Inside the OHA Collection: John Deer and Syracuse Chilled Plow Sign

For over a century, Syracuse was an industrial hub not only for New York State, but for much of the country. Companies produced typewriters, cars, china – you name is, a Syracuse company produced it. One of the larger companies in Syracuse was Syracuse Chilled Plow. Today, a donor dropped off this artifact, which is now in OHA’s permanent collection.

The Syracuse Chilled Plow Company was created in 1876 and, at its peak, in the early 20th century, more than 100,000 of the tools were sold from Syracuse each year in every corner of the world. The company slogan of the day was, “The sun never sets on a Syracuse plow.” Eventually, other farming implements were added to the line. The company employed more than 300 people in its local plant, which covered a square block on the city’s Near West Side.

In 1910-11, Deere and Company began expanding its holdings, and with the success Syracuse Chilled Plow Company well known, Deere sought to aquire the Syracuse company. “The arrangements for the Syracuse purchase were similar to the earlier ones,” according to Wayne Broehl’s book, John Deere’s History, “though in this case a substantial amount was paid in cash. (The Syracuse shareholders received $400,000 in preferred stock, just $10,000 in common stock, and $940,000 in cash; C.A. Chase and W.W. Wiard also received personally some $28,000 each of Deere common stock.) The management of the Syracuse operation remained in the hands of Wiard and Chase, and the manufacturing operations were left in Syracuse. The only change from previous Syracuse operations was the selling through Deere branch houses instead of directly to the trade.”

The Syracuse factory continued to produce plows until 1955.

Learn more about the John Deere Company and its acquisition of Syracuse Chilled Plow in the document below.