Joal JOA248 Cat CB-534 Vibratory Compactor without Cab (1:50 Scale)
"One thing is certain: There is great development ahead for the automobile."
- The American Magazine, Things I've Been Thinking About by Henry Ford, February 1936
Caterpillar Inc. is a United States-based corporation headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. Caterpillar (commonly referred to simply as CAT) is, according to their corporate website, "the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines."
Famous for their products featuring caterpillar tracks and a distinctive yellow paint scheme, Caterpillar produces a wide range of engineering vehicles, including the range of Caterpillar bulldozers. Caterpillar is one of the thirty companies whose stock is tracked in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It is a Fortune 500 company, ranked number 50 in 2008, and first in its industry, with more than $30 billion in assets.
The story of Caterpillar Inc. originates in the late 19th century, when Daniel Best and Benjamin Holt experimented with ways to fulfill the promise that steam tractors held for farming. By 1904, these large steam-powered tractors had been plowing California fields for 14 years, and occasionally got bogged down in the soft California soil, especially after heavy rains. Once stuck in the mire, they were difficult to pull free, even with teams of horses, due to their great weight, which typically rested on four metal wheels.
One solution employed to alleviate this problem was to lay a temporary plank road ahead of the steam tractor, but this was time-consuming, expensive, and interfered with earthmoving. Holt had an idea: why not carry the road with the vehicle, instead? On November 24,th 1904, he added wooden block-linked treads around the idlers on Holt No.77, his test tractor. The results were impressive, and the modern tractor was born. Caterpillar became famous for its Caterpillar 30 and its Caterpillar 60 tractors.
In 1909, Benjamin Holt bought the abandoned but relatively new manufacturing plant of a tractor company that had failed in Peoria, Illinois. The location offered Holt everything he needed in a manufacturing center, and despite the hefty amount of capital needed for retooling the plant, the venture proved so profitable that by 1911 the factory employed 625 people. Around that time Holt Manufacturing began exporting its tractors to Argentina, Mexico, and Canada, in addition to their domestic sales. The Holt Manufacturing Company later pioneered the use of the caterpillar track during World War I. Their crawler tractors inspired the first military tanks, which helped end World War I.
Caterpillar formed on April 15th, 1925, with the merger of Holt Manufacturing Company of Stockton, California and the C. L. Best Gas Traction Company of San Leandro, California, forming the Caterpillar Tractor Co. Sales the first year were $13 million. By 1929, sales climbed to $52.8 million, and CAT continued to grow throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s.
After the companies merged, Caterpillar went through many changes, including the adoption of the diesel engine. During World War II, Caterpillar products found fame with the US Navy Construction Battalions or Seabees who built airfields and other facilities in the Pacific Theater of Operations. During the post-war construction boom, the company grew at a rapid pace and launched its first venture outside the US in 1950, marking the beginning of Caterpillar's development into a multinational corporation.
Pictured here is a Cat CB-534 Vibratory Compactor without the cab.