The Model Halt 75

Don and Kathy Hunter's restored Holt 75.

Don and Kathy Hunter's restored Holt 75.

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1608 W. Cherry St. Kissimmee, Florida 32741

This story takes place in California and was told to me by Lloyd Mattusitch in December 1987. Lloyd survives his older brother Glenn and their father, George Mattusitch.

George Mattusitch had a brother named John and they were very much alike in the way they approached life, in that everything had to be done yesterday. It seemed as though they never walked anywhere, but were always in a trot, or it seemed so. Hence they were nicknamed the 'Rush Brothers', and were well known at the Holt Manufacturing Shops in Stockton. Benjamin Holt was the founder of Holt Brothers and the name of Holt and Caterpillar are synonymous. Now, George knew Benjamin Holt as a friend as well as sometimes doing field work for him.

One day, in or around the year 1920, George decided to take his two boys with him into Stockton to visit the Holt shops. Lloyd was approximately seven years old at the time. It was only about 25 miles from where they lived in Farmington to the Holt Shops in Stockton, but in those days that was quite an outing, more than likely taking all day.

The Holt Manufacturing Company covered a large area on Aurora Street in Stockton. Actually, this was two city blocks with a square area of approximately 200,000 square feet of shops and storage.

After George finished his business, he took his boys with him to see Ben Holt, and this led them into Ben Holt's private office. The trip to Holt's was one thing, but to go into the main office, this was something else. For a young lad of about seven years old, this event would be a high point in his childhood and would be remembered his entire life.

Ben Holt asked George if he had seen his new line of tractors. George said that he had not, so Ben Holt took George and his two boys on a personal guided tour of the assembly line, showing them the new 2-ton, 5-ton, and 10-ton tractors being built. Now this was really a treat, but the thing that stuck in Lloyd's mind was back in Ben Holt's office. What was vividly etched on Lloyd's mind was a scale model of a Holt 75, completely constructed of brass and about 30 inches long; this would represent about a 1' scale model and would be quite impressive.

At this point in Lloyd's life, that model looked like the greatest toy he had ever seen. As Lloyd grew older, the vision of a toy became the memory of a scale model Holt 75. Although Lloyd's father bought a Best 75, the Holt 75 was a familiar and viable piece of ranch and construction equipment in California. Lloyd would remember the model for what it was, a model of a Holt 75, one of the many inventions of the Holt Manufacturing Company. In later years, Lloyd heard that the Model 75 was supposed to be fully operative, but there is no proof as to whether it was or not.

I have not exhausted all the sources of information concerning this model, but I did contact Hagen Museum in Stockton, California. This institution has a lot of the Holt papers, etc., but the curator of the Holt exhibit did not have any information concerning the model Holt 75.

Does anyone remember this model? Does anyone know anything about this model? Where is this model today? Hopefully, this model 75 is in a museum somewhere.

At the onset of writing this story, it occurred to me that I would need some pictures of a Holt 75 in order to make the story more interesting, as well as that not everyone knows what a Holt 75 is or what one looks like.

I live in Florida and finding old Holt equipment of any kind down here is almost impossible, so that eliminated taking a picture of an old 75 myself. Next, I thought of books or magazines, but that type of material is copyright protected. Since I am originally from the ranching country of California, my next consideration was, 'Who do I know that might possibly still have an old 75'? Dead end! Then I remembered that the Hagen Museum in Stockton, California has a restored Holt 75 on exhibit. So I called the curator of the exhibit and asked him if I could obtain a picture of the old 75. Well, they wanted more information about me and Gas Engine Magazine than the I.R.S. does, so that ended that.

I was in somewhat of a quandary as to how to obtain pictures of a Holt 75. One day, while looking through my latest GEM, I saw an ad for an upcoming show in California and there in the ad was a picture of a Holt 75! After a few phone calls, I made contact with Mr. Don Hunter and he was able to furnish me with the pictures you see with this story.

This is a short history of Don and Kathy Hunter's Holt 75. The Grimes family bought the Holt 75 new, at a cost of $5,500.00, in 1917, and it was used in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Next, the old 75 was on display at the Frontier Village in Las Vegas; from there it went to the Gold Strike Casino (between Boulder Dam and Boulder City). Then in January 1981, Don and Kathy Hunter bought the old 75 and over the next 3? years, and 4,000 hours, you see the results in the photos.