The model C
Deere's first tractor
of the GP Series
1927 John Deere Model C Tractor
With production and sales of the Model D in full swing, thoughts at
Deere and Company turned to producing what would become the
John Deere Model C.
On July 17, 1923 McCormick Deering registered the name Farmall.
In 1924 sales of the new Farmall tractor were brisk enough to prove
to Deere there was a definite place in the market for a smaller tractor
which could be used for cultivation of row crops.
The John Deere Model D had it's place, but it was too big and
cumbersome to do a good job at cultivating corn and cotton.
Besides that, vision was limited with the Model D and cultivating
row crops required the operator to have excellent vision of the ground
and crop below him.
Charles Wiman, director of manufacturing at Deere, and also a
nephew of John Deere's son, Charles; made careful note of the
Farmall's narrow front wheel and high ground clearance and the
He ordered Theo Brown, then head of the John Deere Plow Works
Experimental Division to design a similar machine.
Brown developed and tested and tested and developed yet still had
not come up with a machine that would prove to be a winner among
farmers. In 1927, the Farmall tractors sold over 9,000 units and Deere
dealers and management were very impatient.
Brown's Model C had a 3 row cultivator where the Farmall had a 2
or 4 row, and the tractor was short on horsepower. A complete redesign
would take a year or more to happen.
Charles Wiman made the decision to produce the Model C despite
Production of the John Deere C
In 1926 experimental work began on the Model C Tractors.
In 1926 five experimental Model C tractors were built.
In 1927 24 more were tried.
By late August 1927, production of the John Deere Model C began,
beginning at serial number 200001 and ending with 200110. A total
of 76 of these tractors were built.
The second series of Model C's began in the early spring of 1928,
beginning with serial number 200111 thru 200202. Many of these
were rebuilds of previous tractors, but about half of them were
Deere management was still not satisfied with the Model C and thus
before full production would begin, decided to closely monitor these
tractors and fix the complaints and problems.
Changes were made and in the fall of 1928 full production would
begin, however the new and improved Model C would not be given
the C designation. Sales Manager, Frank Silloway thought that the D
and C sounded too close to each other and decided to change the
name of the Model C to the GP which stood for General Purpose.
In 1927 32 Model C tractors were produced.
In 1928 101 Model C tractors were produced
All 1927 tractors and 9 from 1928 were recalled. 92 units were
completed in March and April 1928, many by updating the earlier tractors.
In August 1928, four months after the Model C was discontinued,
the Model GP was introduced.
By the middle 1920's Deere and Company had firmly established
themselves as a major player in the tractor games. Ford and
International Harvester were on top....but the strongest
competition for all three was....The Horse!
The McCormick Deering Farmall, a 2 plow tractor should probably
be given credit for being the first really successful attempt at a genuine
all purpose tractor of the tricycle design. It was placed on the
market in 1924.
In 1926 the new Farmall Works plant was opened at Rock Island
Illinois where the above mentioned tractor was redesigned and
produced as the F 20.
In 1925 a merger between the C.L. Best Tractor Co and the Holt
Manufacturing Company, both from California.....formed the
Caterpillar Tractor Company of Peoria, Illinois. $12,300,000 cash
Holt was the originator and holder of the Caterpillar
trade mark and had plants both in Peoria and Stockton Cal.
In 1928 Caterpillar bought out the Russell Grader Manufacturing
Company which had been producing road building machines for the
past 20 years.
1993 was the 65th anniversary of the first row crop tractor built
by John Deere. To commemorate that, the Ertl Company created
a special John Deere Model C tractor at 1:16 scale.
Very few restored Model C tractors exist in collections today.
Next: John Deere GP
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History of John Deere