Bobcat Co. has received, along with members of the Keller family, an agricultural engineering Historic Landmark award for the invention and development of the skid-steer loader. Representatives from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) presented the award to the Keller family and Bobcat at ceremonies held June 9, 2004, in Gwinner, ND.
In 1957, brothers Cyril and Louis Keller designed and built a three-wheeled, front-end loader at the request of a local turkey grower. They sold the patent to Melroe Manufacturing Co. — known today as Bobcat - where they continued their pioneering work to develop the world’s first skid-steer loader, introduced in 1960. The "Bobcat" name was added two years later.
The ASAE recognition coincides with the announcement that Bobcat has built its 600,000th skid-steer loader.
"Strong acceptance of the skid-steer concept has made it possible for us to reach this significant manufacturing milestone three years after we topped the 500,000 mark," said Bobcat President Mike Ryan.
In 75 years the ASAE has only recognized 42 other developments in agricultural engineering in the United States. The skid-steer loader becomes the 43rd to receive a Historic Landmark award, alongside such agricultural pioneers as John Deere’s plow; McCormick’s reaper; Eli Whitney’s cotton gin; the Luebben round baler; and the Holt Brothers’ combine.