What The Heck Is Ol' Beth?
She's A Tractor!
Rated at 110 horsepower, she was used to pull lumber and heavy logging wagons, but the interesting story is centered on the evolution of these engines.
Ol’ Beth, which is located just outside the entrance to the Angels Camp Museum, is a coal or wood burning steam traction engine.
Ol’ Beth was manufactured around 1904 by the Best Manufacturing Company based in San Leandro, California. Founded by Daniel Best the company produced farm equipment and steam traction engines. In direct competition with Best was the Holt Manufacturing Company of Stockton, California. Benjamin Holt is credited with patenting the first workable crawler ("caterpillar") tractor design.
After settling a series of patent infringement lawsuits, the Best Manufacturing Company was acquired by Holt in 1908. Then in 1910 C.L. Best, the son of Daniel Best, started his own company, the C. L. Best Gas Traction Company. In April 1925 Best and Holt Manufacturing Companies merged again becoming Caterpillar Tractor Company.
Above you see Ol' Beth hard at work! Today Caterpillar Incorporated is a major American manufacturer of earth-moving, construction, agricultural, and materials-handling equipment headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. Caterpillar Incorporated has been included in the Fortune 500 list for many decades.
This is the kind of information you’ll find on interpretive signs in the Pole Barn funded by the foundation, with the help of donors. If you liked this history, help us record the histories of the artifacts in the museum by donating!
THANK YOU AND COME VISIT YOUR MUSEUM SOON!
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