Bobcat Company: A Brief History


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Bobcat S175 Skid Steer in the field (2)

Bobcat Company: A Brief History

While the Bobcat Company is well known for their skid steers, and they have the right to claim that they produced the first ever skid steer, they produce more than skid steers. What started with the Melroe family and the invention of the windrow pickup in 1929 turned into an internationally known business. They currently offer various kinds of loaders, excavators, utility vehicles, and telehandlers. Throughout acquisitions and innovations, the Bobcat brand has survived for nearly 60 years.

It all started when E.G. Melroe invented the windrow pickup in 1929, then later sold the plans to John Deere in 1937 when they needed the money for hospital bills. It wasn’t until after World War II in 1947 that the family got back into the business. Melroe Manufacturing was incorporated that year in Gwinner, ND. Since then, the headquarters has moved to West Fargo, ND.

Bobcat Company has gone through many acquisitions over the years. Their first acquisition was the introduction of the Keller brothers, the inventors of the first loader concept in 1958. The design inspired the M200 and eventually the first ever skid steer in 1960. Next, Melroe became part of Clark Equipment Company of Buchanan, MI in 1969 to remain privately owned. Under Clark, the Melroe division makes several acquisitions until the company was sold to Ingersoll-Rand Company in 1995 and eventually landed under the ownership of Doosan Infracore of South Korea in 2007.

During these years, the Bobcat skid steer survived from inception in 1962. The first model Bobcat, the M400, held a rated capacity of 1100 lbs. and was operated without a cab. Design of the Bobcat frame was standardized in 1976 to allow more efficient production. With their announcement this winter at Intermat 2018, Bobcat Company is certainly going to continue to be a player in the heavy machinery industry.

Proud Service

Our staff is proud to offer Bobcat parts and technical advice to skid steer operators in need. By providing fast, easy and fair service we can help you operate more efficiently. We hope to help you grow as we grow and offer more products along with that growth. Please contact us with any feedback.


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