In 1958, a company by the name of Melroe Manufacturing, based in North Dakota, USA, purchased the rights to, what was then known as, the ‘Three-Wheeled Keller Loader’.
The Kellers were brothers from Western Minnesota who began their careers repairing machinery for local farmers. One day they were asked by a farmer to design a self-propelled loader to replace the copious amounts of hand labour that currently took place on his farm. From there, a simple front-end loader with two drive wheels and a small rear caster wheel was born!
Melroe developed the design further and in 1960 launched the M400 model, which, with its four-wheel-drive, was the world’s first true skid-steer loader and provided the cornerstone from which the global compact equipment industry was to emerge.
In 1962, Melroe introduced the M440, an improved version of the M400. A Melroe associate suggested that the loader be called a ‘Bobcat’ in honour of the prairie animal which is ‘tough, quick and agile’ (able to turn 180°at full speed), and thus the Bobcat brand was born.
Fast forward six decades and well over a million loaders later, Bobcat products have changed the way the world works and the Bobcat brand – and its fabulous success story – is a worldwide icon!