Caterpillar 30


| October/November 1993



Caterpiller 30

Right side after restoring.

1408 N. Van Buren Otturmva, Iowa 52501

My nephew Max Jones, Blakesburg, Iowa, asked me to write a story about his Caterpillar 30. After researching serial numbers, Cat books, Nebraska tractor tests and viewing various pictures, I will try to write this story.

The C. L. Best Gas Traction Engine Company of Elmhurst, California, was established in 1910. In 1892 the Holt Manufacturing Company was formed. In 1925 the Holt and Best interests merged to form the Caterpillar Company. This leads us to believe that left over Best parts were used in this Cat 30.

The Cat Thirty was made in 1928 with some parts from the Best Thirty: the cast iron upper track roller holders, the narrow seat, roller track guard, manifold and air cleaner along with the air heater and tube radiator. These parts seem to have been left over from the Best Thirty. There is no identification tag on the tractor, but the parts described above along with a casting date of 6-17-27 on the bottom of the transmission case, would establish its date of manufacture as 1928. This tractor was made in California. About 750 of this model were made.

The Caterpillar built engine has a  43/4 bore and 61/2 stroke running at 850 RPM. It has a three speed transmission, 1.7 MPH, 2.6 MPH, and 3.6 MPH with a standard of 433/4 inches. The weight of the Cat 30 was 9910 pounds. A number of special equipment items were available, i.e., grousers, front and rear PTO, double rear PTO, a belt pulley and others.

The Nebraska Tractor Test is a yardstick for testing horsepower of tractors. This testing was started in 1920 at the University of Nebraska. The Best 30, a forerunner of the Cat 30, was tested in 1921. The Cat 30 was not tested until 1936, so this indicates that this tractor was not tested, although a Best 30 was tested in 1924. While this tractor is a Cat 30, many of the parts are from the Best 30.