In 1925 the Caterpillar Tractor Company was formed, the caterpillar was not the first crawler tractor built or used in the U.S., most all the crawler tractors evolved from the steam traction engine tractors that were used mostly for tilling or plowing and pulling large combines on large farms.
The steam powered track-type traction crawler tractor was developed and used to move freight as well as farm tilling work, generally the track-type traction crawler tractor could till ground and pull harvesters over softer soil without getting stuck.
A crawler tractor has a steel chain or steel belt like, steel band that goes around a front steel idler mounted on a track frame with steel rollers mounted on the bottom of the track frame, the steel track chain fits and rollers sit on the steel track chain, the steel track chain rolls over top return rollers and over a rear sprocket type gear that fits in between the track chain, this allows the crawler to move forward and backwards, steel track pads are fastened to the track chain with generally a grouser bar allowing traction for the machine.
Caterpillar crawler tractor improvements continued before and during WWI, the crawler tractors were built with gas engines, steam power was no longer used, the crawler tractors pulled supplies and moved artillery equipment for the troop movements.
In the years after the war, around the late 1920’s, early 1930’s the Caterpillar diesel engine was developed and installed in the new models of crawler tractors, these new crawlers were used to pull earth moving equipment for building roads—dams—levee’s and other construction projects.
During the great depression the Caterpillar Tractor Company continued to move forward with improvements to the crawler tractors.
When WWII broke out Caterpillar crawlers were being used for more than farm work, they had front mounted bulldozer blades and were used on many road construction projects. The U.S. military soon ordered Caterpillar crawlers with bulldozer blades, the D-7 size dozer was widely used overseas for many jobs, the Caterpillar crawler was a very dependable machine, there were other crawler tractors used during the war effort.
After the war Caterpillar added many improvements to their construction line of crawler tractors—-engines—-tracks—-track frame—-dozer blades—-cable blades changed to hydraulic operated systems.
The Caterpillar track-type tractor has evolved into the ” CAT DOZER ” this name is known everywhere in the construction field.
Today the Caterpillar Tractor Company is one of the largest crawler tractor manufactures in the world.