What is the history of Caterpillar Inc. in manufacturing?

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Caterpillar, Inc. was formed in 1925 from the merger of the Holt Manufacturing Company and the C.L. Best Tractor Company, and was headquartered in San Francisco, California.  Holt had been the country’s main manufacturer of tractors, many of which were exported to Europe for agricultural purposes but diverted instead to military uses in World War I.  Current headquarters for Caterpillar, Inc. are located in Peoria, Illinois.

In addition to the lucrative export market for its products,  Holt tractors were used in a large number of major construction projects across the United States, including the Los Angeles Aquaduct and the San Francisco cable car system. Following the merger of Holt and C.L. Best, the newly-established Caterpillar Tractor Company (later changed to Caterpillar, Inc., when the company was registered in Delaware as a corporation), the corporation’s equipment would continue to be used globally for major construction projects as well as having its technologies adapted for military use.  Caterpillar tractors were instrumental in the construction of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border.  Additionally, Caterpillar products were instrumental in construction of the U.S. interstate highway system, a massive project extending the entire breadth of the United States. 

Caterpillar, Inc. remains one of the largest tractor manufacturers in the world, but no longer enjoys the position atop the industry it once did.  Competition from John Deere and from the Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra, the latter of which is currently the world’s largest manufacturer of tractors, has seen Caterpillar’s percentage of the global market decline. 

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