AVENUE OF FLAGS
The slogan for the event was John Deere Tractors at 100, the Legend Runs On, and this avenue of flags at the John Deere Museum near downtown Waterloo was an attention getter. The event was celebrated at the museum and around and in the Waterloo 5 Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.
Ahead of the event, company employees and volunteers were on hand to get equipment lined up for visitors. Backing in is an important skill for any tractor collector who wants to show off a restored machine.
THE RIGHT SEPARATION
That pole is 4-feet long. It's the minimum separation between each of the tractors under a big tent at the event. And why 4 feet? Because the Americans With Disabilities Act specifies 42-inches of space, and Deere builds in a fudge factor of 8-inches. That way there's room to get between machines for any visitor at the event.
ROW OF BIG MACHINES
From left to right this setup shows John Deere 4-wheel drive machines from the newest to the very first machines the company sold. That older machine didn't even have a cab, but back in the day any owner would have been proud to boost productivity that way, though we're thinking that cabless four-wheel drive machine would have been a dusty tillage ride.
THE BOSS IS ON HAND
John Deere CEO Sam Allen moved through the crowd after touring the Convention Center displays greeting guests and employees on hand.
OPEN THE DOORS
The 90-plus heat didn't keep visitors from sitting outside waiting to get into the convention center to see what was on hand. And there was plenty to be seen – keep clicking on.
There were plenty of tractors outside to see, including what looked like a battered 4430, but was in fact a prototype tractor that was a 4430 body on a 4020 machine. That story is told in the video.
This veggie-special tractor has an offset design so the operator can get a better view during fieldwork. It was designed for use in vegetable and specialty crops.
CATCH THAT NUMBER?
One visitor was intent in seeing the serial number on one machine, noting he couldn't read it without getting up close.
LAST OFF THE LINE
This 4440, on display at the convention center, was the last to be built in the downtown Waterloo tractor plant. This machine, owned by John Deere, has only 18 hours on it.
ANOTHER FINAL MACHINE
This 4455 is the last one off the line. It has but 23 hours on it, and is also owned by John Deere.
To put the anniversary into perspective, John Deere's Convention Center exhibit had these panorama banners showing key information from the last 100 years. It offers perspective to visitors.
GET THOSE COLLECTOR'S ITEMS
The John Deere store, set up in the Convention Center, was plenty busy. We had heard that collectibles celebrating the 100th were in very limited supply. There was, however, plenty of other John Deere merchandise available.
NOT ALL OLD
Celebrating 100 years means doing more than looking back, it means looking forward as the new John Deere machine shows.
WHERE IT STARTED
This Waterloo Boy machine, on display at the John Deere museum, is one of the original 1918 machines. That machine was $750 when new.