CaterpillarĀ® History

The first tractor that was designed and produced by the Caterpillar Tractor Co. that was not based on a previous Holt or Best model was its Model Twenty, which went into production at San Leandro in 1927. Production of the Twenty was started at East Peoria, Illinois, in 1928.

In 1928, Caterpillar introduced its Model Ten. The Model Ten was designed to replace the 2-Ton. The following year, Caterpillar introduced its Model Fifteen.

The Great Depression is usually thought of as having started in the U.S. with the stock market crash of October 1929. Many would say that the U.S. didn't climb out of the economic depression until the advent of World War II (in 1941 for the U.S.). The decade following 1929 was to prove difficult for all manufacturers, including the Caterpillar Tractor Co.

At the beginning of the Great Depression, Caterpillar had a product line of tractors that included (from smallest to largest), its Ten, Fifteen, Twenty, Thirty, and Sixty. As the Great Depression deepened, Caterpillar adopted the same strategy that surviving automobile manufacturers adopted: introduce new models. Accordingly, in 1931, the company introduced the Twenty-Five and the Fifty. In 1932, the company introduced the "small" Fifteen, the high-clearance Fifteen, and the "small" Twenty. These models were, like all earlier models, powered by gasoline-fired internal combustion engines.

Effective December 7, 1931, all Caterpillar tractors were painted in the now-familiar "Caterpillar Hi-Way Yellow" with black trim, although for an extra charge, any purchaser could have his tractor painted in some other color. Before then, the standard colors used by the Caterpillar Tractor Co. had been gray with red trim.

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