Melroe Manufacturing Company

Bobcat Company
Industry Construction Equipment
Founded 1947, Gwinner, North Dakota
Headquarters West Fargo, North Dakota
Products Specialized Excavators, Loaders, Engines
Parent Doosan Group

Bobcat Company is an American-based manufacturer of farm and construction equipment, part of Doosan Group of South Korea. Its American headquarters is in West Fargo, North Dakota, USA (formerly in Gwinner, North Dakota - a site which is now strictly a manufacturing facility). Its European headquarters is in Waterloo, Belgium. It was a subsidiary of the Ingersoll Rand Company from 1995 until July 2007 when it was sold for US$4.9 billion to Doosan Infracore.[1] The company sells skid steer loaders, compact excavators, compact utility vehicles, compact tractors and other small hydraulic equipment under the Bobcat brand name. It is one of the few major manufacturing companies operating in North Dakota.[2]


In the 1950s, Louis and Cyril Keller operated Keller Welding and Repair near Rothsay, Minnesota. In 1956 Eddie Velo, a turkey farmer from the area, described to the Kellers a need for a machine small enough to maneuver inside a pole barn, and light enough to operate on its upper level. The brothers worked out a small, 3-wheeled design with a belt-driven transmission, and delivered it to Velo on February 4, 1957.[3] Velo allowed the Kellers full access to his operations. The Kellers soon learned of drawbacks to the belt-driven transmission, and developed and patented a clutch-based transmission system in 1958 which was more robust. The new transmission became the basis of the Melroe M60 loader; their uncle, an equipment dealer for the Gwinner, ND-based Melroe Manufacturing Company advocated for that company marketing the machines, resulting in Melroe inviting the Kellers to exhibit at the 1958 Minnesota State Fair. Melroe introduced the four-wheeled M400 model "Skid-Steer Loader" in 1960, and began using "Bobcat" as a trade name for such products in 1962, on the 440-model loader. Les Melroe and advertising agent Lynn Bickett settled on the "Bobcat" name while exchanging name ideas during a drive between Minneapolis and Gwinner, and Bickett and Sylvan Melroe developed the "tough, quick, and agile" slogan used in advertising the early loaders.[4]

Melroe was purchased by Clark Equipment Company in 1969, and then by Ingersoll-Rand in 1995. Doosan currently owns Clark Equipment Company, which does business as Bobcat Company.

The company was recognized by Hermann Simon as a role model for other small- to medium-sized businesses in his book Hidden Champions.

Bobcat Company owns worldwide trademark registrations for its "Bobcat" name.[5] "Bobcat" only accurately refers to equipment manufactured by Bobcat Company.[6]

External links

  • Bobcat Company website
  • Bobcat European Company website


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