with the Waterloo purchase.  This was further aided by simply writing a check (WWI brought prosperity to companies such as JD and IH) versus fighting over a stock issuance to cover the cost.  

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Up until Wiman took over the reins at JD it was company policy to be content being No 2 behind IH. That is fact.  After WW II, Wiman laid down the gantlet and made it a goal to overtake IH starting with the NG project.  And JD did in remarkably short time no doubt assisted by IH management.  I don’t speak for the company of today but JD was always the better managed run company back when IH was around.  Just look how they got it into other markets like construction.  

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11 minutes ago, Big Bud guy said:

Up until Wiman took over the reins at JD it was company policy to be content being No 2 behind IH. That is fact.  After WW II, Wiman laid down the gantlet and made it a goal to overtake IH starting with the NG project.  And JD did in remarkably short time no doubt assisted by IH management.  I don’t speak for the company of today but JD was always the better managed run company back when IH was around.  Just look how they got it into other markets like construction.  

  It was not really company policy but an acknowledgement of the reality.  Everybody wants to be number 1 but pulling that off is entirely a different matter.  JD around 1920 was not in a position to take on IH.  All the good ideas got muted by a regressive board of directors.  Deere's head of the Waterloo Works actually appeared before the Deere board of directors while the D was in development in regards to ditching the horizontal 2 cylinder engine.  The board pitched a fit over it as they wanted as little money spent as possible to bring the D to market.  The experimental C and the GP were warmed over D features rather than a somewhat fresh approach with the model A.  

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2 hours ago, SDman said:

Yes the Dain Deere was quite controversial back in the mid 1990s. IIRC, the guy that found/restored the first Dain tractor back then had to take Deere to court to get Deere to even acknowledge that they were a Deere product….Deere originally denied their existence. 
That guy used to bring the Dain to Dakotafest(South Dakota’s farm machinery show) back then. Very interesting guy…I’m sure he’s deceased by now. 
There’s been several stories/ theories as to what happened to the vast majority of Dain tractors…some speculated they were scrapped and dumped into the river…some speculation is that they were cut up and buried in an earthen dam somewhere around Huron. I think there has been more than one search party trying to find those tractors in recent years, but nobody’s come up with anything yet. 

I thought there was pictures of them being burried?????

I often wondered why Deere was so against the tractor all those years later..................IMO for the time it was built it was quite the feat.  

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3 minutes ago, TP from Central PA said:

I thought there was pictures of them being burried?????

I often wondered why Deere was so against the tractor all those years later..................IMO for the time it was built it was quite the feat.  

  It was all to do with price points.  The Dain sold for over 1,600 dollars when the average price for a similar HP tractor was under 400 dollars.  So how many tractors would have gotten sold given the discrepancy?  My ag engineering professor at Cornell always said the number concern of a farm equipment company's engineering department was what is the customer willing to pay for?  There was no sense in building a product that sells for 1.5 times what the competition is building as nobody will buy it.

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7 minutes ago, TP from Central PA said:

I thought there was pictures of them being burried?????

I often wondered why Deere was so against the tractor all those years later..................IMO for the time it was built it was quite the feat.  

If anything JD should have used it for propaganda purposes much like IH did with the HT 340?. 

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4 hours ago, Bermuda_Ken said:

I thought the shows sponsors were CAT and Deere.  90% of it was about them...

  I know from reading books as a kid that a number of farm equipment experts were impressed with that Cat brought the first widely commercially successful track type tractor to market.  In their mind far more important than the wheel tractor.  Then bringing the first commercially successful combine to market.  I don't know if those things were mentioned on that show.

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2 hours ago, SDman said:

Yes the Dain Deere was quite controversial back in the mid 1990s. IIRC, the guy that found/restored the first Dain tractor back then had to take Deere to court to get Deere to even acknowledge that they were a Deere product….Deere originally denied their existence. 
That guy used to bring the Dain to Dakotafest(South Dakota’s farm machinery show) back then. Very interesting guy…I’m sure he’s deceased by now. 
There’s been several stories/ theories as to what happened to the vast majority of Dain tractors…some speculated they were scrapped and dumped into the river…some speculation is that they were cut up and buried in an earthen dam somewhere around Huron. I think there has been more than one search party trying to find those tractors in recent years, but nobody’s come up with anything yet. 

My Dad and I saw that tractor in Rochester, MN,  Olmsted County History Days, in the early or mid 80s. It was displayed in a box with glass sides. The owner said he was trying to get JD to acknowledge they were connected to the machine but all he was getting from Waterloo was dinials.

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1 hour ago, 766 Man said:

  It was all to do with price points.  

Yes, at the time, I am saying decades later they should have been after that with open arms, which eventually they did, but what took so long??????

Anyone ever here what the undisclosed price was when they did buy it?

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I remember the guy saying that Deere supposedly offered him a half million $$$ for the tractor after he got all done with it…and he turned them down. Think he was a little butthurt over the whole ordeal with Deere and how he was treated. 
 


I think the “is it a Deere or isn’t it a Deere?” was the whole concern between the two for years. If it isn’t a Deere tractor, would you think that the ad I posted above to be considered false advertising? Looks like that Deere dealer wanted you to think it’s connected with Deere somehow. 
 

Im trying to remember when all the other Dains were supposedly scrapped around Huron…seems like just a few short years after WWI ended…1920/21 it seems like. 

Also, didn’t this guy claim to have found this machine abandoned in a pasture around Huron? Been a long time since all this happened so I’m not sure anymore. 

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