Holt

The Holt Manufacturing Co. was founded in 1892 at Stockton, California by Benjamin Holt to produce combine harvesters and steam traction engines for west-coast farmers. These early traction engines were heavy three-wheeled machines that featured wide back wheels to increase flotation and prevent them sinking into the soft Californian soil. To overcome this problem, Holt began to experiemnt with crawler tracks in place of rear wheels and several prototype steam tracklayers were tested successfully around 1905. At this time, steam engines rapidly being replaced by gas engines, and Holt began production of a 25 hp gasoline-powered crawler tractor in 1908. In the same year, Holt purchased the company of his main competitor, Daniel Best, which gave access to the latter's dealer network and new technology. In 1910, Holt moved his company to Peoria, Illinois, renaming it the Holt Caterpillar Co., and from that time all Holt tracklayers carried the "Caterpillar" trademark. The range of Holt crawlers expanded to include 45, 60 and 70 hp models. Many of these were sent to Europe during the First World War for use by the Allies, and the 75 hp model in particular was used for hauling heavy guns. Smaller designs were added to the range to satisfy the demands of California's orchard and vineyard owners. In the 1920s, the 5-Ton" and 10-Ton models appeared, and with their compact design and fully-enclosed engine they were the shape of things to come. The Best name had been revived in 1910 by Daniel's son, C.L. Best, and this company continued to compete with Holt for sales of crawler tractors over the next decade and a half. In 1925, however, Holt and Best decided to merge their interests once more and formed the Caterpillar Tractor Co. at Peoria, Illinois.

 
Photo Gallery (Click on images to enlarge)

Tractors built at Stockton, California



Holt Model 40 (serial no. 1004, built 1908) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. This is the oldest surviving Holt tractor.



Holt Model 60 (serial no. 2217) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 60 at Bright's Pioneer Exhibit, Le Grand, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 30 Baby (serial no. 5018) at the Antique Farm Equipment Museum, Tulare, California, USA in 2005.



Holt Model 30 Baby (serial no. 5197) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 30 Baby (serial no. 5296) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 30 Baby at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 18 Midget (serial no. 7079) at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2005 and the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 18 Midget (serial no. 7125) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 18 Midget (serial no. 7365) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 18 Midget at Bright's Pioneer Exhibit, Le Grand, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 2928) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. The second and third photos show it pulling a Holt "Land Leveler" scraper.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 3018) at the Vooroorlogse Tractorshow Bergeijk, Netherlands in 2011.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 3327) at the Antique Farm Equipment Museum, Tulare, California, USA in 2005.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 3456) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 3564) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 3742) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. 3901) at WMSTR, Rollag, Minnesota, USA in 2004.



Holt Model 75 at Bright's Pioneer Exhibit, Le Grand, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. S 4026) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. S 4032) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. S 4057) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 (serial no. S 4069) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 with a Holt Model 36 combine harvester at the Little Casterton Working Weekend, Lincolnshire, England in 2005.



Holt Model 45 (serial no. 20664) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 45 (serial no. 20684) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 45 (serial no. 20871) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 45 (serial no. 21138) at the Booleroo Steam & Traction Preservation Society Museum, Booleroo Centre, South Australia in 2007.



Holt Model 45 (serial no. 21242) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 45 at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2005.



Holt T-35 (2-Ton) (serial no. S 25326) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. The T-35 was built at Stockton, California from 1921-24, and can be distinguished from the later Peoria-built "2-Ton" machines by the riveted track frames.



Holt T-35 (2-Ton) (serial no. S 25566) at the Little Casterton Working Weekend, Lincolnshire, England in 2009.



Holt T-35 (2-Ton) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt T-35 (2-Ton) at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt T-35 (2-Ton) at the Little Casterton Working Weekend, Lincolnshire, England in 2005.



Holt T-29 (5-Ton) (serial no. S 50099) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. This is a Stockton-built tractor with riveted track frame. Production of the T-29 began at Stockton in mid 1923 and continued until 1924.



Holt T-29 (5-Ton) at the Booleroo Steam & Traction Preservation Society Museum, Booleroo Centre, South Australia in 2007.



Holt T-29 (5-Ton) at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.


Tractors built by Northern Holt Co. at Minneapolis, Minnesota



Northern Holt Model 45 (serial no. 102, built 1910) at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2005.


Tractors built at Peoria, Illinois



Holt Model 75 Military (serial no. 10219) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 Military at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 Military (fitted with Best 75 radiator) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 75 Military at the Vooroorlogse Tractorshow Bergeijk, Netherlands in 2008.



Holt Model 120 (serial no. 13130) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt Model 45 at the HMT Show, Panningen, Netherlands in 2005.



Holt experimental model (serial no. 11679) at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. It was built in 1917 and was one of a batch of seven.



Holt 2-Ton at Onslow Park Rally, Shropshire, England in 2005. This is a Peoria-built tractor with the cast track frames. Holt 2-Ton production began at Peoria in 1924, and later that year the cut-out "Holt" name on the radiator sides was replaced by a raised cast version as seen below.



Holt 2-Ton at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt 5-Ton at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2008. This is a later Peoria-built tractor with the one-piece cast steel track frame. Production of the "New 5-Ton" began at Peoria in 1924 and continued until 1925.



Holt 10-Ton at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt 10-Ton with McCormick-Deering Model 31T combine harvester at the Little Casterton Working Weekend, Lincolnshire, England in 2005.



Holt 10-Ton at Bright's Pioneer Exhibit, Le Grand, California, USA in 2008.


Armoured artillery tractors



Holt 2 1/2-Ton Artillery Tractor at the Best Show on Tracks, Woodland, California, USA in 2008.



Holt 5-Ton Artillery Tractor at Pioneer Village, Minden, Nebraska, USA in 2011.



Holt 10-Ton Artillery Tractor (serial no. 16598) at Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion, Rollag, Minnesota, USA in 2011. The original armour has since been removed from this tractor.



Holt 10-Ton Artillery Tractor at the Heidrick Ag History Center, Woodland, California, USA in 2005.

 


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