For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar has played an important role in helping shape American history. From the quiet everyday moments that are hard to recall to the vivid ones America will never forget, Caterpillar people and products are embedded in our nation’s past—laying the foundation, powering the lift-off, illuminating the dark or picking up the pieces.

This is a brief overview of our past and present work in the United States.





Caterpillar provides support for the military during World War II.

When war came to the U.S. in December 1941, the U.S. government asked Caterpillar to increase production levels higher than the company had ever achieved before. With the help of its employees, Caterpillar met and exceeded the challenge. From 1942 to 1945, Caterpillar operated seven days a week, doubled its workforce, placed women on jobs in the foundry and assembly lines, manufactured special products, trained and sponsored enlisted men and built approximately 51,000 track-type tractors for the military.


1969  USA


Caterpillar engines supply power for the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.

Caterpillar engines supplied the power for communications between the Apollo 11 spacecraft and all of the NASA tracking stations around the world. Not only were these communications vital to the safe landing of the spacecraft, but also hearing Neil Armstrong's first words from the moon would not have been possible without the power provided by Caterpillar engines.

Infrastructure & Transportation


1905  San Francisco, California


A Holt steam traction engine works on the construction of a section of San Francisco's cable car system.

San Francisco's famed cable car system got its start in 1873. Over the next several decades, modifications were made to the system and new lines were added. Photos taken in 1905 show Holt Steam Traction Engine #37 being used to help lay new cable. This is the first documented instance of our machines in use on a public works construction project.


1956 - 1972  USA


Contractors use Caterpillar machines to build the Federal Interstate Highway System.

In 1956, the Federal-Aid Highway Act authorized the biggest public works project in world history, the U.S. interstate highway system. It started as a 41,000-mile project but expanded to 42,800 miles. Total cost has been approximately $130 billion. By conservative estimates, the interstate system has returned six dollars in economic productivity for every one dollar it cost to build.


1964  USA


Caterpillar machines are used to help install the first coast-to-coast underground telephone cable.

It took contractors five years to complete the 4,000-mile cable-laying project.

Recovery & Relief


1906  San Francisco, California


A Holt steam traction engine is used during recovery efforts after the San Francisco Earthquake.

The San Francisco earthquake ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Photos taken following the quake and subsequent fire show Holt Steam Traction Engine #37 helping with the cleanup. This is the first known instance of our machines in use to aid in disaster recovery.


1995  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


Within hours of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Caterpillar machines and generator sets and local dealer employees are on the scene to provide assistance

Caterpillar machines and generators were an integral part of rescue efforts, clearing debris, and supplying power for everything from the medical examiner's tent to the elevator used to take rescue workers up the side of the building.




Within hours of the terrorist attack on September 11, Caterpillar joins forces with Caterpillar dealers to provide machines, power and people for the rescue and relief efforts.
In the days following the attack, most of the equipment at Ground Zero was manufactured by Caterpillar.




Caterpillar and its dealer network respond with people, products, and financial aid to help with recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.


U.S. Landmarks


1931-1936  Nevada & Arizona


Caterpillar track-type tractors help construct the Hoover Dam.

Once the largest hydroelectric producer in the world, the Hoover Dam stands 726 feet high and 1,244 feet long. Contractors excavated 3.7 million cubic yards of rock and poured 4.36 million cubic yards of concrete to build the dam. The dam formed Lake Mead, which backs up 110 miles behind the dam and is the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the U.S.


1933-1937 San Francisco, California

Caterpillar machines help construct the Golden Gate Bridge.



1966-1973  New York, New York

Caterpillar machines are used on the construction of the World Trade Center complex.

In addition to the Caterpillar machines used on the construction phase of the World Trade Center complex, Caterpillar engines were installed to provide a power source for the completed complex.

Modern America




Caterpillar provides the majority of power generation and dealer support during the largest power outage in U.S. history (to this date).

More than 300 backup generators and two megawatt trailer units were trucked to cities such as New York, Cleveland and Detroit to get them up and running again. Trading on Wall Street was uninterrupted thanks to Cat power.


2003-2010 Arizona & Nevada

Caterpillar machines help construct a bypass highway near the Hoover Dam to replace the original highway that runs over the dam.



Caterpillar machines play a major part in the construction of the 300-mile-long Entrega Pipeline.

The Entrega Pipeline was the first stage of the Rockies Express Pipeline. Stretching from Wyoming to Ohio, the 1,663-mile Rockies Express Pipeline will connect Rocky Mountain natural gas reserves to consumers on the East Coast. Caterpillar's involvement goes beyond construction equipment. Solar gas turbines, Gas Caterpillar Motoren (GCM) compression engines (Entrega is the first new mainline pipeline to use GCM engines), Cat Financial services and 6 Sigma-enhanced strategic support planning were key elements of the project. The completed pipeline will utilize Solar's InSight System machinery management solution enabling real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance to maximize performance and minimize costs.


2007 New York, New York

Cat equipment is helping New York City construct its first subway line since 1932.

When the Second Avenue subway line is complete, the $4.5 billion project will carry more than 200,000 weekday riders.



Hurricane Sandy hit multiple states in the northeast, causing massive flooding destruction and power outages. Caterpillar assisted with disaster relief by providing critical supplies and services ranging from food and fuel for generators to bulk debris removal. More than 1,400 generator sets were delivered from Cat dealers across the U.S.

2012 Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona International Speedway, one of the most iconic venues in racing, is getting a big makeover.  The DAYTONA Rising project calls for 101,000 wider and more comfortable seats, twice as many restrooms and three times as many concession stands. The renovation also includes the addition of more than 60 luxury suites.  Site preparation using Cat machines, including the 336E H Hybrid Excavator, took place in 2013.

State by State: Caterpillar in the U.S.

The dream that began with two American inventors now employs more than 118,500 people worldwide, with nearly 52,000 of those jobs in the United States. Consider our independent dealer network   – and the global reach of our brand is even bigger. 

With more than 50 manufacturing facilities in 18 states and Cat dealers from coast-to-coast, we are part of America’s infrastructure and welcome the opportunity to share the Caterpillar story with our elected officials.   We’re proud that a lot of our yellow iron is “Made in America.”