Benjamin Holt’s mechanical creativity first transformed the agriculture business and then helped drive the unprecedented growth of the U.S. infrastructure, industrialization and urbanization in the 20th century.
As one historian noted, “Prior to Benjamin Holt, farming and land development were limited to man and horse.”
Holt’s achievements included the introduction of the “Link Belt Combine Harvester” in 1886 and his first steam-powered wheel tractor in 1890, and culminated in 1904 with the machine that changed history, the first successful track-type tractor which he named the “Caterpillar®.”
The impact of Benjamin Holt’s Caterpillar tractor went far beyond agriculture. In World War I, it fought the mud of the Western front, towing equipment for the Allied military forces and was the inspiration for the development of the British tank, which profoundly altered ground warfare tactics.
Benjamin Holt passed away in 1920. His legacy remains.