Caterpillar Inc. History

100 Northeast Adams Street
Peoria, Illinois 61629-1425

Telephone: (309) 675-1000
Fax: (309) 675-1182

Public Company
Incorporated: 1925 as Caterpillar Tractor Company
Employees: 69,169
Sales: $22.76 billion (2003)
Stock Exchanges: New York Chicago Pacific London Paris Euronext Brussels Frankfurt Swiss
Ticker Symbol: CAT
NAIC: 326220 Rubber and Plastics Hoses and Belting Manufacturing; 333120 Construction Machinery Manufacturing; 333131 Mining Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing; 333611 Turbine and Turbine Generator Set Units Manufacturing; 333618 Other Engine Equipment Manufacturing; 333924 Industrial Truck, Tractor, Trailer, and Stacker Machinery Manufacturing; 522220 Sales Financing

Company Perspectives:

Mission: Caterpillar will be the leader in providing the best value in machines, engines and support services for customers dedicated to building the world's infrastructure and developing and transporting its resources. We provide the best value to customers.

Key Dates:

Brothers Charles Henry Holt and Benjamin Holt found the Stockton Wheel Company in Stockton, California.
Daniel Best produces his first combine.
Stockton Wheel produces its first combine, the Link Belt Combined Harvester.
Stockton Wheel is incorporated as Holt Manufacturing Company.
Holt produces the first commercially successful caterpillar-style tractor, or crawler, which is soon sold under the Caterpillar brand.
Holt Manufacturing produces its first gas-powered crawlers; Daniel Best sells his company to Holt.
Holt establishes an eastern manufacturing operation by purchasing a plant in Peoria, Illinois.
Best's son, C.L. Best, forms his own tractor manufacturing company, C.L. Best Gas Tractor Company.
Holt Manufacturing and C.L. Best Gas Tractor merge to form Caterpillar Tractor Company.

Early 1930s:Remaining production in California is shifted to Peoria, where the company's headquarters are also reestablished.
Caterpillar's Diesel Sixty tractor helps make the diesel the staple engine for heavy-duty vehicles.
Company records its first full-year loss, $1.6 million.
Caterpillar Tractor Company Ltd. was established in Great Britain as the first overseas subsidiary.
Caterpillar and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. form a joint venture to produce Caterpillar-designed vehicles in Japan.
Company suffers first loss since the Great Depression.
A massive factory-modernization program is launched that will eventually cost $1.8 billion and be completed in 1993.
Company is renamed Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar reorganizes along product lines and geographic areas.
A lengthy labor dispute begins with a strike at two Caterpillar plants.
Record-long, 17-month strike begins.
LucasVarity PLC's Perkins Engines unit is acquired for $1.3 billion; prolonged labor dispute ends with the signing of a new six-year contract.
Caterpillar exits from the agricultural tractor business.

Company History:

Further Reading:

  • Arndt, Michael, "This Cat Isn't So Nimble: Can Caterpillar's New CEO Reverse Sliding Sales and Profits?," Business Week, February 21, 2000, p. 148G.
  • Benson, Tracy E., "Caterpillar Wakes Up," Industry Week, May 20, 1991, pp. 33+.
  • Bremner, Brian, "Can Caterpillar Inch Its Way Back into Heftier Profits?," Business Week, September 25, 1989, pp. 75+.
  • Byrne, Harlan S., "Track of the Cat: Caterpillar Is Bulldozing Its Way to Higher Profits," Barron's, April 6, 1987, pp. 13+.
  • "Caterpillar: Sticking to Basics to Stay Competitive," Business Week, May 4, 1981, pp. 74+.
  • The Caterpillar Story, Peoria, Ill.: Caterpillar Inc., 1990, 80 p.
  • Century of Change: Caterpillar Special World Historical Edition, Peoria, Ill.: Caterpillar Inc., 1984.
  • Deveny, Kathleen, "For Caterpillar, the Metamorphosis Isn't Over," Business Week, August 31, 1987, pp. 72+.
  • Dubashi, Jagannath, "Cat-apult: The Cheap Dollar Helped, but Caterpillar's Turnaround Was Engineered in Peoria," Financial World, November 23, 1993, p. 34.
  • Edgar, George P., "Caterpillar Tractor," Barron's, May 18, 1953, pp. 19+.
  • Elstrom, J.W., "Cat, Union Crawl Toward Settlement: Weary Workers, Pressed Managers Tire of the Fight," Crain's Chicago Business, January 16, 1995.
  • Elstrom, Peter, "This Cat Keeps on Purring," Business Week, January 20, 1997, p. 80.
  • Franklin, Stephen, "Questions Linger As Vote Nears on Caterpillar Pact: Was Strike Worth It? Will Anger Fade?," Chicago Tribune, November 27, 1995.
  • Gibson, Paul, and Barbara Rudolph, "Playing Peoria--to Perfection," Forbes, May 11, 1981, pp. 60+.
  • "The Going May Get Tough for Caterpillar," Fortune, May 1972, p. 161.
  • Gordon, Paul, "Diversification Helping Caterpillar Weather Storm," Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star, September 28, 2002, p. E6.
  • ------, "Profiling Highs and Lows of Caterpillar Chairmen," Peoria (Ill.) Journal Star, July 23, 2000, p. A18.
  • Haycraft, William R., Yellow Steel: The Story of the Earthmoving Equipment Industry, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000, 465 p.
  • Henkoff, Ronald, "This Cat Is Acting Like a Tiger," Fortune, December 19, 1988, pp. 69+.
  • Hutchins, Dexter, "Caterpillar Triple Whammy," Fortune, October 27, 1986, pp. 91+.
  • Kelly, Kevin, "Cat Is Purring, but They're Hissing on the Floor," Business Week, May 16, 1994, p. 33.
  • McConville, Daniel J., "Cat's Back: After Four Tough Years on the Road," Barron's, April 1, 1985, pp. 36+.
  • Naumann, William L., The Story of Caterpillar Tractor Co., New York: Newcomen Society in North America, 1977, 23 p.
  • Payne, Walter A., ed., Benjamin Holt: The Story of Caterpillar Tractor, Stockton, Calif.: University of the Pacific, 1982, 102 p.
  • "A Shaken Caterpillar Retools to Take on a More Competitive World," Business Week, November 5, 1984, pp. 91+.
  • Slutsker, Gary, "What's Good for Caterpillar ...," Forbes, December 7, 1992, p. 108.
  • Upbin, Bruce, "Sharpening the Claws," Forbes, July 26, 1999, pp. 102-05.
  • Ward, Sandra, "The Cat Comes Back," Barron's, February 25, 2002, pp. 21-22, 24.
  • Weimer, De'Ann, "A New Cat on the Hot Seat," Business Week, March 9, 1998, pp. 56, 61.
  • Wik, Reynold M., Benjamin Holt and Caterpillar: Tracks and Combines, St. Joseph, Mich.: American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 1984, 129 p.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol.63. St. James Press, 2004.