From horse to steam to diesel and beyond: Cat is (almost) 100!

In 2020, Caterpillar turned 95.  Time has really flown by since the Holt Manufacturing Company and C.L. Best Tractor Co. merged to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co.!

Let’s take a look at how the company grew from a farming-focused company of two to one of the most recognizable names in heavy duty equipment.

Growing with our Customers

The driving force of that change has been the changing needs of its customers.

In the early days, agriculture was king, particularly with the advent of steam powered engines and the way they revolutionized farming. Later, Caterpillar played a key role in some pretty significant infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. They even helped put a man on the moon, providing generators for the Apollo 11 space mission.

They’ve grown a lot since then. Their operations have gone global, and that expansion has propelled Caterpillar into socially conscious initiatives like ecosystem management and generating power for hospitals all over the world. They’ve also made aftermarket service a priority, doing our part to create a circular economy that reduces waste and keeps machines operating longer. 


Innovative Products

Early on, one of Caterpillar’s founders, Benjamin Holt, changed heavy machinery forever when he noticed the wheels of tractors sinking in soil. His solution: replacing conventional tractor wheels with innovative tracks to spread machine weight.

That intrepid spirit has seen a business model that revolved around producing durable tractors evolve into a manufacturer of premium machines operating across a variety of industries.

These days Caterpillar is about achieving perfection – that means building innovative on-board tech to make operations more efficient, chasing maximum fuel efficiency, and reducing ownership costs – all while keeping safety at the forefront of their business.


The People 

Tinkerers by heart, Holt and Best, Caterpillar's founders, have over 200 patents to their name. Now, almost  100 years later, their mix of curiosity and go get ‘em attitude informs the company’s culture. 

From the technicians who keep Cat machines running to the marketers who have made the iconic Cat yellow a signature brand worldwide to the engineers who work tirelessly to design the best products on the market, every member of the Cat family does their part.



Holt and Best hand wrote their own ‘parts books’ and provided them for customers who needed to service their own machines. Anyone who needed a part got what was known as the “Holt and Best Treatment” – delivered by one of the era’s other innovations – the airplane.

That service-first approach continues with Caterpillar’s Aftermarket Parts Distribution and Integrated Logistics team and worldwide dealerships network, which uses the latest digital, analytics, and data forecasting tools to predict parts demand and facilitated the company’s legendary 24 hour delivery goal. Customers can even buy their parts online 24/7 on


The Best is Yet to Come

Caterpillar continues to be at the forefront of innovation. Current trends point to initiatives to reduce carbon footprints and the use of autonomous vehicles to make operations safer and more efficient.

For a great example of how autonomous Cat machines are changing the mining industry, check out this blog post.

Like always, whatever the future brings, Caterpillar will be ready to meet it. 

About Company
Toromont Cat

Toromont Cat is your Cat Dealer in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut. We are dedicated to supplying and servicing new and used equipment, delivering a superior customer experience and exceptional product support to the markets we serve.