The Caterpillar Century

By: Eric C Orlemann

Book Review

The Caterpillar Century
The Caterpillar Century

Caterpillar's rich ancestry stretches back to the 1800s when one of the company's forefathers, Daniel Best, set his inaugural portable grain cleaner in motion in 1870. Since this momentous occasion, a stream of cutting edge innovations have thrust Best and co-founder Benjamin Holt firmly into the agricultural and earth moving history books.

The Traced Crawler tractor is one of the pivotal mechanical inventions of the 20th century. The sum total of mass produced tracked machines - agricultural, construction or military - are indebted to Holt's first speculative steam crawler from late 1904. Despite this, no true acknowledgement has been given to the crawler tractor and its earthmoving cousins in subsequent accounts of the mechanical milestones from last century.

While the true implications of how these machines have aided our everyday lives has been somewhat obscured by the television culture of the recent era, the concepts developed by Best, Holt and eventually, Caterpillar, have played key roles in almost all of our industrial advances over the last century.

There is a high probability that you would find Caterpillar equipment in one form or another laying the foundations for advancements that help the world keep turning, from soaring sky scrapers to colossal dams.

By the time the Holt Manufacturing Company and CL Best Tractor Co joined forces to birth the Caterpillar Tractor Company in 1925, both companies had already enjoyed extensive success in the advancement of tractors, harvesters, machinery and agricultural implements.

In the century since the Caterpillar name was sparked (inspired by their monster, caterpillar-like appearance) the brand has pushed its way to the top of the earthmoving industry heap.

The Caterpillar Century pays tribute to a remarkable company, tracing the evolution of equipment milestones and celebrating them with almost 300 rare archival photographs that feature early steam tractors, experimental machines and restored antique models to today's massive haul trucks, powerful dozers, gargantuan mining equipment and truckloads more.


This book normally retails for $65.00 and is available from Techbooks, 378 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland or phone 09 524 0132. Check out the September issue of Deals On Wheels for a special offer!

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