1939 Caterpillar RD8 crawler tractor on logging duty

A 1939 Caterpillar RD8 being used for logging.

Pictured here, in 1939, is a Caterpillar RD8 crawler tractor on logging duty near Campbell River, Vancouver Island.

The configuration of this RD8 features a Hyster brand towing winch to handle the tracked logging arch. Also shown is a front-mounted winch for dozer blade usage.

As far back as 1929, the Portland, Oregon-based Hyster Company manufactured towing winches for the Caterpillar. Hyster built winches for the 60 model as well as subsequent machines, including the Cat Diesel 75. By the 1970s, the Hyster Company had branched out manufacturing-related logging equipment, forklifts, compactors and asphalt rollers.

In spite of 1929’s Great Depression, the evolution of the Caterpillar crawler tractor continued. From the gas-powered Model 10 to its first diesel crawler, the Diesel Sixty, in 1931, the Great Depression didn’t stop it from evolving.

The introduction of the Caterpillar RD8 came in 1935. It was powered by a new six-cylinder Cat D13000 diesel engine, rated at over 82 kW (110 hp).

The RD8 1H-Series had a production run of just over 10,000 units, leading to the nomenclature of simply, ‘D8’.

With a top operating speed of only 1,000 rpm, the D13000 engine, with upgrades to 97 kW (130 hp), powered the D8 Caterpillar crawler line for two decades. The last Cat 2U D8 series rolled off the line in 1955.

Fortunately, the Simcoe County Museum has an early 1940s Caterpillar I-H Series D8 crawler. The Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) Canada maintains and operates the machine at demonstration events.

The Bendickson Logging Co. had been operating since the early 1900s on Vancouver Island. Starting out, it would only use teams of horses and skilled loggers.

Operating the pictured Caterpillar RD8 crawler is Harold Bendickson, handling some good sized old-growth timber. More than a century later, the Bendickson descendants continue to work in logging and other related business efforts.

By HCEA Canada

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, HCEA Canada reluctantly has to cancel the annual October event, the ‘Last Blast,’ for the safety of all concerned.

Please check www.hceacanada.org for updates. When our events continue, spectators will be able to see more than 60 restored pieces of vintage construction equipment in action.

HCEA Canada is a Proud Community Heritage Partner of the Simcoe County Museum.