WQAD viewers help to solve Deere horseshoe mystery

Thanks to your help, it looks like we’ve solved the mystery of the John Deere horseshoes.

Two weeks ago, we told you about Pat Simon’s quest to identify the John Deere item.

Now, we’ve really cracked the case.

Pat began his search at the recent Gathering of the Green in Davenport.

“I’m trying to figure out where they came from,” he said.

The longtime Deere and Company employee received two horseshoes from a friend about a year ago. That started his quest to learn more about them.

“A horseshoe?” asked one dealer at the show.

After more than 40 years of collecting, it was a first for a Michigan vendor.

“This is the first yellow one I’ve seen,” added Kevin Collins, Davenport.

Collins thinks they came from the former East Moline foundry.

“See, that’s the same — exact same logo,” Pat said while comparing his horseshoe to another item.

Thanks to viewers’ help, we found Don Hilger in Moline.

“That’s the one I made,” he said, examining the horseshoe up close.

Turns out, Hilger actually built the plate some 45 years ago.

“This is where it all started,” Pat said.

A photo shows Don inside the former Malleable Works during the late 1960’s.

“That’s classic there,” Pat said.

The horseshoes were made as gifts to employees and others when the foundry closed in 1969.

“I’m talking to the guy who actually did the work,” Pat said. “That’s pretty exciting for me.”

Next stop, rural Colona.

“This is actually the job I started with,” said Dave Thomas.

Thomas described pouring molten iron into the mold for the horseshoes during 1968-69. He said he could have made some 400 or more as gifts to employees.

“Every once in a while, I look at them,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to remember things.”

Dave and Pat compared their horseshoes. Dave’s was not painted and had markings from the last pour in September 1969.

“There’s no doubt in my mind these came out of the same mold,” Pat said.

Both feature the correct Deere logo in the same place. On the flip side, there’s an identical number “2” stamped on it.

“These were done in ’69,” Pat said. “That pretty much ties it right in. That’s kind of cool,” Pat concluded.

Cool to solve a mystery, thanks to your help!

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