Creating the Pattern for Caterpillar’s Success in 1911

In 1911 The Holt Caterpillar Company plant in East Peoria, Illinois, was located on 10 acres of land and included four buildings.  One of those buildings housed the pattern shop, which was located on the second floor. 

The pattern equipment consisted of a band saw, a wooden frame circle saw, a turning lathe, and a hand trimmer.  There was no suction system to take the dust away.  White pine lumber was brought from town in small quantities. 

Four men and a boy worked in the pattern shop at that time: Adolph Merril, foreman; John Merril; Chester Owens; Clare Lee, apprentice; and John E. McLoughlin, patternmaker.  The patterns made in this shop would then be used to make the castings for tractor parts.  Their legacy and innovation lives on in this photograph.