Established in 1904, this Fortune 100 company, now based in Peoria, Illinois, is the leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. It is a global 21st- century brand that began as the simple tale of two California farmers. Both were inventors, entrepreneurs and early on, rather serious competitors.
Daniel Best was first to patent a portable grain cleaner in 1871. He purchased rights to a steamtraction engine (the “Rough and Ready”) and added it to his combine harvester. Meanwhile, Benjamin Holt was developing an engine of his own, (“Old Betsy”), which replaced belt drives with chains and sprockets. Inspired by a Lombard Log Hauler, Holt put the first workable tracked machine into production. His steam crawler became the inspiration for all mass-produced, tracked machines that would lead the technological revolution of its day. Holt garnered notoriety for introducing one of the most important mechanical achievements of the last century. He alsoattracted his competitor Best, who purchased his business, and together, these two men becamethe founding fathers of the Caterpillar corporation we know today.