CaterpillarĀ® History

In the mid-1930s, Caterpillar also was moving toward bigger and bigger diesel-powered tractors. The move to larger tractors was initiated in response to the "New Deal" programs, wherein the U.S. Government was spending huge sums of money on public works projects, as a "pump-priming" measure to increase economic activity to get the country out of the Great Depression (1929-1941). At the same time, manufacturers as Robert G. LeTourneau were building larger and larger implements to accomplish the large and heavy work demanded by the public works projects. Those larger implements required larger and more powerful tractors to pull them. The results of this trend were the introductions of the Diesel Seventy, then the Diesel Seventy-Five, then the RD8, and then the D8, each in its turn the largest and most powerful tractor built.

It was during the Great Depression when the focus of Caterpillar's marketing changed. Small farmers and ranchers did not have the financial resources to purchase Caterpillar products; only the government, and large contractors engaged in public works projects, had a need, and could afford, Caterpillar tractors and other equipment. Accordingly, the company gradually abandoned agriculture as its primary focus.

In order to facilitate brevity, between 1925 and the entry of the U.S. into World War II in 1941, the Caterpillar line-up of tractors, both gasoline and diesel powered, is summarized in the following table. All tractors listed were introduced before 1941, but production on some models lasted into the 1950s. Tractors are listed generally in the order of the year of introduction. Only those manufactured in the U.S. are included.

Model (fuel) Year started Year ended Total number mfg.
Sixty gasoline 1925 1931 16,813 (fn 1)
Thirty gasoline 1925 1932 23,830 (fn 1)
2-Ton gasoline 1925 1928 8,565 (fn 2)
5-Ton gasoline 1925 1926 1,455 (fn 2)
10-Ton gasoline 1925 1925 749 (fn 2)
Twenty gasoline 1927 1932 8,568
Ten (incl. High Crop) gasoline 1928 1933 4,932
Fifteen gasoline 1928 1932 7,559
Twenty-Five gasoline 1931 1933 638
Fifty gasoline 1931 1937 1,808
Fifteen (small) gasoline 1932 1933 307
Fifteen (High Crop) gasoline 1932 1933 95
Twenty (small) gasoline 1932 1933 652
Thirty-Five gasoline 1932 1935 1,730
Sixty-Five gasoline 1932 1933 521
Twenty-Eight gasoline 1933 1935 1,171
Seventy gasoline 1933 1937 266
R2 gasoline 1934 1942 2,418
R3 gasoline 1934 1935 59
R5 gasoline 1934 1940 1,548
Twenty-Two gasoline 1934 1939 15,156
Forty gasoline 1934 1936 584
Thirty (6G)/R4 gasoline 1935 1944 5,383
Diesel Sixty diesel 1931 1931 14
Diesel Sixty-Five diesel 1932 1932 143
Diesel Thirty-Five diesel 1933 1934 1,999
Diesel Fifty diesel 1933 1936 2,065
Diesel Seventy diesel 1933 1933 51
Diesel Seventy-Five diesel 1933 1935 1,078
Diesel Forty diesel 1934 1936 1,971
RD6/D6 diesel 1935 1959 58,973
RD7/D7 diesel 1935 1955 (fn 5) 56,527
RD8/D8 diesel 1935 1955 (fn 6) 46,698
RD4/D4 diesel 1936 1959 (fn 3) 94,496
D2 diesel 1938 1957 (fn 4) 26,454
D5 diesel 1939 1939 46

Footnote No. 1. Estimated. This tractor was produced by the C.L. Best company before the consolidation in 1925, and the exact serial number of the last Best produced at the time of consolidation was not recorded.

Footnote No. 2. Estimated. This tractor was produced by the Holt company before the consolidation in 1925, and the exact serial number of the last Holt produced at the time of consolidation was not recorded.

Footnote No. 3. Through the 6U/7U series

Footnote No. 4. Through the 4U/5U series

Footnote No. 5. Through the 3T, 4T, and 6T series.

Footnote No. 6. Through the 13A series.

| Join us at: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

© 2017 Caterpillar © 2017 ACMOC | ACMOC is a licensee of Caterpillar Inc. | Some images courtesy of Caterpillar Inc. Corporate Archives
Copyright Notices | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy