All inventions that we see put into use today had a starting point. Without Alexander Graham Bell, we wouldn’t have the cellphone, not to mention the advancement of mobile phone to the mini-computer in our pockets. Without the ingenuity of past individuals, life as we know it today would be completely different. One such invention that revolutionized farming was John Froelich’s invention of the gasoline-powered tractor that able to be propelled forward and back. Froelich’s invention in 1892 has since become the John Deere tractor, and his easy-to-maneuver gasoline engine had replaced the bulkier steam-powered tractor engine. In September 2017, the village of Froelich will celebrate the 125th anniversary of Froelich’s tractor at their annual FALL-DER-ALL, which will mark the museum’s final weekend of the season and provide fun and games for the whole family.
The annual FALL-DER-ALL has always been a fun, fall tradition to celebrate one of Clayton County’s own Iowa Hall of Fame Inventors. Surrounding the Froelich Museum, demonstrations and tractors were all set up to entertain the children running around in the vibrant green grass. As I strolled through the village, the pound of the blacksmith’s hammer, the hum of the steam-powered wood saw, and the fresh scent of cider apples being pressed filled my senses. Throughout the day, children and families went on tractor rides throughout the village, and learned about all of the inventions Froelich had successfully created, including a washing machine, a dish washer and dryer, and a mechanical corn picker. There was a great feeling of pride surrounding the village of Froelich, and for good reason. The quasquicentennial celebration of the invention will be a huge hit as they host guided tours through their historic buildings, and host numerous demonstrations to show what life had been like while Froelich was alive.
Without the invention of John Froelich’s gas engine tractor, there’s no telling how advanced farming technology would be today. His invention revolutionized the convenience of today’s tractor, and created the company that we know as John Deere today. The FALL-DER-ALL is a celebration of Froelich’s success, and also the life of our ancestors that the village yearns to teach to others.
Written by Jayna Felder | Photo Credit to CCDG