John Deere was an Illinois blacksmith and manufacturer. Early in his career, Deere and an associate designed a series of farm plows. In 1837, on his own, John Deere designed the first cast steel plow that greatly assisted the Great Plains farmers. The large plows made for cutting the tough prairie ground were called "grasshopper plows." The plow was made of wrought iron and had a steel share that could cut through sticky soil without clogging. By 1855, John Deere's factory was selling over 10,000 steel plows a year.