Czech Personalities - Czech Heritage Month
Valenta Gaida lived in the Ennis, Texas area in the early 1900's. He married Frances Janicek, the daughter of Frank and Frances Janicek.
Mr. Gaida proved to be quite an inventor. About 1917-1919 he conceived the idea and built a tractor for plowing land and cultivating crops instead of using horses or mules as was done at that time. The tractor was so successful that he decided to manufacture tractors for sale. He rented a building on East Milam in Ennis, Texas. He raised capital by selling stock to his friends in Ennis. He started building another tractor with some improvements and lift-up plowing equipment. An agent from the John Deere Company happened to see it and offered Mr. Gaida a position with the John Deere Plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to expedite production of a tractor on a national scale. This began the massive production of John Deere tractors in the USA and the world.
John Deere bought the tractor improvement patent from Mr. Gaida when they offered him the position to work in their plant. The family moved to Cedar Rapids. After a few years, the family moved back to Ennis and later to Dallas where they lived for the rest of their lives.
Mr. Giada had painted all his tractors green with red wheels. It is possible, though not documented, that John Deere painted their production models green following Mr. Gaida's example. Only the paint on the wheels was changed to the yellow color well known through the world today.
From the History of Telico, Texas, 1995. No longer in print.
Original article submitted by Bertha Janicek Podhrasky of Dallas, Texas, a neice of Frances Janicek Giada.
Copied with permission of Ms Podhrasky.