Skip to main content

Skid Steer Loader

Location: West Fargo, ND, USA
Date: 1957Creator(s): Keller, Cyril and Louis

Brothers Cyril and Louis Keller designed and built the first small, lightweight, three-wheel, front-end loader in their machinist-blacksmith shop in Rothsay, Minnesota. A local farmer wanted to mechanize cleaning manure from his obstacle-filled, two-story turkey barn. The machine, first used in 1957, was able to turn completely around within its own length. Melroe Manufacturing Company, Gwinner, ND purchased the rights to the Keller loader and hired the Kellers to continue development of the loader in 1958. The first four-wheel, true skid-steer loader was the M400 manufactured in 1960. The "Bobcat" name was first used in 1962 on the M440. The skid-steer loader's utility comes from its turning ability and its many versatile attachments. Bobcat pioneered the durable and dependable hydrostatic drive for the loader. The skid-steer loader, used worldwide in continually evolving applications, has reduced the need for human labor and improved the speed and economy of projects in agricultural, construction, manufacturing, shipping, and landscaping industries.

Tags: Era: 1950-1959
Innovation designated by:
Skid Steer Loader
Courtesy WikiCommons/Tennen-Gas (CC BY-SA 3.0)
A modern skid steer loader, Toyota Jobsun 4SDK6 model
Address:
Bonanzaville Historic Museum
West Fargo, ND, USA

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.