The Legacy Of C.L. Best

Caterpillar Visitors Center

A Caterpillar Visitors Center exhibit will focus on the company’s first and longest-running chairman.

C.L. Best started designing tractors as a child, at the age of nine, working for his father’s company.

“He had all things Caterpillar in his blood,” said Lee Fosburgh, Supervisor of Caterpillar Corporate Heritage Services.

Caterpillar Tractor Company was formed in 1925 by two California companies, owned by two families…the Holts and the Bests, owners of Holt Manufacturing and Best Tractor Company.

“What Best’s company had was a superior management team, and superior products. So, their machines are actually the DNA of our (Caterpillar) machines today,” said Fosburgh.

Fosburgh tells WMBD’s Greg and Dan that the Best-60 tractor is CAT’s D-8 today, and the Best-30 is today’s CAT’s D-6 model. Best’s undercarriage designs are also still in use.

The C.L. Best exhibit, opening at 10 a.m. Friday, features three radiators…one from the Best-40, Best-75 and Best-60 tractors…all dating back to the early 1910s and 1920s.

Fosburgh says C.L. Best stayed Caterpillar’s Chairman until his death in 1951. His 50-year service pin will be part of the exhibit’s display.

The exhibit will also feature personal items from five generations of the Best family, and will pay tribute to Best as an apprentice, innovator, chairman and family man.

For more information, click HERE.

(Photo: Courtesy of Caterpillar Visitors Center)

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