John Deere's Tractor-Opoly & Waterloo History

August 13, 2017

Greetings from the Deere heartland, It has
been nearly three months since our move to Dixon,
Illinois. We are adjusting slowly still searching
through rows of boxes for winter sweaters and snow
boots. And both have been needed. Just recently we
went through a spell where the wind chill was -20
most of the day.


I am honored and inspired for me to serve as
one of the writers for the newsletter. It keeps Arden
and me in touch with you all whom we miss and
cherish. I will be writing on various themes over the
year from John Deere history (which I believe is so
important to know), to report the experiences from
other clubs. I would appreciate your feedback and
suggestions as to topics or subjects you would like
to see in this column.


Arden and I have been able to make contact
with John Deere collectors in Dixon. One has a 37 B
and I believe an H. We also are in the process of
joining the Northeastern Illinois Two Cylinder. You
may recall they are one of the four clubs that host
the Gathering of the Green. They have their annual
banquet, with an auction (much like ours) in March.
Arden and I plan to attend. Speaking of the
Gathering, the 2018 show will have its theme as the
celebration of the 100th anniversary of John Deere
Company purchasing the Waterloo Tractor
Company for two and a half million, thus beginning
the John Deere entry into being a major producer in
the tractor industry.


Other than being five miles from Grand
Detour; where blacksmith John Deere hammered
out his famous plow, the main reasons we made the
huge move to Dixon was to be with our grandsons,
James and John. James is 9 Johnny is 6. James is at
the age now where he is beginning to develop an
interest and curiosity in tractors…(John Deere of
course ).For Christmas, his parents gave him a game
called John Deere “Tractor-opoly". James loves it
and has done much to bring us deerely together.

"Tractor-opoly" is a board game similar to
Monopoly . Tractors replace real estate and it is one
of the best educational pieces for kids of all ages
that I have seen concerning John Deere’s history
and heritage. After a game or two, which by the
way like Monopoly takes time, our grandson learned
many things about John Deere that he hadn't known
previously. When he landed on the space for the
model D, he learned that production started in 1923
and this tractor holds the record for having the
longest run of any model John Deere tractor. He
also learned that in 1949, the model R was Deere’s
first diesel tractor. Finally, he learned that in 1937,
just a few miles from our home, a blacksmith took a
broken steel sawmill blade and fashioned a
moldboard that became the famous John Deere
plow. What excited this grandfather’s Deere heart
the most, was James’ interest in the Waterloo Boy
and that the Waterloo Boy was first produced in
1912 by the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company
and that this company was purchased by Deere and
Company in 1918 for $2.34 million.


As James and I played John Deere "Tractor-
opoly" I found it to be a wonderful tool to educate
and encourage young folks to get interested in the
history of John Deere. I believe that this interest is a
critical component in keeping the history alive, just
as critical as the collection and restoration of John
Deere tractors themselves. As we all know, our
Waterloo Boys Club members are aging and we are,
simply put, one generation away from extinction.
We need to stimulate and articulate to our young to
the joy in collecting and sustaining of John Deere
history. I invite all grandparents, and parents to go
out and buy John Deere this game, set time
aside, and get them away from their iPads and
computers share the joy of learning this important


Blessings to you all and wishing you all a very
healthy 2017.
Jim Olsen…

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