Quality Training as Early as 1913: Caterpillar Service School

In 1913, the Holt Manufacturing Company, one of Caterpillar’s two predecessor companies, began holding classes for operators, owners and prospective purchasers of Holt Caterpillar Tractors and Harvesters. The Holts hired Frank L. Person, University of California Agricultural Engineering head, to conduct what would be called the Caterpillar Service School. Person also arranged for other professors from the University of California to lecture on agricultural subjects of general interest.

The first class was held in Spokane, Washington and the Holts held another class later that year in Stockton, California. Classes were held annually at both locations and in 1915, classes were added in East Peoria, Illinois.

These two-week-long classes were free to all owners of Holt Caterpillar Tractors and Holt Harvester Motors. The only cost to a product owner was railroad fare and room and board. Non-owners were responsible for paying a $25 tuition fee.

The Caterpillar Service Schools continued after the formation of the Caterpillar in 1925. It is unknown when the Caterpillar Service Schools were discontinued but their legacy remains forever within the collection of Caterpillar Corporate Heritage Services.