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Best Manufacturing Company

The Best Manufacturing Company (sometimes known as the Daniel Best Company) of San Leandro, California was a manufacturer of farm machinery, now probably most well known for its steam tractors.

The company was formed in 1871 by Daniel Best. The company's initial product was a portable grain cleaner, soon followed by a combine harvester. In 1890, the company purchased the rights to manufacture the Remington steam engine and produced a range of steam-driven farm machinery, including steam tractors and combine harvesters.

A preserved 1905 Best steam tractor

The company was acquired by the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1908 after a legal battle. C. L. Best, the son of the founder then formed his own rival company, the C. L. Best Gas Traction Company which built gasoline-powered tractors. This new Best company acquired the rights to manufacture the Lombard Steam Log Hauler, an early tracked crawler, and began producing "tracklayer" tractors.

Following fierce competition from the Fordson company, C.L. Best merged with the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1925 to form the Caterpillar Tractor Company.


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