The name “Caterpillar” brings to mind machines that are made mobile using revolving, oblong tracks, instead of wheels – often referred to as “crawler tractors.” What follows is a brief history of the “Caterpillar” tractor and the companies that made it.
The “crawler” type of machine was developed for use on soft ground. The weight of the “crawler” machine is distributed over a much larger surface area of tracks – allowing the machine to traverse soft strata. A wheeled machine has very limited surface area over which to distribute its weight. In addition, farmers and ranchers in the American West found that the “crawler” tractor had better traction with the ground than wheeled tractors, and could pull more weight for a given horsepower. And the “crawler” tractor was far more stable on uneven or hilly ground, where farmers and ranchers grew wheat and other agricultural products.