Left to right: Max Jones, Troy Jones, Cornie and Brian Bambrook.
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
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
Max works as a welder at the John Deere Works in Ottumwa. Along
with a friend, Cornie Bambrook Jr., a retired welder from John
Deere, he worked many hours restoring the tractor. Brian Bambrook
and Troy Jones helped with the restoring. Max bought the tractor at
Fairfield, Iowa. The tractor came from Kansas and was thought to
have been used by a county.