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									Fall 2009 - Issue #17

News for John Deere Collectors

Events planned for John Deere collectors
                                                                                                                  Whether you’re a farm machinery
                                                                                                                  fanatic, a belt buckle buff or an
                                                                                                                  advertising aficianado there’s likely to
                                                                                                                  be something to interest you at a pair
                                                                                                                  of upcoming events for John Deere
                                                                                                                  collectors and enthusiasts.
                                                                                                                  The John Deere Memorabilia
                                                                                                                  Conference and the Gathering of the
                                                                                                                  Green are both planned for March
                                                                                                                  in Davenport, Iowa, just across the
                                                                                                                  Mississippi River from Moline, Illinois,
                                                                                                                  the former home of both events.
                                                                                                                  The back-to-back events make it
                                                                                                                  possible for you to pack twice the
                                                                                                                  John Deere fun into one trip.

                                                                                                                  Exclusive presentations planned
Charles Selensky, shown here on an experimental 102 tractor, left, will talk about his experiences working on
                                                                                                                  for the Memorabilia Conference
John Deere’s Dubuque, Iowa, test farm during the 1940s at the upcoming Memorabilia Conference.                      What is John Deere memorabilia like
                                                                                                                    around the world? What do early Deere
                                                                                        toys have in common with sewing machines? How did John Deere
   John Deere Memorabilia Conference:                                                   test its tractors in the 1940s?
   The details                                                                          If you’d like to know the answers to these questions you won’t
   What: A free, 2-day event including discussions about Deere history                  want to miss the John Deere Memorabilia Conference planned for
   and featuring a variety of memorabilia vendors                                       March 16 and 17. Speakers at the event will discuss these topics
   When: March 16 & 17                                                                  and many others related to John Deere history and memorabilia.
   Where: The Radisson Quad City Plaza, Davenport, Iowa
   More Information:
                                                                                        “This year’s conference includes a really diverse group of
                                                                                        presenters,” said Chris Boyens, senior heritage marketing and
   Presentations:                                                                       research specialist at John Deere. “Speakers will cover areas
   • Global Memorabilia, by Tom McMurren, Director, Illinois
                                                                                        including toys, advertising items and company history.”
    Agriculture Historic Preservation Society
   • Deere’s Deer: Animal Imagery in Farm Marketing, by John                            Several of the presentations focus on topics that haven’t been
    Bowen, Corporate Archivist, Deere & Company                                         discussed at past Memorabilia Conferences, said Boyens.
   • Buildings at Overlook: Construction During the Time of
    Charles Deere and Charles Deere Wiman, by Gretchen                                  In his presentation, Deere’s Deer: Animal Imagery in Farm
    Small, Program Director, Deere-Wiman House and                                      Marketing, John Bowen, Deere & Company corporate archivist,
    Butterworth Center                                                                  will look at some of the animals John Deere has used in marketing
   • Vindex: From Sewing Machines to Toys, by Ray Crilley,                              programs over the years.
    member of the National Toy Museum Hall of Fame.
   • Deere in Art: An Artist’s View, by Charles Freitag, artist                         In the never-before-seen presentation Bowen will discuss the
   • John Deere Employee Awards and Gifts, by Joe Gaspardo,                             leaping deer image as well as the other animals in John Deere’s
    Parts Department Associate, KSR Equipment                                           stable. White elephants, bulls and greyhounds are among the
   • Life on the Experimental Farm, by Charles Selensky, John Deere                     animals that have been seen in past advertising efforts.
    Dubuque Works retiree
                                                                                                                 See Memorabilia Conference on page 2
    Memorabilia Conference from page 1                                    of participants have traveled from around the world to spend
                                                                          time with fellow collectors at Gathering of the Green.
    Charles Selensky, a John Deere Dubuque Works retiree, will give
    conference guests a rare look at tractor testing in the late 1940s.   Gathering of the Green will be held at the River Center in
    Selensky grew up in Moline, but in 1947 moved to Dubuque,             Davenport, Iowa, just across the street from the Radisson, the
    where his father was the chief draftsman. As a teenager, Selensky     host hotel for the John Deere Memorabilia Conference.
    was too young to work in the factory, so was hired to work on
                                                                          While the event is sponsored by four Midwestern two-cylinder
    the farm, helping to test products like the “M” crawler and the
                                                                          clubs, membership isn’t necessary to attend. Anyone interested
    experimental 102 tractor.
                                                                          in John Deere is invited to enjoy more than 40 technical and
    In addition to these new topics, Charles Frietag will share a new     historical workshops led by a variety of experts and visit with
    perspective on a subject that’s been covered in the past. Frietag,    many vendors featuring John Deere memorabilia, licensed
    an artist whose work often focuses on farm scenes featuring           products and vintage tractor parts.
    John Deere machines, will discuss Deere’s products in art.
                                                                          Attendees can also participate in a number of trips and tours
    “We’ve had discussions on the company’s art collection and art        such as the Sindt Antique Museum in Keystone, Iowa, and the
    created for the company,” said Boyens. “But we’ve never had           McKinley/Huber Implement Museum in Quincy, Illinois.
    anything focused on art dedicated to John Deere presented by
    the artist who created it.”
    For a sneak peek at another presentation planned for the                 The Gathering of the Green:
    conference see the page 3 article on Vindex toys by Ray Crilley,         The details
    another presenter at the event.
                                                                             What: A conference focusing on vintage John Deere products and
    In addition to the guest speakers the conference will include a          company history attended by more than 1,000 collectors from
    number of vendors selling and displaying a variety of John Deere         around the world every two years.
    memorabilia.                                                             When: March 17 - 20, 2010
                                                                             Where: The River Center, Davenport, Iowa
    Gathering of the Green offers more fun for collectors                    More Information / Registration:
    If two days of John Deere history isn’t enough for you, be sure to
    extend your stay for the Gathering of the Green, a biennial event
    for John Deere enthusiasts and collectors. In the past, thousands

                     Celebrating the 50th Anniversary
                      of a New Generation of Power
                                   John Deere Fall Festival
                                       September 9 - 11, 2010

                                      * Memorabilia Auction
                                      * Tractor and Equipment Auction

                                      * Tractor Parade

                                      * Tractor Show

        John Deere Fall Festival
        360 Westfield Avenue
        Waterloo, Iowa 50701
        For auction information go to

    Early licensed products outfitted realistic toy farms
    By Ray Crilley, farm toy expert and guest                Rather than throwing in the towel              other manufacturers that allowed it to
    speaker at the John Deere Memorabilia                    and joining other companies declaring          make miniature models of real tractors.
    Conference                                               bankruptcy, the company’s management
                                                                                                            Vindex wasn’t the only one that benefited
                                                             decided to try something new to continue
    The National Sewing Machine Company                                                                     from this arrangement. Deere started
                                                             to provide work for its employees. The
    of Belvidere, Illinois, survived the Great                                                              using the miniatures as promotional items
                                                             company began making cast-iron toys
    Depression with a little creativity.                                                                    for its dealers. The idea was to promote
                                                             under the name Vindex.
                                                                                                            the John Deere brand by giving away or
    True to its name, the company began as
                                                             The toys were also something of a luxury,      selling toys so that kids accompanying
    a sewing machine manufacturer. But as
                                                             but the Vindex division was able to set        their parents to the local dealership had
    times got tough in the 1930s, sewing
                                                             its products apart thanks to licensing         a keepsake to take home. The promotion
    machines became expensive luxuries and
                                                             agreements with Deere & Company and            was intended to establish customer loyalty
    the company’s sales plummeted.
                                                                                                            then and in future generations.
                                                                                                            John Deere dealerships weren’t the
                                                                                                            only places youngsters could get a new
                                                                                                            farm toy. In 1930 Farm Mechanics, a
                                                                                                            magazine published by Radner Publishing
                                                                                                            of Chicago, Illinois, picked up on the
                                                                                                            potential of branded farm toys to help
                                                                                                            boost circulation during the tough
                                                                                                            economic times. In December of that
                                                                                                            year the magazine offered a free cast-
                                                                                                            iron John Deere toy with a three-year
                                                                                                            subscription to the magazine. One dollar,
                                                                                                            the cost of the subscription, got a family
                                                                                                            some great reading material and a gift for
                                                                                                            a lucky youngster.
                                                                                                            Through programs like these, kids were
                                                                                                            able to collect enough miniature machines
                                                                                                            to outfit their toy farming operations.
                                                                                                            The most essential items for any young
                                                                                                            farmer at the time were a tractor or a
                                                                                                            team of horses to hitch up to one of the
                                                                                                            many implements available.
                                                                                                            The venerable John Deere Model “D”
                                                                                                            tractor on steel wheels satisfied the power
                                                                                                            needs of farmers at the time. The green-
                                                                                                            and-yellow tractor replica was not quite
                                                                                                            1/16 scale. The driver holds an aluminum-
                                                                                                            colored steering wheel while the fl ywheel
                                                                                                            and belt pulley are nickel-plated cast iron.
                                                                                                            The two-piece body castings are riveted
                                                                                                            together and have a hole in the drawbar
                                                                                                            to hitch up various implements. The cast-
                                                                                                            iron yellow steel wheels had no cleats,
                                                                                                            making them safe for indoor “farming” on
                                                                                                            hardwood floors.
                                                                                                            The alternate source of power in those
                                                                                                            days was a team of horses. The black
                                                                                                            Vindex team is 4.5-inches long and 3.75-
                                                                                                            inches high with a full harness cast on. A
                                                                                                            cotter pin assembly makes it possible to
    Top: Vindex’s John Deere hay wagon hitched to a team of horses.                                         hitch up either of the two wagons or the
                                                                                                            manure spreader that Vindex produced.
    Above: One of the most complex John Deere replicas created by Vindex, the prairie combine, featured a
                                                                                                            The Vindex team is distinguished from
    removable header and a floating head.

others of the era by the round cast-on                  the lineup. The red
ball on the right foot of each horse, as                finish on the body
opposed to fixed or rolling wheels found                 of the grain drill is
on other brands.                                        highlighted by the
                                                        very high yellow
If an additional power source was needed
                                                        wheels. The grain
on these miniature farms Vindex also
                                                        drill’s discs are nickel
offered a John Deere gasoline engine. The
engine is 3.5 inches long, not including
the wire hitch that could be used to steer              Three intricate
it into position so that a flat belt could be            harvesting machines
aligned with the implement and driven by                were also available.
the engine pulley mounted beside one of                 The red and yellow
the two flywheels. The model is mounted                  frame of the Deere
on a four-wheel truck for portability.                  hay loader is made
                                                        up of a complicated
Wagons were another indispensable item
                                                        set of castings. Its
on the toy farm. Vindex offered two Deere
                                                        green spiked pickup
wagons, both with a high-wheel running
                                                        cylinder shares the
gear design. One wagon featured a high-
                                                        axles with the yellow Vindex’s version of the John Deere Model “D” tractor provided power for toy
side grain or general purpose bed with a                                         farms in the 1930s.
                                                        rear wheels and the
separately cast seat for the driver.
                                                        moving elevating chains carry make-                steering assembly with a short wire hook
Vindex’s other wagon was a hayrack.                     believe hay up the loader just like the real       is positioned just under the green engine.
There was no seat on this model, as                     thing. The front of the hay loader rests on        A grain elevator tank is located high
drivers of the day would have stood on                  a two-wheel truck with a hitch, allowing it        above the combine body and features
the wagon bed or rode on top of the load                to be coupled to the hay wagon.                    an operator platform with a protective
of hay to guide the horses.                                                                                railing. The standing operator is a painted
                                                        The Vindex John Deere thresher, 20.5
                                                                                                           cast-iron figure with a derby-style hat.
Like many early John Deere implements,                  inches long with the grain table extended,
Vindex’s John Deere manure spreader                     was an impressive toy. The body was                To display the Vindex collection of
was painted red with yellow letters                     painted an aluminum color with green trim          John Deere toys a cardboard lithographed
and wheels. The geared beaters and                      and raised yellow lettering. The fanning           background was available to dealers.
wide-spread were John Deere green                       mill, elevator and a host of other details         It was a tri-fold piece depicting a farm
and actually rotated when the spreader                  are cast in with the body. The grain table,        home and garage, trees and fields. The
was pulled along. The implement was                     straw stack and unloading auger are cast           detailed picture even includes a bus on
complete with a driver’s seat to use when               iron. The front wheel assembly is steerable        the highway and a plane in the sky. In
the spreader was being pulled by horses.                with a short wire hook that can be hitched         addition, there was a three-dimensional
                                                        to the tractor.                                    cardboard barn with an attached shed
Kids broke ground on their toy farms with
                                                                                                           and silo. The front display window at a
a 10-inch-long, three-bottom plow with                  Even more complicated was the Vindex
                                                                                                           John Deere dealership made the perfect
a short wire tractor hitch. In reality, three           John Deere prairie combine. The main
                                                                                                           location for this diorama.
bottoms would have made an impossible                   body and removable, adjustable header
load for Vindex’s two-horse teams.                      castings were painted aluminum, and                To learn more about these toys come to
                                                        feature loads of detail. The floating               the John Deere Memorabilia Conference.
Sometime after Vindex introduced its
                                                        combine head, with its movable reel,               For more information on the conference
original line of John Deere toys, a wide
                                                        has a yellow end wheel that matches                see page 1.
prairie-style John Deere Van Brunt grain
                                                        the main wheels. A single wheel truck
drill with a short wire hitch was added to
The farm background and barn were used to display the Vindex toys at John Deere dealerships.

    From us to you…
    The most wonderful time of the year?
    I’m not sure what the weather’s like wherever this issue of The Plowshare finds each of
    you, but here in the Midwest it’s getting cold. I’ve enjoyed watching the leaves change
    color, but am dreading the next step in seasonal weather. If you are reading this in a
    warmer climate you have my envy.
    I’ll let you in on a little secret – I am not a snow lover. But, it hasn’t always been this
    way. When I was much younger I enjoyed sledding, skating and skiing, but when
    I became responsible for shoveling, jumping weak batteries and chipping ice off
    windshields my feelings changed.
    I have already met my snow quota for the entire season. The first flakes fell here in
    northern Illinois in October and, to be honest with you, that is more than enough for
    me. But I know that before long a few flurries will be the least of my snow-related
    worries, and I’m trying to prepare myself for the upcoming winter.                            The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois, uses
                                                                                                  interactive displays and real John Deere equipment
    For me, this means dusting off past issues of my favorite reading material and filling         to help visitors understand John Deere’s role in the
    the shop with winter projects. I’m also trying to remember the good things that               past, present and future of agribusiness.
    winter will bring. There’ll be holiday get-togethers with family and friends, and I’ll get
    to spend some of my time looking forward to two upcoming events for John Deere                John Deere Attractions
    enthusiasts: John Deere’s Memorabilia Conference and the Gathering of the Green.
                                                                                                  holiday hours
    This year both the Memorabilia Conference and the Gathering of the Green will be
                                                                                                  John Deere Pavilion*
    held in Davenport, Iowa, just a few miles from Moline, Illinois, the former location
                                                                                                  Regular hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.;
    of both events. This is a new location for the events, but guests at the Memorabilia
                                                                                                  Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-4 p.m.
    Conference will still be treated to an exciting lineup of guest speakers on topics
                                                                                                  Christmas Eve: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
    including global memorabilia, animal images in farm marketing, and Vindex farm toys.
                                                                                                  Christmas Day: Closed
                                                                                                  New Year’s Eve: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
                                                                                                  New Year’s Day: Closed

                                                                                                  John Deere Store*
                                                                                                  Regular hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6
                                                                                                  p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday,
                                                                                                  noon-4 pm.
                                                                                                  Extended holiday hours: Open until 8 p.m. on
                                                                                                  Dec. 3, 10 & 17
                                                                                                  Christmas Day: Closed
                                                                                                  New Year’s Day: Closed

                                                                                                  * All times are U.S. Central Time
    To get a sneak peek at the Vindex presentation see page 3 for an article by Ray Crilley,
    the farm toy expert who’ll be discussing this topic at the conference.
    Along with the guest speakers, the Memorabilia Conference will also feature a number
    of vendors.
    You can find more information about the Memorabilia Conference and the Gathering
    of the Green, another event for collectors that will immediately follow the Memorabilia
    Conference, in this issue of The Plowshare.
    I’ll be thinking of these two events often as the snow flies this winter. I’m looking
    forward to them, not only for the opportunities they bring to talk tractors with old
    friends, but also because, to me, they are two of the first signs of spring.
    Until next time “Keep your hand on the throttle and your plow in the ground.”

                                                                                                  The John Deere Store, located next to the
                                                                                                  John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois, features a
                                                                                                  wide variety of John Deere branded-merchandise.


                               JOHN DEERE
                           One John Deere Place,
                           Moline, Illinois 61265


           You have received this publication due to your relationship with John Deere. The
           Plowshare is free and is distributed quarterly. If you don’t want to receive future
           issues, please contact Katie Baustian at One John Deere Place, Moline, IL 61265,
           or by calling 1-800-240-5265, and ask to have your name removed from The
           Plowshare mailing list. We will then stop sending you The Plowshare, but you may
           continue to receive information about merchandise and upcoming events from
           John Deere.

    Kid’s Craft Days set at Pavilion                                             The Memorabilia Conference will be March      well as vendors and tours of John Deere-
    The John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois,                                 16 and 17 at the Radisson in Davenport,       related locations.
    will hold themed Kids Craft Days from 10                                     Iowa, and will include a number of
    a.m. to 4 p.m. on:                                                           presentations focused on John Deere
                                                                                 history and collectibles. Vendors will also
    • Dec. 19: tree picture frames
                                                                                 be on hand to display or sell a variety of
    • Jan. 16: water cycle bracelet or keychain                                                                                    In this issue
                                                                                 John Deere memorabilia.
    • Feb. 20: grow a soybean                                                                                                      Events planned for John Deere
                                                                                 Information: 309-765-4485 or                      collectors – p. 1
    Information: 309-765-1000
                                                                                                                                   Early licensed products outfitted
                                                                                                                                   realistic toy farms – p. 3
    John Deere Collector events planned
                                                                                 The Gathering of the Green will be                From us to you – p. 5
    The John Deere Memorabilia Conference
                                                                                 held March 17-20 at the River Center in           John Deere Attractions holiday
    and the Gathering of the Green, two
                                                                                 Davenport, Iowa, across the street from           hours - p. 5
    biennial events that focus on vintage
                                                                                 the site of the Memorabilia Conference.
    John Deere products and memorabilia are
                                                                                 This event will include a variety of
    both scheduled for March in Davenport,
                                                                                 technical and historical workshops for
                                                                                 John Deere collectors and enthusiasts as


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