caterpillar-logoBrandwatch: The History of Caterpillar

Caterpillar is an American corporation which designs, develops, engineers, builds and sells a plethora of machinery all the way down to engines and other similar products.

Caterpillar is also a global leader in the manufacturing of mining and construction equipment. By the turn of the 20th century, both firms were making steam-driven wheeled tractors and harvesters to replace horse-drawn methods on large farms. Benjamin Holt is arguably the most well-known of the brothers, as it was he who invited the familiar ‘caterpillar tractor’ around 1906. This particular tractor ran on continuous metal-belted tracks instead of wheels, which prevented the heavy vehicle from sinking into mud.

In 1925, the Holt Manufacturing Company merged with another tractor manufacturer, the C.L. Best Tractor Company, which was founded by a son of Daniel Best. Together, they became the Caterpillar Tractor Company and their headquarters moved to Peoria.

Caterpillar stayed afloat during the great depression, mainly by selling tractors and combines to the Soviet Union in order to facilitate that country’s first Five-Year Plan from 1929-1933). 1931 saw Caterpillar successfully perfect a tractor driven by a diesel engine rather than a gas-powered one. Soon after, diesel become standard for all types of heavy-duty vehicles. Caterpillar’s tractor and truck stock skyrocketed after the war, as the machines were in high-demand for reconstruction projects. The name Caterpillar essentially became synonymous with bulldozers during this time.

Today, Caterpillar makes everything from tractors and trucks to scrapers and other machinery used in agriculture such as mining and logging.

What Their Work Covers

Caterpillar are known for producing machinery and manufacturing eco-friendly methods that have minimal impact on the environment. They have also won the Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award for a fair few of their projects.

Global Operations

They have a global dealer network that assists the company to run its operations across the globe. Caterpillar is continuing to expand its operations to areas such as China, Brazil and other parts of the world. Some of Caterpillar’s plants can be located in India, England, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Mexico and several other countries throughout the world.
It began in the early 20th century with Benjamin Holt. Holt started a plant in Illinois, which was then led by Pliny Holt, after Benjamin had created the foundations. Together, they merged the company and it was known as the Holt Caterpillar Company, it went on to begin its operations with a small team of just 12 employees.

In august 1910, Holt trademarked the name Caterpillar. The plant soon saw success within a very short space of time (two years) and the company by this time had accumulated over 600 employees and was exporting its machinery – namely tractors – to Mexico, Argentina and Canada. Holts tractors soon obtained a massive supporting role in the First World War. Over 1200 tractors were shipped to Russia, England and France for the purpose of agricultural development.

Honour and Awards

Caterpillar has won several awards, for its advocacy and philanthropy. The most recognised and recent award won by them was back in 2011, being awarded with the Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology from the NBM (National Building Museum).