1950-2020: WE love Caterpillar construction machines!

We have many stories and anecdotes to tell and also great pictures to show! You want to know how Caterpillar construction machines looked like back in the 1950s and 60s? Then have a look at our nostalgic selection from photos then and now – and find out how Zeppelin and Caterpillar have developed throughout the years!

Left: New caterpillar construction machines, Bremerhaven, 1950s ©  Zeppelin Group
Right: Caterpillar grader120, 2019/2020 ©  Caterpillar Inc.

Left: A convoy of new Caterpillar earth-moving machines – 112 graders, DW 21 scrapers and D8 tracked tractors on low loaders in Bremerhaven (Germany). The audience waited anxiously for the machines to start. The machines were driven on their own axes on country roads for almost 250 km to Dortmund (Germany) – there was no motorway.

Right: The Caterpillar 120 motor grader can be tailored to customer preferences and applications. In the standard ECO mode, the Cat C7.1 engine uses up to 15 percent less fuel. The brand new cab offers unparalleled comfort. Thanks to the new filter technology, customers save up to 15 percent on maintenance costs.

Left: Caterpillar, pioneer of trackless earthmoving, poster, 1950s © Zeppelin Group
Right: Caterpillar M323F, new construction machine for rail and road, 2019/2020 © Caterpillar Inc.

Left: After the Second World War, track-supported earthworks were initially popular in Europe. To move the earth, the material was loaded with excavators or manually onto trucks, which were then driven by muscle power, horse or small locomotives on quickly laid provisional tracks. The much more efficient method of trackless earthworks with large self-propelled earthmoving machines – at that time mainly dozers, graders, scrapers and chain loaders – was invented in the USA. Thanks to the distribution agreement with Caterpillar, Zeppelin was able to deliver exactly the right machines in the midst of this change.

Right: The Caterpillar M323F is a versatile, highly productive rail-road excavator that offers the possibility to easily switch from road to rail without sacrificing performance.

Left: Caterpillar scraper, poster, 1950s © Zeppelin Group
Right: Caterpillar scraper, 2019/2020 © Caterpillar Inc.

Left: In the 1950s, scrapers were the dominant construction machinery on large earthmoving construction sites. They could loosen the material, pick it up, transport and by means of controlled unloading and driving over it, reinstall it. And thus, carry out all the individual steps of the earth movement almost alone.

Right: Caterpillar scrapers provide the power, traction, and speed necessary to get reliable results on earth moving. The machines are available as open buckets with one or two motors, as a push-pull version with two motors and as an elevator scraper.

Left: Zeppelin branch map, 1954 © Zeppelin Group
Right: Zeppelin branch map, 2020 © Zeppelin Group

Left: As early as the 1950s, service and the availability of spare parts were extremely important. Here you can see an early Zeppelin branch map. At that time the headquarters were in Worms (Germany).

Right: The construction equipment branches in Germany today comprise 35 locations. The construction equipment head office was moved from Worms to Garching in 1961.

Left: Caterpillar dump truck 769, 1963 © Zeppelin Group
Right: Caterpillar dumpruck G-series, 2019/2020 © Caterpillar Inc.

Left: In 1963, Caterpillar presented the 769 for a payload of 32 t and a top speed of 67 km/h. With its Caterpillar powershift transmission with automatic adjustment of the injection point and the sophisticated hydropneumatic suspension, the 769 was considered the most modern dump truck of its time.

Right: With the G series, Caterpillar is opening a new chapter in this size class. Taking customer suggestions into account, Caterpillar has designed and built a reliable and economical dump truck that gives drivers comfort, safety and control.

Left: Caterpillar wheel loader, 1963 © Zeppelin Group
Right: Caterpillar compact wheel loader 906M, 2019/2020 © Caterpillar Inc.

Left: Many Caterpillar machines were delivered without a cabin. The construction companies made primitive shelters or Zeppelin retrofitted the machines themselves. For some time, there was even a cabin production facility in Friedrichshafen (Germany).

Right: The Caterpillar 906M compact wheel loader delivers high performance with great versatility. By coordinating the hydraulics and drive train under load, the driver can adapt the machine’s response to the task at hand. Low noise levels, a large and spacious driver’s cab and intuitive controls ensure a lot of comfort throughout the day.

Further information:

1930-2020: Zeppelin & Caterpillar – Then and Now

1994: Zeppelin and Caterpillar celebrate 40 years of successful partnership: a movie

1925: American Pioneering Spirit – how Caterpillar started out

1904: How the caterpillar got its name


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