Holt's invention was inspired by the plight of California farmers who found wheels ineffective in preventing heavy equipment from sinking into the soft, muddy soil. Holt designed a track-laying system to disperse weight and provide better traction, producing in 1904 the prototype of the first practical track-type tractor. The photographer who documented one of its first successful tests dubbed the machine the "caterpillar," inspiring the company name and launching the Caterpillar brand that has developed a global reputation for quality and rugged durability.
"Holt invented the tracks, but he also set the standard for innovation and quality that all of Team Caterpillar aspires to in 2006 and beyond," said Robert T. Williams, Caterpillar vice president with responsibility for the company's flagship Track-Type Tractors Division. In honor of the continuing inventive spirit at Caterpillar, the company is beginning an internal inventor award program, recognizing engineers who acquire 15 or more patents in the course of their Caterpillar careers. Caterpillar has more than 3,800 inventors who have contributed to more than 6,800 granted U.S. patents for Caterpillar, with nearly 1,200 U.S. patents alone granted within the last five years.
The Holt Manufacturing Company merged with competitor C. L. Best Tractor Co. in 1925, forming the Caterpillar Tractor Co., predecessor to modern-day Caterpillar Inc. Both founding families set in place the tradition of innovation that continues today. Benjamin Holt achieved 47 patents in his name; his nephew Pliny Holt had 38 patents. Fellow Caterpillar Inc. founders Daniel Best had 42 patents and his son C. L. Best, the first chairman of Caterpillar, had 27 patents. Some of C. L. Best's patents reflect inventions he refined during his tenure as chairman as he continued to innovate while leading the successful company.
Used extensively by the U.S., French, and British armies in World War I and World War II, the track-type tractor was used to haul men and supplies across the battlefield. From 1914 to 1918, 10,000 Caterpillar tractors were made by The Holt Manufacturing Company and other licensed manufacturers for use in the war. It was one of the inspirations for the design of the British tank, which profoundly altered ground warfare tactics. At the end of World War II, Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey, Commander, Third Fleet, touted, "The four machines that won the war in the Pacific were the submarine, radar, the airplane and the tractor-bulldozer."
For more than 80 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been building the world's infrastructure and, in partnership with its worldwide dealer network, is driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. With 2005 sales and revenues of $36.33 billion, Caterpillar is a technology leader and the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. More information is available at http://www.cat.com .
Certain statements in this release relate to future events and expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements involving known and unknown factors that may cause actual results of Caterpillar Inc. to be different from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. In this context, words such as "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "plans," "believes," "seeks," "will," or other similar words and phrases often identify forward-looking statements made on behalf of Caterpillar. It is important to note that actual results of the company may differ materially from those described or implied in such forward looking statements based on a number of factors and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, changes in economic conditions, currency exchange rates or political stability; market acceptance of the company's products and services; significant changes in the competitive environment; changes in law, regulations and tax rates; and other general economic, business and financing conditions and factors described in more detail in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the third quarter ended September 30, 2005. We do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements.
CONTACT: Jim Dugan, Corporate Public Affairs of Caterpillar,
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Web site: http://www.cat.com/