Who was Benjamin Holt?

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Benjamin Holt was the man who changed agriculture and war, with his innovative tread-tire tractors.

Born in New Hampshire, his family owned a sawmill that processed the wooden pieces for wagon wheels and axles.

When Benjamin and his brothers were old enough, they moved to San Francisco to start up a company of their own.

Their company sold wagon wheels and large farm equipment, which eventually led toi Benjamin creating large, steam powered tractors.

The wheels to these tractors would sometimes sink into the soft California soil, due to the incredible weight of the steam engines used to power the wheels.

To fix this problem, Benjamin made wheels with treads that would move easily across farmland, supporting the weight of the machine.

Because of the way these tractors “crawled” across the land, Holt called them “Caterpillars”.

His tread-wheel innovation helped create machines like the tank, snowmobile, and the bulldozer!

His company still survives today as Caterpillar, and still makes moving machines for almost any industry you could think of.

We hope you enjoy learning about him!

Click here for a more in-depth biography.

Fun Stuff:

Here’s how to make a “spool tractor” that moves by itself.

Here you can make your own tractor out of cardboard boxes!

Here’s a fun game where you can put together gears and make a machine work.

Here’s a ton of different online tractor games.


Here’s a biography video.

Here’s what one of Holt’s first steam powered tractors would have looked like.

This video shows us how one of the steam engines in Holt’s caterpillar tractor works.

This shows us how the track wheel idea actually worked with Holt’s tractors.

If you enjoy what you’ve learned so far, here’s the best place to purchase additional resources we couldn’t bring to you.

 Questions? Comments? Dead links?

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