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An introduction to the history of caterpillar tractor company

Caterpillar will be the leader in providing the best value in machines, engines and support services for customers dedicated to building the world's infrastructure and developing and transporting its resources. We provide the best value to customers. Daniel Best produces his first combine. Stockton Wheel is incorporated as Holt Manufacturing Company.

Holt produces the first commercially successful caterpillar-style tractor, or crawler, which is soon sold under the Caterpillar brand. Holt Manufacturing produces its first gas-powered crawlers; Daniel Best sells his company to Holt. Holt establishes an eastern manufacturing operation by purchasing a plant in Peoria, Illinois. Best, forms his own tractor manufacturing company, C. Best Gas Tractor Company.

Holt Manufacturing and C. Remaining production in California is shifted to Peoria, where the company's headquarters are also reestablished. Caterpillar's Diesel Sixty tractor helps make the diesel the staple engine for heavy-duty vehicles.

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Caterpillar Tractor Company Ltd. Caterpillar and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Company suffers first loss since the Great Depression.

Company is renamed Caterpillar Inc. Caterpillar reorganizes along product lines and geographic areas. A lengthy labor dispute begins with a strike at two Caterpillar plants. Record-long, 17-month strike begins. Caterpillar exits from the agricultural tractor business. In addition to its tractors, trucks, graders, excavators, scrapers, and other heavy machinery used in the construction, mining, and forestry industries, Caterpillar also makes diesel and gas engines used in Caterpillar machinery, electric power generation an introduction to the history of caterpillar tractor company, locomotives, and other industrial equipment.

With 50 production facilities in the United States and another 60 overseas and more than 200 dealers serving customers in 178 countries, Caterpillar does about 44 percent of its business within the United States and 56 percent abroad. Through Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation and other subsidiaries, the company offers financing and insurance for its customers and dealers.

After about ten years of working at various jobs, Best observed that many farmers transported their grain to special cleaning stations to make it suitable for market. Best thought there was a way to clean grain by machine at the same time as it was being harvested to avoid the costly step of transporting to another site.

By 1871 Best had patented his first grain cleaner, which he manufactured and sold with great success. Intending to further the family business of selling hardwood products, Holt founded C.

Holt and Company with his savings and eventually operated it with his brothers William Harrison and A. Frank, who came west from New Hampshire in 1871. In 1883 younger brother Benjamin Holt arrived in California as well, and the Holt brothers that year set up the Stockton Wheel Company to season woods in a way that would prepare them for use in the arid midlands of California and deserts of the West.

This venture was based in Stockton, California, about 80 miles east of San Francisco. As the inventive force behind Stockton Wheel and its successors, Benjamin Holt is most often cited as the founder of Caterpillar Inc.

The company manufactured wooden wheels, paving the way for the firm's entrance into the vehicular product market. In the 1880s the combined harvester and thresher, known as the combine, revolutionized the farming industry because of its ability to cut and thresh, and later to clean and sack grain, in vast quantities, using far less time than previously needed for these individual operations. The Holt brothers produced their first combine in 1886. The Link Belt Combined Harvester advanced agricultural technology further by using flexible chain belts rather than gears to transmit power from the ground wheels to the working parts of the machine.

This innovation cut down on machine breakage. Meantime, Daniel Best produced his first combine in 1885. Near the end of the 19th century, the major drawback in large-scale agriculture was the need for animal power. The combine had made large farms profitable, but the cost of housing and feeding large horse teams and the men who drove them cut into earnings.

Both the Holts and Daniel Best were interested in solving this problem by using steam-driven engines to supply tractive power. The Holts built a steam-driven tractor that could haul 50 tons of freight at three miles per hour. Almost concurrently, Daniel Best refined his steam-engine tractor into one of the finest available during this period, and throughout the 1890s steam-powered tractors were used an introduction to the history of caterpillar tractor company hauling freight and plowing fields, as well as for harvesting grain.

In the early 1900s Benjamin Holt turned his ingenuity to another farming problem. The land around Stockton, California, was boggy and became impassable when wet. To overcome this limitation Holt, in 1904, produced the first commercially successful caterpillar-style tractor, or crawler.

It was built on tracks instead of wheels, and the "Cat" could negotiate any terrain short of a swamp. It soon allowed planters to reclaim thousands of acres of land previously thought useless.

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Holt began selling his tractors under the Caterpillar brand; according to lore, the name came about during the first test run of the crawler, when an onlooker commented that the machine moved like a caterpillar.

In 1906 a steam-powered crawler was perfected, and caught on quickly because of its ability to work on ground that all but swallowed other machines. In 1908 Holt Manufacturing produced its first gas-powered crawlers, using gasoline engines made by a newly formed engine division.

The engineers who were building the 230-mile Los Angeles Aqueduct used one of the new machines that year to transport materials across the Mojave Desert. The machine worked so well that 25 more tractors were purchased for further work on the aqueduct, thus giving the Holt tractor credibility with the public and a substantial boost to sales. Best, was taken on as company superintendent, but after two years, he formed his own company, C.

Best Gas Tractor Company, and advanced the state of an introduction to the history of caterpillar tractor company technology even further on his own. In 1909 Benjamin Holt, who had been looking for a new manufacturing plant in the eastern half of the United States, bought the abandoned but relatively new plant of a tractor company that had failed.

After the Peoria plant opened, Holt continued to improve his tractor and expand its range of applications. He experimented with several different materials for the body design to achieve a heavy-duty tractor that was not excessively heavy.

Holt knew that his tractors could be used for even more rugged chores than agriculture or freighting, and fitted adjustable blades onto his tractors. He then hired them out to grade roads or move soil and rocks at construction sites. Soon after World War I broke out in 1914, thousands of troops were caught in trench warfare.

Observing such repeated attacks, a British lieutenant colonel, Ernest Swinton, sought an armored machine to resist automatic weapons that also would be an introduction to the history of caterpillar tractor company to negotiate the war-scarred terrain of the battlefield.

His requirements resulted in the invention in 1916 of an experimental tank, based on the track-laying tractors designed by Holt and others.

A year later the tank was used to such telling effect that it is credited with winning the Battle of Cambrai, in France, for the Allies. Some historians point to this battle as the turning point of the war.

Germany had investigated the military applications of the track-laying vehicle well before anyone else and concluded that tractors were without military significance.

Holt tractors themselves served the war effort by hauling artillery and supplies. In all, more than 10,000 Holt vehicles served the Allied forces, and the international exposure that the Holt tractor received during the war did much to popularize the tracked vehicle.

In 1920 Benjamin Holt died at the age of 71. The bankers holding the company's large debt forced the board of directors to accept their candidate, Thomas A.

Baxter, a former Boston banker who had joined Holt Manufacturing in 1913 as a business manager, as Benjamin Holt's successor. In the early 1920s the Holt company faced the problem of going from wartime boom to peacetime bust. Almost overnight the military orders that kept the factories working at capacity seemed to vanish. Holt used this down period to increase efficiency, both mechanical and human; for example, studies were made to determine how to use space and personnel to the best advantage.

Creation of Caterpillar Tractor Company: Baxter had been forced out earlier in the year, and C. Best was named chairman of Caterpillar, while Raymond C.

Force, an attorney and board member, became president and CEO. Caterpillar's first problem was to choose the outlets that would represent the new concern from among the many solid dealerships that Best and Holt had established under their respective names. Caterpillar picked only the most successful sites and quickly began to expand by opening dealerships in Australia, the Netherlands, east Africa, and Tunisia.

Caterpillar dealerships developed a reputation for keeping their machines running. The firm insisted that the dealers keep a large supply of spare parts available and employ a large service force. Another development in the immediate aftermath of the merger was the shifting of all tractor manufacturing to Peoria; combines continued to be made in Stockton. The crash of 1929, however, hit Caterpillar hard, but not as hard as it might have, thanks to an increase in sales to the Soviet Union in the early 1930s.

Salaries were cut, including those of executives, many factories went on a four-day workweek, and the remaining production in California was shifted to Peoria. Yet the company stayed profitable and rebounded in the late 1930s, primarily, again, because of Soviet purchases.

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The Soviets at that time were forming vast collective farms, some of which approached 400,000 acres in size. Caterpillar products helped make such farms manageable, and the Soviets ordered millions of dollars worth of tractors and combines from Caterpillar.

  • Baxter had been forced out earlier in the year, and C;
  • This innovation cut down on machine breakage;
  • Germany had investigated the military applications of the track-laying vehicle well before anyone else and concluded that tractors were without military significance;
  • The beadless tire lacked the beads, or edges, that attach the tire to wheel rims, and was more durable and economical than previous designs;
  • Germany had investigated the military applications of the track-laying vehicle well before anyone else and concluded that tractors were without military significance.

In the early 1930s Caterpillar moved its main office to Peoria, for a more geographically central location.

By 1931, the diesel tractor engine, which had been used before but not widely, was finally perfected for common use by Caterpillar. Previously diesels had been too heavy and undependable for commercial use. The Diesel Sixty tractor, however, made the diesel the staple engine for heavy-duty vehicles.

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In 1933 Caterpillar's diesel production was double that of all other U. This boon gave Cat the impetus to redesign many of its old models, making them more efficient and economical. Sales began to rise and continued to do so throughout the late 1930s, as Caterpillar benefited from the huge road-building projects of President Franklin D.

Roosevelt's public works programs. Caterpillar's many innovations in rubber-tired tractors and diesel engines for trucks clearly contributed to revitalizing the firm. Caterpillar's contributions to World War II were many and varied. Of substantial importance was the conversion of a gasoline airplane engine into a dependable diesel engine.