Vintage Deere & Company Painted Back Lit Displays

I’ve seen a lot. But never these.

At the 2019 Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL I met and talked with Doug Stahl who mentioned a pair of very unique John Deere items his family owned. I was intrigued (very). I told Doug when he had a chance to send me a couple pics. The other day Doug’s brother Bill Stahl these two pictures and a note:



Hi Greg, my name is Bill Stahl, my brother Doug met you at the Farm Progress Show recently and spoke to you about my dad, an avid farm toy and memorabilia collector, and a couple of lighted paintings he acquired years ago when our local John Deere dealer, Colgan Company sold out. Joe Colgan had come across the paintings when John Deere was in the process of moving years ago. Apparently he was in the right place at the right time. Decades later my dad ended up with them. They are both built into wooden cabinets about one foot deep, but one of them has raised lettering and a few picture frames on the back side as well, obviously a part of Deere’s original display.

Bill mentioned they think the paintings were done on glass with fluorescent light behind to shine through.

Wow, super cool. How about that hay bale mid air!

Vintage back lit promotional displays that were Deere & Company corporate items.

A little more background history here…Joe Colgan that Bill speaks of, yep, same Joe Colgan I posted fun 3-part Machinery Pete Youtube video interview with back in February 2011…when Joe was 97 years old! Joe Colgan had a John Deere dealership, Colgan Company, in Wyoming, IL that he started in the 1940’s. Joe actually got into the farm equipment biz in 1933.

Joe Colgan passed away April 28, 2015 at the age of 101 years young.

That afternoon I spent mid February 2011 at the Colgan’s kitchen table in little Wyoming, IL with Joe, his son Tim (just retired from long career in John Deere dealership biz) and Majella, Joe’s wife of 70 years, was a day I will never forget. Joe and Majella raised their 12 successful children in that house, around that kitchen table. In the 3-part Youtube video interview I asked Joe lots of questions…what was it like to be a John Deere dealer 70 years ago? What’s the secret to a long and happy life? If you have never watched the videos, you should (links to the videos below). So much ag/farming/rural history right from Joe himself. At then 97 years young Joe Colgan was sharp as a tac. Wonderful man.


Part 1 of Machinery Pete Interview with Joe Colgan:

Part 2 of Machinery Pete interview with Joe Colgan:

Part 3 of Machinery Pete interview with Joe Colgan:

Machinery Pete

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