History of Bobcat and the Skid Steer Loader

25th July, 2013

Who are Bobcat Company and how did they come to be?

What became Bobcat Company originated in Minnesota as a small fabrication and repair company ran by the Keller brothers. In 1956 they were approached by Eddie Velo who required a small and manoeuvrable loader for use in a turkey barn. A prototype of what would become known as a Skid Steer Loader was produced and put to work. Refinements were carried out, changing from a belt driven drive to a clutch drive which they patented and further units were built and sold. In 1958 the Kellers uncle, a dealer for the Melroe Manufacturing company, introduced Les Melroe to the brother and their creation. Les was impressed and they were invited to show off their loader at the Melroe booth at the Minnesota State Fair. It was a success and Melroe began production of the M60 model Skid Steer Loader based on the brothers original clutch-driven prototype. Production of further models and advancements continued over the decades into the models we sell today.

As for the company itself they began trading as Bobcat in 1962, using the slogan “tough, quick, and agile”. In 1969 Melroe Manufacturing was bought by Clarks Equipment Company, then Ingersoll-Rand in 1985. The most recent purchase of Bobcat Company is by South Korean Doosan in 2007 for £2.2billion.