Caterpillar Tractor Company Photographs, 1927–1932

Demonstrating the "Caterpillar" Multiple Hitch on the hills of the Palouse, near Pullman, Washington, 1931.

Mss: 537 1927–1932 C359
6 boxes, approx. 500 photographs
Collection Guide

The Caterpillar Tractor Company, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tractors, was formed in 1925. From early on the company mounted extensive marketing campaigns advertising their products for farming, logging, quarrying, mining, road building, and construction. Over 400 images document the use of company equipment in the United States, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Images date from the 1920s to the early 1930s. Other images in the collection illustrate showrooms and the manufacture of Caterpillar machinery in plants in Illinois and California.

Night Dusting with Tractor-Operated Outfit, International Harvester Co., 1931.

Subjects range from a Caterpillar demonstration in Italy for Mussolini to men hauling enormous logs out of northwestern forests to Filipino workers plowing rice fields. The collection documents early twentieth-century methods of farming, road building, and construction. Letters from sales representatives detailing their experiences, for example, in remote towns and villages of Africa or Asia, accompany some of the images.