Caterpillar Founding Father Honored

Alpha Media Ryan Piers

A new Caterpillar exhibit explores the impact of a founding fathers.

“Holt: Tracks Around The World” features historical objects, some displayed to the public for the first time, directly related to Benjamin Holt.

The exhibit is open until June 2018 at the Doug Oberhelman Caterpillar Visitor’s Center.

Supervisor of Caterpillar Heritage Services, Lee Fosburgh, said Holt’s legacy is built on two significant accomplishments.

“First, he invented the first commercially successful track-type tractor,” Fosburgh said. “The second part is he came up with the name Caterpillar.”

Holt created the commercially popular tractor from his company in California. These machines provided groundwork for what Caterpillar would later become.

Some of his early sketches are at the exhibit.

“Some of the original line drawings (are) with the original Caterpillar logo,” Fosburgh said. “You’ll see stuff related to the testing to the first track-type tractor. You will see a lot of really neat objects that were at the Holt plant and are now in Peoria.”

Many colorized photos by Fosburgh and his team are on display as well.

Fosburgh said Holt’s influence still permeates Caterpillar today. And without Holt, Caterpillar would look much different.

“I don’t think Caterpillar would be in Peoria,” Fosburgh said. “The idea of innovation and the application of the machines would also be different.”

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