1918 Holt 75 Caterpillar

Benjamin Holt (1849-1920), Stockton, CA, successfully tested his track-laying system on Nov. 24, 1904. The tracks were developed to distribute the weight of heavy farm equipment working in soft soil conditions. Charles Clements, a photographer, was standing beside Benjamin Holt during one of the test runs. Charles commented “It crawls just like a caterpillar.” Holt replied “Caterpillar it is. That’s the name for it.” 

These first track-laying systems were on steam traction engines. In 1906, Benjamin Holt  introduced gasoline powered track-type tractors, replacing steam engines by 1908 and continued to develop the caterpillar track. Holt registered “Caterpillar” as the company’s trademark in 1910. T

The caterpillar track systems were used in machines for agriculture, road building, logging, and extensively in military operations. In April 1918, the same year this machine was made, Col. Ernest Swinton of the British Royal Engineers visited Benjamin Holt. Col. Swinton, known as the father of the tank, wanted to thank Holt for the caterpillar that convinced him to develop the tank.