Holt set about a way to aid farmers whose heavy equipment sank
in soft, muddy soil. Finding wheels ineffective, Holt designed
a track-laying system to disperse the weight. In 1904, Holt successfully
tested the first practical track-type tractor known as the "Caterpillar"
and commercialized its use.
made numerous innovations and by 1908 was able to replace steam
engines and introduce gasoline-powered tractors, which offered
greater efficiency in operation. Originally developed to solve
local agricultural problems, the Caterpillar track-type tractor
soon demonstrated its potential not only in the agricultural environment,
but also in road building, earthmoving, logging, and military
extensively by the U.S., French, and British armies in World War
I, the track-type tractor hauled men and supplies across the battlefield.
From 1914 to 1918, 10,000 Caterpillar tractors were made by Holt's
company and other licensed manufacturers for use in the war. Holt's
track-type tractor contributed to the design of the British tank,
which profoundly altered ground warfare tactics.
Manufacturing merged with its competitor C.L. Best Tractor Co.
in 1925, forming the Caterpillar Tractor Co., predecessor to modern-day
Caterpillar Inc. Born in Concord, New Hampshire, Holt ushered
in the modern era of mechanized farming.
Vinton G. Cerf
Robert E. Kahn
Robert W. Gore
Richard M. Hoe
John H. Thomas