Instruction Began at the Caterpillar Service School in 1913

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 Holt Harvester Motors. 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, Wash. and the Holts held another class later that year in Stockton, Calif. Class instruction was held annually at both locations. Additionally, there are archival documents which indicate that classes were held in East Peoria, Ill., as early as 1915.

Documents from 1917 communicate a class lasted for two weeks and was free to 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 School continued after the formation of the Caterpillar Tractor Co. in 1925. While it is unknown when the Caterpillar Service School was discontinued, its legacy remains in today’s Operator, Safety and Service Training which aim to maximize the performance of Cat® equipment, reduce costly downtime, increase return on investment, improve safety in the workplace, enhance operator performance and much more.

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