Companies Intertwined: Grand Detour Plow Co. and Deere & Co.

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Photo Courtesy David Schnakenberg
Grand Detour Plow Co. shares early history with Deere &Co. 

Farm Collector readers may note similarities between this 1880s Grand Detour Plow Co. chromolithograph and the Deere & Co. “Gilpin Plow” poster that appeared in the March 2010 issue.

The early history of these companies is intertwined. In 1843, Leonard Andrus and John Deere established Andrus & Deere Co. in Grand Detour, Ill., operating as L. Andrus Plough Manufactory. During the next 10 years, Andrus and Deere added Horace Paine as a partner, operating as L. Andrus & Co. That company was terminated after two years. In 1846, Oramil C. Lathrop was added as a partner (Andrus, Deere & Lathrop). The partnership was dissolved in June 1847 when a new partnership, Andrus & Deere, was formed.

At about the same time, Robert N. Tate was hired by Deere and Andrus. Deere accepted $1,200 for Andrus’ interest in May 1848 and Deere & Tate began manufacturing plows in Moline, Ill.

The business in Grand Detour was run by Andrus alone until he was joined by Amos Bosworth, who died in 1862. In 1863, Theron Cumins joined the firm, which was then named Andrus & Cumins. Andrus died in 1867 and the firm was run by Cumins until 1869, when it was moved from Grand Detour to Dixon with Henry T. Nobel (the firm was renamed T. Cumins & Co.) as partner. In 1874, Orris B. Dodge joined the firm (now Cumins, Nobel & Dodge); it was incorporated in 1879 as Grand Detour Plow Co. By 1882 the company was manufacturing 66 sizes of iron and wood beam plows as well as sulky plows, cultivators, harrows and hay rakes. In 1919, the company was sold to J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co., Racine, Wis. FC

Grateful acknowledgement is given to David Schnakenberg, who contributed this image from his collection of pre-1910 chromolithographs of farm machinery advertising. For more information, contact him at 10108 Tamarack Dr., Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 938-8606;; view the Schnakenberg Collection on eBay.

To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email:

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