In the early 1990s, two friends, Marvin Fery and Dave Smith of Oregon, formed a club for collectors of antique Cat® machines to exchange information about our tractors. With enthusiastic support from Caterpillar, the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Owners Club (ACMOC) was born.
The club was originally made up of about 40 members from all over the world – the youngest just 13 years old and the furthest being from Western Australia. This only made sense since Caterpillar products have been sold across the globe going all the way back to its two predecessor companies, Holt and Best.
After just six months, membership doubled in size. These early members, like the members today, came from many walks of life: farmers, doctors, contractors, accountants, and lawyers, to name a few. Over the years, in addition to being responsible for preserving and restoring Cat machines, they have taken on a role educating others of the impact Cat machines have in shaping the world.
Some of their members found their machines abandoned in farm fields or along the sides of old mountain roads. Others inhered them from their families, bartered for them, or were still using them in their businesses after many years of faithful service. With painstaking effort, they restored them, careful to use only the right parts and match the original paint. Little by little, these Cat enthusiasts brought their prized old equipment back to life.
ACMOC has traditionally held a national show somewhere in the United States each fall. The 2018 show will take place in San Antonio, Texas at the local Cat dealer, Holt Cat. The show is a place for these proud collectors to display their antique Cat equipment, not just to members, but to the public as well. Rare and unique equipment has been on display at past shows, including a replica of a steam-powered track-type tractor, original steam powered wheel tractors, early pre-World War II track-type tractor models, and early prototype equipment.
Over the years, ACMOC’s membership has steadily increased to include thousands of members worldwide. Today, ACMOC is based in Peoria, Illinois, and its mission remains the same. As founding member Dave Smith once said, “I’m always surprised at how progressive the older machines were, and I love to take them apart to see what makes them work.”