MOLINE, ILL., AUG. 26 -- Nearly a million American households will be receiving a parcel in the mail from a Deere & Co. subsidiary this week as the giant farm implement maker begins cultivating the mail-order catalog business.

"We will be sending the catalog out to selected areas across the country," R.J. Peterson, vice president of Deere & Co. and president of the newly formed John Deere Catalog Co. said today.

The 32-page color catalog will be mailed Friday and features 125 products aimed at Deere customers and middle-income suburbanites in an effort to attract new customers for Deere's line of lawn and garden equipment.

"The catalog will reflect John Deere's reputation for high quality and the company's long tradition and rich heritage," said Jack Allgaier, vice president of the newly formed catalog company.

Merchandise available through the catalog includes a $425 replica of a wagon that Deere sold around the turn of the century, a $175 smoker grill, a $200 croquet set, toys and high-quality items for the den, lawn, garden, patio and garage.

None of the products in the catalog is made by Deere, and only a few have the Deere name or an old-fashioned Deere logo on them. But Deere unconditionally guarantees each item for 150 years, something the Direct Mail Association said no other mail-order company offers.

Also included in the catalog are photographs of Deere's line of lawn and garden equipment, which cannot be ordered through the catalog. However, the publication includes a toll free telephone number to call for the names of John Deere dealers. "The catalog does two things for John Deere," Peterson said. "It serves as an effective means of reaching the huge homeowner market and expands homeowner awareness of John Deere's consumer line and offers direct marketing to customers."

Deere has looked into marketing a catalog for more than a year, he added. While the market for general catalogs has declined, the company's research indicates the market for specialty catalogs is on the rise