The 1925 Holt Caterpillar Co. and C.L. Best Tractor Co. merger may not have happened if it wasn't for World War I and an evolving customer-base focused on infrastructure development as a result of the automobile. During the war, Holt had a contract to sell tractors to the government. This contract allowed Holt to sell a significant number of machines and required a focus on production over innovation. While Holt focused on the war effort, companies like C.L. Best captured the domestic market with new and innovative designs.
Following the war, the two companies needed each other. The war left a surplus of machines, which was depressing the market for new tractors, and both companies needed an extra edge to remain successful. Best had the domestic market, an advanced dealer network and expanded product line while Holt had a worldwide reputation, the "Caterpillar" name and modern manufacturing facilities.
In 1925, the two companies decided to merge to form the Caterpillar Tractor Company. The merger provided the company with funds and technological resources to invest in diesel technology to provide customers with more economical horsepower.
After the merger, the newly formed Caterpillar Tractor Company established a key partner, a dealer network, to support customers around the world. Today, our dealer network operates on the same principles to help our customers do the work. Just like all those years ago, our customers wanted more than just buying a product. They wanted an ongoing relationship with someone to help them get the job done. The old saying remains true today — buy the iron, get the company.