Waterloo Boy Hits 100 & Plane Ticket Soars to New Tractor Heights

Jul 27, 2018

The saying “Nothing runs like a Deere” still holds true 100 years after Deere entered the engine and tractor business. Iowa celebrated this 100 year anniversary in June and continues to celebrate it.

Retired John Deere engineer and former long-term Iowa resident, Terry Woods shares the 100-year evolution of John Deere tractors in Iowa, plus his famous airline ticket sketch.

100 years ago, John Deere acquired the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. What started as a company producing steel plows now boasts plants located worldwide.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa has a new exhibit that “digs into a century of agricultural innovation in the state where tractors were invented.” The exhibit displays “three tractors — a 1925 Model D, 1946 Model B and 1949 Model A — along with an array of artifacts from John Deere headquarters and the historical museum.” Additionally, it tells the story of the company’s purchase of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company and the beloved “Waterloo Boy” tractor and how that purchase “changed the course of John Deere, Iowa, and the world.”

Terry Woods joined Deere & Company in 1967 and spent 30 years as a dedicated design engineer and manager. He is highly regarded for a sketch he drew on the back of an airline ticket during a nighttime flight from Chicago to Paris in March of 1987. The sketch depicted a new way to build a tractor that was different than any ideas that had ever been presented. The result was the 8000 Series Tractor, which allowed farmers to be more efficient and greatly improve productivity.

Tune in on August 3rd at noon or listen below for this historical interview with IPR’s Jacqueline Halbloom and Terry Woods. In addition, be sure to visit the “100 Years of John Deere Tractors” Exhibit at the State Historical Museum in Des Moines now through September 20th.

John Deere also has museum sites in:

Waterloo: John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, 500 Westfield Ave, Waterloo, IA

Moline, IL: John Deere Pavilion, Store and Company World Headquarters, 1400 River Dr, Moline, IL                               61265

Grand Detour, IL: John Deere Historic Site, 8334 S Clinton St, Dixon, IL 61021

For more information, please visit the following links: