August 17, 2017
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5 CAT Facts for the Caterpillar Enthusiast

Caterpillar, often referred to as just CAT, is another one of the major brands of heavy equipment that is popular here in the United States.  It has been around for over one hundred years, and any company with a history that long is bound to have some interesting facts and trivia.  In this Shop Talk Blog post, we share some interesting facts we discovered about CAT.

Horsepower was important to CAT from the beginning.

The company we know as Caterpillar resulted from a 1925 merger of the Holt Manufacturing Company, founded by Benjamin Holt in Stockton, California in the late 1800s, and the C.L. Best Tractor Company. It’s earliest roots can be traced back to Holt’s first commercial success: an innovative approach to the horse-drawn combine, released in 1886 — making horsepower a major factor from the very beginning.  The Caterpillar contribution to the combine was the use of link-belting and sprockets in place of gears. By 1899, CAT had also begun to manufacture a steam-powered tractor. Both machines were soon became indispensable to farmers in California and across the United States.

CAT helped to win World War I and World War II

Before World War I started, Holt had already shipped tractors to Europe for agricultural purposes, but these same tractors soon found themselves near the front lines hauling supplies and equipment. The ability of these tracked machines to handle terrain that normal vehicles would bog down in made them vital to the war effort. Before long, Holt was manufacturing gun tractors for carrying artillery. And, the Caterpillar is considered the inspiration for the British tank.


The Caterpillar brand became important in World War II, also.  Caterpillar’s contributions included air cooled radial diesel engines for US M4 tanks, final drives for tanks, and high-speed armored crawler tractors.  Soon the CAT D7 bulldozer became the main product that the US military was wanting, and the traditional CAT yellow paint had to be replaced with classic olive drab.  CAT became such a key part of the war effort that General Patton once said that given the choice between a tank and a bulldozer, he’d choose the tank everytime.

The Caterpillar brand name was inspired by … a caterpillar?

The tracked design evolved from a need for tractor to move across the rich, soft farmland in certain areas of California. Several solutions were attempted, but it was Holt’s use of continous tracks that proved to be the best.  A company photographer was observing it during testing one day, and commented to Holt that it crawled like a caterpillar (crawler tractor). Holt liked the name, and it eventually became the company’s trademark, even for equipment that isn’t tracked.


CAT acquired several influential heavy equipment brands through the years.

As you already know, CAT didn’t just stick to agricultural equipment. As part of their diversification, Caterpillar has purchased many other well-known brands through the years. These include Bucyrus, ASV (which they later sold to Terex), Lovat, Blount’s forestry division, and Traxson (later known as Traxcavator).  This allowed CAT to expand their product line to meet the needs of other industries such as mining and forestry.

CAT manufactures a surprisingly wide range of equipment.

Caterpillar manufactures a wide range of equipment. Included in their product line up are compact machines such as skid steer loaders, multi-terrain loaders, and compact excavators.  They also manufacture forklifts, backhoes, compactors, wheel loaders, crawler loaders, crawler tractors, loader backhoes, telehanders, skidders, and much, much more. Caterpillar equipment, and the brands that belong to them, can be found primarily in mining, construction, road maintenance, forestry, and military applications.

Caterpillar Products

Caterpillar has a long and fascinating history. And whether its a Caterpillar excavator or a CAT skid steer loader, the Caterpillar brand of machine has a reputation for power and excellence. And Caterpillar replacement parts, including hydraulic motors, are not too difficult to locate, even for equipment that is no longer manufactured.  However, CAT eqiupment has an excellent track record for reliability!

More on Caterpillar

Here are some additional posts related to Caterpillar that you may be interested in …


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