What is now commonly referred to as a genset or generator was originally known as an “electric set” and was first manufactured by Caterpillar in 1939. This fully integrated, diesel-powered, factory-built generator was developed initially for the agricultural, mining, and manufacturing industries. At that time the power grid was not well-developed outside of urban areas, so generating power at rural farms and mine sites was needed for more efficient production. These generators then saw significant usage in military operations beginning in World War II.
Today’s Caterpillar diesel generators range from 36 kW to 17,460 kW of power potential, providing efficient and reliable power. In fact the oldest working Cat® generator set in North America is still working today. Purchased and put into use in 1947, a Cat® generator, originally used to power a grain elevator in Kansas, now powers the same family’s cattle ranch and is the oldest working Cat® generator set on record, in use for over 65 years.
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War Years and Beyond 1939 - 1947