The history of Caterpillar is all about doing: building, innovating, servicing and improving. Together with our partners, we focus on making our customers successful by understanding their needs, increasing the value we deliver and earning their loyalty time and time again.
Learn how our solutions have been building a better world for more than 90 years.
Africa – Caterpillar’s First Overseas Dealer
Paul Parrenin settled in Tunisia and started his dealership in 1902. In 1912, Parrenin became the first Holt Manufacturing Company dealer outside of the United States. In 1926, shortly after Holt merged with Best Tractor Co., Parrenin became an official dealer of Caterpillar Tractor Company and were the first representation of Caterpillar outside the United States. Parrenin focused solely on agriculture until 1945, when Caterpillar broadened its line of earthmoving equipment, and Parrenin soon expanded into that industry.
Fun fact: Parrenin is the oldest Holt Manufacturing Company dealer still in operation.
Antarctica – Operation Deep Freeze
Operation Deep Freeze was the codename for a series of U.S. missions to Antarctica beginning in 1955. The missions set up American research stations and kept the stations supplied as part of an international effort to study the earth’s environment. Caterpillar provided track-type tractors and diesel electric sets specially built to survive constant temperatures of 65 degrees below zero for use 24 hours a day.
Fun fact: Cat® track-type tractors were the first tractors in Antarctica.
Asia – Three Gorges Dam
From the Three Gorges Dam to the large hydropower stations including the Changheba, Baihetan and Wudongde hydropower dams, thousands of Cat machines have contributed to the development of clean energy in China. The Three Gorges Dam, for example, employed more than 300 Cat machines.
Australia – Quest to Prove Caterpillar Value
Did you know our machines have been working in Australia since before we were even painting them yellow? In 1913, Holt Manufacturing Company representative J.M. Pawley and his team landed in Sydney, Australia, on a quest to prove the value of Holt track-type tractors. After an impressive demonstration through rain-soaked, heavy red soil, customers immediately purchased the two demonstration machines to harvest and plow thousands of acres of land.
Fun Fact: Two more Caterpillars were sold within a short time to a 2,000-acre ranch. By early 1914 cable orders for six more Caterpillars were received at the Holt factory.
Europe – Istanbul Grand Airport
At the crossroads of East and West, Istanbul is the natural site for a global air transport hub. That’s a good thing because by 2023, Turkish Airlines plans to transport more than 120 million passengers per year – nearly double its current numbers. That ambitious goal presents a major challenge: building the world’s largest airport from the ground up in just 42 months. To handle the huge scale, difficult site conditions and tight deadline, the Istanbul Grand Airport assembled a fleet of more than 400 machines, all from Caterpillar. They will rely heavily on Cat® EMSolutions™ technologies to streamline equipment management for the project’s massive fleet.
Fun fact: Caterpillar’s remote monitoring technology tracked and provided data about every machine 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
North America – St. Lawrence Seaway
Across North America in the 1950s, construction boomed. Typical of big, imaginative projects of the decade was the St. Lawrence Seaway, which made heartland America and Canada accessible to the ocean. The 2,342-mile water route from the Atlantic Ocean to Duluth, Minnesota, has been operational for nearly 150 years, and Cat equipment was there from 1954 to 1959 to complete construction work on the Seaway.
Fun Fact: Cat equipment played a major role in excavating more than 51 million cubic yards of earth materials along the water route – from glacial till, which was often denser than concrete, to extremely mucky marine clay.
South America – Itaipu Dam
In 1994, the American Society of Civil Engineers elected the Itaipu Dam as one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, and Cat products played a role in building it. When the first Cat machines arrived for land clearing at Itaipu, experienced mechanics from the local Cat dealer were onsite to assure that service would be excellent from the outset.
Fun fact: When the first 50 Cat units arrived in port, the dealer assembled and transported each machine to the work site.