While you're likely to recognize the yellow machinery dotting your neighborhood construction site, you might not know how how Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) came to earn its namesake. 

What does a company specializing in heavy machinery share in common with a very hungry insect? Apparently more than you would think. 

In the early 1900s, Holt Manufacturing Company sought a way to improve the mobility of its steam tractors. Benjamin Holt eventually decided to replace the wheels of the tractors with wooden tracks bolted to chains. 

A bystander just happened to notice that the movement of the new tractor resembled that of a caterpillar. Agreeing, Holt named his innovation "Caterpillar." 

After a trademark and a little M&A, Caterpillar Inc. was born. 

Now investors are hoping the stock will blossom into a beautiful butterfly.

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