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Deere and Company
Component Works


400 Westfield Avenue

Much of the industrial history of Waterloo centers on this site. The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company built a new factory here in 1910 for the production of tractors, including the "Waterloo Boy," introduced in 1914. Four years Deere & Company purchased later the firm.

The Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company grew out of John Froelich's 1892 invention of the first gasoline engine- powered tractor that would move backward and forward. The success of that idea led him to organize a company and open a factory. The original plant was located in Waterloo at 3rd and Cedar Street.

Froelich's company built stationary gasoline engines while experimenting with tractors. His first tractor was built in 1896; only one was sold. That same year the firm made and sold six two-cylinder automobiles.

In 1914, the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company sold 118 tractors. Four years later, Deere & Company purchased the plant. The "Waterloo Boy" was produced until 1923, when Deere introduced its "Model D," one of the most popular tractors ever built.

Deere & Company now owns the area bordered by Westfield, the Cedar River, Commercial and Conger. What was once the main tractor works is now one of four Deere units operating in the county. Other Deere units are the Engine Works at 3801 Ridgeway Avenue in Waterloo, the Product Engineering Center at 6725 Deere Road in Cedar Falls and the Tractor Works at 3500 East Donald Street in Waterloo.

See also:  History of John Deere in Waterloo / John Deere Waterloo Works

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Last updated Wednesday, June 23, 2004

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