For 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2015 sales and revenues of $47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments - Construction Industries, Resource Industries and Energy & Transportation - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment.
In 1883, Benjamin Holt produced his first horse-drawn "Link-Belt Combined Harvester". It allowed a farmer to combine cutting and threshing grain into a single mechanical operation, enabling farmers to cut more wheat in one pass, increasing productivity and cutting labor hours nearly in half. One key innovation Holt implemented was using flexible chain belts rather than gears to transmit power from the ground wheels to the working parts of the machine.
In 1886, the company sold its first combine harvester. It had a 14-foot (4.3 m) cutting bar and was pulled by an 18-horse team. The largest combine Stockton Wheel Co. manufactured had a 50-foot-long (15 m) cutting bar. In comparison, large modern combines have a 20-foot (6.1 m) cutting bar. Some of the Holt combines needed as many as 40 horses to operate.
Benjamin Holt builds his first combined harvester in Stockton, California.
Holt converted to steam-power types around the start of the 20th century. Over the next few years, Benjamin Holt designed and manufactured the first successful crawler-type tractor and designed a gasoline engine.
C.L. Best begins his career working for his father Daniel Best at the age of 13 at Best Manufacturing Company. He eventually became manager of Best Manufacturing Company's Stockton, California plant.
The Best Manufacturing Company of San Leandro, California was a manufacturer of farm machinery, known for its steam tractors. The company's initial product was a portable grain cleaner, soon followed by a combine harvester. In 1890, the company purchased the rights to manufacture the Remington steam engine, and produced a range of steam-driven farm machinery, including steam tractors and combine harvesters.
The Holt Manufacturing Company traces its roots to the 1883 founding of Stockton Wheel Service in Stockton, California, United States. Benjamin Holt, who was later credited with patenting the first workable crawler tractor design, incorporated the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1892. It was the first company to successfully manufacture a continuous track tractor. By the start of the 20th century, Holt Manufacturing Company was the leading manufacturer of combine harvesters in the United States and the leading California-based manufacturer of steam traction engines.
Holt Manufacturing Company operated from its base in Stockton, California, until opening a satellite facility in Walla Walla, Washington, to serve the Pacific Northwest.
November 24 marks an important day in the Track-Type Tractor’s history -- and Caterpillar’s for that matter. On this day in 1904 in Stockton, California Benjamin Holt tested his steam-powered track-type tractor prototype for the first time.
Holt was not satisfied with the performance of his company’s steam traction engine tractors. Regions of California were difficult to prepare for crops because both horses and steam traction engine tractors got stuck in the soggy peat soil. Holt’s first inclination was to experiment with wider wheels. Some of his machines had wheels that were each 18 feet wide; the engine itself was already 10 feet wide. For that reason, roads and gates to fields needed to be 46 feet wide. These experiments were inefficient, costly and added to the weight of the machine without improving its performance.
After years of research, Holt instructed his mechanics to remove the rear wheels from the 40-horsepower Holt Junior Steam Traction Engine #77 and replace them with a pair of tracks he had designed. These tracks were nine feet long and 24 inches wide. The track shoes consisted of three-by-four-inch wooden slats bolted to an endless chain. The weight of the machine moved on rollers anchored to a supplementary frame.
On Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1904, this tracked machine was given its first field test and it performed very well. Today, #77 is recognized as the prototype of the world’s first commercially successful track-type tractor.
Aware of the limitations of steam power, in early October 1906, the Holts organized the Aurora Engine Company in Stockton, California, and commenced experimenting with gasoline-fired internal combustion engines - a relatively new arrival on the scene and used to power the new-fangled "horseless carriage" or "automobile". In 1908, production of gasoline-powered "Caterpillar" tractors began, with four produced in that year. The gasoline engines had about 40 horsepower and were styled a "Holt Model 40 Caterpillar." A year later, the same tractor, with a slightly larger engine, was manufactured and labeled the "Holt Model 45 Caterpillar.
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. The new Peoria, Illinois, location offered Holt everything he needed in a manufacturing center, and despite the need to pour capital into retooling the plant, it proved so profitable that by 1911 the factory employed 625 people. At that time Holt Manufacturing began exporting its tractors to Argentina, Mexico, and Canada.
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.
C.L. Best produces the Best 30 Track-Type Tractor.
Between 1907 and 1918, Best and Holt had spent about US$1.5 million in legal fees fighting each other in a number of contractual, trademark and patent infringement lawsuits. Harry H. Fair of the bond brokerage house of Pierce, Fair & Company of San Francisco had helped to finance C. L. Best's debt and Holt shareholders approached him about their company's financial difficulty. Fair recommended that the two companies should merge. In April and May 1925, the financially stronger C. L. Best merged with the market leader Holt Caterpillar to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co.
The new company was headquartered in San Leandro until 1930, when under the terms of the merger it was moved to Peoria. Baxter had been removed as CEO earlier in 1925, and Clarence Leo Best assumed the title of CEO, and remained in that role until October 1951.
The Caterpillar company consolidated its product lines, offering only five track-type tractors: the 2 Ton, 5 Ton, and 10 Ton from the Holt Manufacturing Company's old product line and the Caterpillar 30 and Caterpillar 60 from the C. L. Best Tractor Co.'s former product line.
Of greater importance to the company was the new Twenty model from 1927. The Twenty was Caterpillar's first tractor design that was not based on a previous Best or Holt model. It was a pure Caterpillar tractor through and through.
By the time Caterpillar Tractor was formed in 1925, Russell had become one of the leading grader manufacturers, and because many Russell graders were using Cat tractors for their motive power, it was a natural for the two companies to unite on a corporate basis. So, in 1928, Caterpillar purchased Russell Grader Manufacturing and was then able to offer graders to complement its crawler-tractor line. This was Caterpillar's first venture into a new product line since the company's establishment three years earlier.
In 1931, the first true rubber-tyred motor grader, the “Auto patrol”, was launched. Unlike previous designs, this was a dedicated grading machine – not a grader frame fitted to a tractor. Renamed the “No. 9 Auto Patrol” later that year, it became the prototype for all earth-moving motor graders.
Caterpillar begins producing its first diesel tractor model - the Caterpillar Diesel Sixty Tractor. Between 1919 and 1931, 18,948 C. L. Best 60 Tracklayer/Caterpillar Sixty tractors were manufactured. The Caterpillar Sixty was famous for its overhanging radiator, individually mounted cylinders, lever controls, and open clutch. It was to rival the Holt 10 Ton model.
Initially, the Sixty was used to pull farm equipment and road scrapers. Later, cable lift blades were rigged up, so that the crawlers could be used as a bulldozer.
Caterpillar track-type tractors help complete the construction of the Hoover Dam
Caterpillar machines played a significant role in the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge
Caterpillar adopted the diesel engine to replace gasoline engines. During World War II, Caterpillar products found fame with the Seabees, Construction Battalions of the United States Navy, who built airfields and other facilities in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Caterpillar ranked 44th among United States corporations in the value of wartime military production contracts.
Caterpillar machines help start the construction of more than 70,000 miles of highways throughout the United States.
In 1945, Caterpillar introduces the first company-designed-and-built bulldozer straight blades operated by cable control units. Its angle blades were introduced in the following year.
Beginning in 1946, the company introduced the No. 70 and No. 80. They designed these models specifically to be coupled with Caterpillar’s D7 and D8 tractors. The No. 40 was one of the first pull scrapers to be operated by hydraulics rather than cables. By 1955, Caterpillar’s first series of scrapers were being replaced by a line known as the 400-series.
Cat® machines have been in India for 60 years. Caterpillar has been a part of important projects in the infrastructure development of the nation like the Hirakud and Bhakra Dams (40's-60's).
Caterpillar established its first major facility outside the United States more than 60 years ago in the UK. Today, the company employs more than 10,000 people in 20 major facilities.
Caterpillar introduces its first self-propelled wheel tractor-scraper.
In 1952, basketball appeared in only its third Olympics as a team sport and Helsinki was also the final Olympics not to be televised. In Helsinki, the U.S. basketball team was the only undefeated team after the first six games. The U.S. played Argentina in the first game of the final round, winning 85-76. The U.S. was matched in the finals against the Russian team. This was a monumental occasion as it was at the height of the Cold War and was also the first Olympics that Russia fielded a basketball team. The U.S. defeated the Russians 36-25, winning the gold medal.
For decades the largest earth moving bulldozer around was the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer. A massive amount of metal that could move massive amounts of earth or materials.
The D9 dozer became what one thought of when thinking of huge pieces of heavy equipment and for good reason.
In 1954 Caterpillar introduced 10 models for testing that were to become the new D9 machine, they were modeled D9X (x for experimental).
The following year the 286 hp D9 dozer came on the market powered by Cat's D353 engine which stayed in the machine until 1980 when Cat upgraded the D9 to the D9L, although in 1956 the engine was remanufactured to produce 320 hp.
Operation Deep Freeze was the codename for a series of U.S. missions to Antarctica beginning in 1955. The initial reason behind the mission was a scientific collaboration between 40 nations to carry out studies of the earth’s environment. The Deep Freeze missions set up the American research stations in Antarctica and kept the stations supplied. Caterpillar provided track-type tractors and diesel electric sets specially built to survive constant temperatures of 65 degrees below zero for use 24 hours a day. In fact, Cat® track-type tractors were the first tractors in Antarctica.
Caterpillar engineers specifically developed Low-Ground-Pressure (LGP) tractors for use on the ice. These machines constructed roads and bases, hauled supplies, maintained airstrips and trails, dozed snow and carried snow to melting units in order to produce drinking water. In 1958, they helped the U.S. Navy complete the first permanent airstrip on Antarctica. Electric sets provided all of the power for heat and lights, communication systems, kitchens, radar and ground control approach systems and the snow melting system for drinking water.
More than 500 Caterpillar machines help start the construction of the Mangla Dam in Pakistan.
Caterpillar offers customers an impressive array of industry leading off-highway trucks – and it all started with the Cat®769 Off-Highway Truck, introduced 50 years ago.
After seven years of research and development, Caterpillar announced production of the first 769 Off-Highway Truck on December 31, 1962. The 769 made its first public appearance at the Construction Equipment Exposition and Road Show in the Chicago Amphitheater on February 23, 1963. Customers saw firsthand Caterpillar’s answer to some of their biggest concerns – it performed better, ran faster, hauled more, operated more safely and lasted longer than any truck in the marketplace. It was 100 percent designed by one company, and it was supported by a world-class distribution system.
Power Parades are a very important part of Caterpillar’s past,” said Kathryn Spitznagle, Caterpillar Visitors Center manager. “They helped employees feel a real connection with the company and the great machines and engines the company makes.
The sight of an entire fleet of Track Type Tractors moving in a choreographed fashion was something to marvel. That dramatic moment when the tractors roared over the hill marked the beginning of every Power Parade – a demonstration of Caterpillar’s product line put on for employees and their families.
Caterpillar has held five Power Parades – 1964, 1973, 1978, 1988 and 2000. Each Power Parade contained up to 28 shows over a two-week period and more than 100,000 people attended.
The Administration Building, which opened on November 9, 1967, was Caterpillar’s first global headquarters. About 1,500 employees worked in the building in 1967. Approximately 2,200 office workers occupy the building today.
Caterpillar engines supply power for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Caterpillar sales outside of the U.S. are greater than those inside the U.S. for the first time. The dominance continued into the 1970's, when 80 percent of the equipment used worldwide to build dams, dig foundations and lay highways was made in the United States. Such great American industrial names as J.I. Case, Allis-Chalmers, International Harvester and General Motors teamed up with Caterpillar, the leader, to crowd virtually everyone else out of the market.
Caterpillar began design and development of its hydraulic excavator in the 1960s and introduced the Cat® 225 into full production in 1972. The 235 series followed a year later, and in 1974 the much larger 245 was introduced. Demand for a smaller version of the hydraulic excavator led to the Cat® 215 in 1976. The Cat® 225 remained the standard in the 25-ton class and was kept in production for twenty years.
The decision to start the remanufacturing (reman) of diesel engines was taken by Caterpillar in the early 1970s, in response to the request from a major new customer (Ford Motor Co.) which selected Caterpillar as OEM-supplier of diesel engines (the 1100 series) for a new delivery van. At this time, the remanufacturing of components by OEMs was standard in the U.S. car and truck business, but not in Caterpillar's core business of heavy earth moving equipment, where independent local remanufacturers were active.
The truck diesel engine business was dominated by the Cummins Diesel Company, which had own remanufacturing plants and even its own trademark for remanufactured engines. In order to compete in the field for truck engines, Caterpillar had to adapt its management strategy accordingly. It started remanufacturing in a manufacturing plant in Bettendorf, Iowa, in 1972, near its Peoria headquarters. The plant was to remanufacture the 1100 series engines as part of its product support programme.
The Caterpillar D10 was the result of a need for a tractor larger than the Caterpillar D9. At this time, competitors were building bulldozers that were more powerful than the D9. Allis Chalmers introduced at Conexpo 69 in Chicago a 524 hp (391 kW) HD-41 which was the largest crawler in the world. In 1974 after AC and Fiat merged their construction equipment divisions the 524 hp 41-B was introduced. For example, the Fiat-Allis 41-B track-type tractor had 524 hp (391 kW) at the time, while the D9H had 410 hp (310 kW). In 1976 Japanese company Komatsu came out with an even larger bulldozer called the D455A at 620 hp (460 kW) and 167,000 lb (76,000 kg).
The first pilot D10 was D10X1 and was shown in July 1973 at a big Caterpillar corporate meeting. Other prototypes would follow in 1975 and 1977. In March 1977, prototypes P-1 through P-10 would appear and be subsequently dispatched to different job sites. The D10 was introduced at a dealer meeting by Caterpillar in the fall of 1977. Between 1978 and 1986 nearly 1,000 D10s were made at Caterpillar's East Peoria plant. The D10 had sales of their Fiat-Allis/Komatsu competitive sized bulldozers combined. With the introduction of the N-Series tractors in 1986-87 their model numbers were pushed up. For example, the D9N replaced the D8L, the D10N replaced the D9L and the D11N replaced the D10.
The D10 was so big that it could do about 50 percent more production that the then D9H.
Caterpillar discontinues the use of its “Hi-Way Yellow” paint color and implements a new color – “Caterpillar Yellow.”
Caterpillar Tractor Co. (now Caterpillar Inc.) purchased the assets of Solar Turbines from International Harvester Company on May 31, 1981. Solar Turbines Incorporated is a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., which is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.
Paraguay and Argentina Caterpillar machines help construct the Yacyreta Dam.
It all started with a small team and grew into something big – the Cat® 416 Backhoe Loader. In November 1985, Caterpillar introduced its new backhoe loader product line. The Cat 416 was the result of five years of intensive market and user studies. Thousands of hours of competitive product evaluations and close to 2,000 customer interviews were conducted to determine what people needed, but were missing, in existing backhoe loaders.
In 1982, the project grew and employees from the U.S. and United Kingdom in Engineering, Manufacturing, Purchasing, Materials and Quality joined the team. By mid-1983, the first prototypes were running. The team approach brought the new product to fruition in a much shorter time than usual.
While the development of the 416 was swift and cost efficient, the emphasis remained squarely on quality and improved technology. Computer-aided design and finite element analysis played an important role in the creation of the backhoe loader.
In 1985, the line was made reality in less than three and a half years after the first designs were put on paper. The machines rolled off the assembly line and into the hands of eager groups of customers.
By 1986, additional models, including versions specially designed for Europe, were introduced.
The D11N was introduced in February 1986 to replace the D10. The D11N had some major improvements over the D10, it includes a bigger track and blade, and a longer track by 21 inches (0.53 m). The U blade was just under 21 feet (6.4 m) long and 7 feet (2.1 m) high. This increased the blade capacity to 45 cu yd (34 m3). The D11N's weight was 204,517 pounds (92,767 kg). It was powered by a 770 horsepower (570 kW), 2,105 cu in (34.49 L) 3508 V-8 Diesel engine. The D11N's improvements made it over 10 percent more productive than the D10. In 1987 a hydraulically powered impact ripper was added to the D11N which raised the weight up to 225,950 lb (102,490 kg). This would become known as the D11N Impact Ripper.
Around 300 Caterpillar machines help construct the Three Gorges Dam in China
Caterpillar machines work on the Kansai International Airport, Osaka, Japan.
A supplier to Caterpillar Inc. since the 1970s, Perkins was bought by Caterpillar in 1998 for US$1.325 billion, creating what they claimed was the world's largest diesel engine manufacturer. With an ever-expanding global footprint Perkins now has manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, China, India and a joint venture with Ishikawajima-Shibaura-Machinery company in Japan
In 1997, Caterpillar decided to begin development of a 360 short tons (327 t) payload capacity haul truck to meet the demand from large-scale mine operators wanting to reduce operating costs at mines using 80 to 90 short tons (73 to 82 t) per pass shovels. Engineers at Caterpillar's Mining & Construction Equipment Division in Decatur, Illinois, created a new design for the 797 using computer-aided design technology. This was the first time CAD tools had been used extensively to design a Caterpillar truck.
Caterpillar first unveiled a completed 797 on September 29, 1998, at its assembly plant in Decatur, Illinois.
More than 450 Caterpillar machines start the construction of the Ataturk Dam in Turkey.
ACERT Technology is another example of why Caterpillar continues to be the North American leader in on-highway engines. Truck engines with ACERT Technology log more than 70 million miles each day. In fact, Caterpillar factories ship more than 16,000 of those engines each month. That on-highway record, coupled with Caterpillar's decades of experience in the off-road business, means customers will continue to receive the ultimate in engine performance and machine production.
Caterpillar introduced ACERT Technology to meet EPA '04 regulations for on-highway trucks. Earlier, Caterpillar machine engines with ACERT Technology began field-testing across the United States, Canada and Europe. Now there are more than 350 such machines in the field. Combined, they have worked over 520,000 hours. These machines are working in the multitude of applications typical for Cat equipment—from construction to mines to landfills. And they are working in a wide variety of conditions. One track-type tractor has performed successfully in a road-building project at 8,100 feet altitude.
Continuing work begun in 1967, Cat machines are still working in the Athabasca Oil Sands in Canada.
Caterpillar Inc. recently reached an agreement to acquire Progress Rail Services Inc. for $1 billion. Under the deal’s terms, Caterpillar will pay about $800 million in a combination of cash and Caterpillar stock, and assume $200 million in long-term debt.
Majority owned by JP Morgan Chase & Co. Inc. affiliate One Equity Partners, Progress Rail supplies reconditioned rail-car components, rail and other track materials, and maintenance-of-way equipment, and provides car and locomotive repair, car dismantling and rail welding services. The company — which conducted an initial public offering earlier this year — operates more than 90 facilities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Thirty-four Cat machines help complete the Saemangeum Seawall - the world’s longest earthen seawall in South Korea.
The Cat® D7E features a first-of-its-kind electric drive system that boosts productivity and efficiency while lowering operating costs and dramatically reducing fuel consumption. D7E dozers are hard at work in a wide range of applications throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
A key advantage of the D7E has proven to be reduced fuel consumption. Pre-production studies suggested that the D7E would provide 10 to 30 percent better fuel economy over the previous D7 model, depending on the application. According to Cat Product Link™ data, customers using the D7E have already saved more than 1.4 million gallons (5.3 million liters) of diesel fuel as compared to the previous D7R model.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) received final regulatory approval and completed the purchase of the remaining shares of Shandong SEM Machinery (SEM), a leading wheel loader manufacturer in China in 2008.
Caterpillar purchased a minority stake in SEM in 2005 as part of its commitment to support its growing customer base in the Chinese construction equipment industry.
Progress Rail Services—a wholly-owned subsidiary of Caterpillar - signed a definitive agreement to purchase Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) for $820 million in cash from Berkshire Partners LLC and Greenbriar Equity Group LLC. Upon completion of the transaction, EMD became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Progress Rail.
“This acquisition represents the latest step in our strategic plan to aggressively grow our presence in the global rail industry,” said Caterpillar. Starting with the 2006 acquisition of Progress Rail and including today’s announcement, Caterpillar has invested about $2 billion into its rail and transit businesses.
On November 15, 2010, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) and Bucyrus International, Inc. (Nasdaq: BUCY) announced that they have entered into an agreement under which Caterpillar will acquire Bucyrus International in a transaction valued at approximately $8.6 billion (including net debt). The acquisition is based on Caterpillar's key strategic imperative to expand its leadership in the mining equipment industry, and positions Caterpillar to capitalize on the robust long-term outlook for commodities driven by the trend of rapid growth in emerging markets which are improving infrastructure, rapidly developing urban areas and industrializing their economies.
Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) agreed to buy MWM Holding GmbH, the German maker of gas and diesel engines, from British private equity firm 3i Group Plc (III.L) for about 580 million euros ($810 million) in cash.
Caterpillar's rich offer pre-empted a formal auction that was likely to have attracted a string of big strategic buyers, two people familiar with the matter said.
The agreement hands Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of earth-moving equipment but also a big maker of reciprocating diesel engines, gas turbines and electric generator sets, a company it has long coveted, having been outbid by 3i three years ago, one of the people added.
The company opened a nearly 50,000-square-foot visitors center investing more than $52 million dollars in the center and the Peoria Riverfront Museum nearby.
This isn't your average museum! Your visit begins with a virtual ride in the bed of a massive two-and-a-half story Cat 797F Mining Truck. Learn how Caterpillar's story began as two companies came together to build Caterpillar on the foundation of innovation and customer focus. Unleash your inner engineer as you design your very own Cat machine. Test your skills on a simulator to see first-hand what it's like to operate equipment the way our operators do, and no visit is complete without climbing in a motor grader, track-type tractor, or excavator on the product floor.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) signed a definitive agreement to acquire Johan Walter Berg AB, including its core brand of Berg Propulsion, a leading manufacturer of mechanically and electrically driven propulsion systems and marine controls for ships. With the acquisition, Caterpillar will transition from selling only engines and generators to providing complete marine propulsion package systems.
Headquartered in Öckerö Islands, Sweden, Berg has designed and manufactured heavy-duty marine thrusters and controllable pitch propellers since 1929. Its proprietary systems are employed in maritime applications throughout the world that require precise maneuvering and positioning.
On February 9, 2015, Caterpillar Inc. approved amendments to its Code of Conduct (the "Code"). The Code applies to the daily activities of employees of Caterpillar Inc., its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide and members of its Board of Directors. Caterpillar Inc. amended the Code to elevate Sustainability as a core Value, clarify, update or enhance certain provisions, and improve readability for employees.
Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) announced on Feb. 10 2016, that it has selected Rimco, a privately owned Puerto Rico-based company, to be the Cat dealer for Cuba. Currently, Rimco serves as the Cat dealer for Puerto Rico and the Eastern Caribbean. Upon easing of trade restrictions, customers in Cuba will be able to purchase Cat products through Rimco in accordance with U.S. and Cuba regulations.
The company’s Board of Directors elected Jim Umpleby, a Caterpillar Group President with responsibility for Energy & Transportation, to succeed Oberhelman as CEO. Umpleby, a 35-year veteran of the company, joined the Caterpillar Board of Directors and became CEO effective January 1, 2017. He joined Solar Turbines Incorporated in San Diego, California, in 1980. Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial gas turbine systems. Early in his career, he held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in engineering, manufacturing, sales, marketing and customer services.
Umpleby lived in Asia from 1984 to 1990, with assignments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Caterpillar Board of Directors elected Umpleby a Caterpillar Vice President and President of Solar Turbines in 2010. He was named Group President and a member of Caterpillar’s Executive Office, effective January 2013.
“For more than 91 years, Caterpillar equipment has been renowned for its quality, durability, innovation and value,” Umpleby said. “I have been privileged to work with Caterpillar employees and dealers in supporting our customers as they develop the world’s infrastructure and improve standards of living and quality of life. I look forward to leading our dedicated team as we build upon the accomplishments of those that have come before us.”
In 1910, C. L. Best left Holt Manufacturing Company and formed his own company, C. L. Best Gas Traction Company, to continue his father's work.
Originally operating out of a plant in Elmhurst, California, the C. L. Best Traction Company became large enough to purchase Daniel Best's former San Leandro, California plant in mid-1916. In 1920, the C. L. Best Traction Company was restructured and renamed the C. L. Best Tractor Company.
Holt was credited with producing the first practical continuous tracks for use with tractors and he registered "Caterpillar" as a trademark in 1910. Since Holt had trademarked Caterpillar, Best named his tractors Tracklayers.
C.L. Best produces his first track-type tractor.
Holt got heavily involved in road construction with the rise of the automobile in the early 20th century. The Holt 75 crawler with pull blade-graders was a regular workhorse in the nations "Good Roads" program. By 1915, Holt had put 2000 crawlers into service in more than 20 countries around the world.
Holt's track-type tractors played a support role in World War I. Even before the U.S. formally entered WWI, Holt had shipped 1,200 tractors to England, France and Russia for agricultural purposes.
During World War I, almost all of its production capacity was dedicated to military needs. Its tractors were widely used by the Allies in place of horses to haul heavy artillery and tow supply trains. Holt tractors also played a part, to varying degrees, in the development of military tanks in Great Britain, France, and Germany. Holt's equipment was credited with helping the Allies to win the war, and its tractor was regarded by Colonel Ernest Dunlop Swinton as "one of the most important military vehicles of all time."
The Caterpillar Sixty was originally introduced for sale beginning in 1919 as the C. L. Best 60 Tracklayer, manufactured by the C. L. Best Tractor Company. The Best 60 was the most successful tractor in the Best model line. Between 1919 and 1931, 18,948 C. L. Best 60 Tracklayer/Caterpillar Sixty tractors were manufactured.
Before the merger, Best tractors were painted black with red and gold highlighting. After the merger, Caterpillar adopted Holt's colour of grey with red highlighting for the entire tractor range. These colour were not particularly striking but the clients had gotten used to it. Just after the Great Depression, when the tractor sales plummeted, someone from the Marketing department suggested painting the tractors in bright colours. After all they were trying to come out of the Depression. A bright colour had advantages too. After forming a committee to pick a colour, an offical memo was sent out declaring that from beginning 7 December 1931, all Caterpillar products shipped would be painted in Hi-Way yellow with trademarks and trimmings in black.
Several Caterpillar machines help widen sections of the Panama Canal.