February 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the world’s first factory-integrated tractor backhoe loader. The Case 320 was the first backhoe loader purpose-built at the plant for construction applications.
“When Case introduced the first backhoe loader in 1957, it revolutionized the construction industry,” Jim Hasler, vice president, Case Construction Equipment, said. “Before that, contractors had made due using farm tractors with loader attachments and sometimes jury-rigged backhoe attachments. With the Case 320, they received the unprecedented versatility of having one machine that could trench, crane and fill.”
Jim Hughes, marketing manager, Case Construction Equipment, said that Case has led the industry ever since that early introduction, with numerous important innovations, such as return-to-dig and return-to-travel functions, over-center backhoe for improved balance, the Case Extendahoe extendible dipperstick, power loader linkage, ride control and the pro control system for better backhoe control and faster cycles, among other industry firsts.
Perhaps the most visible change between the Case 320 and today’s Case M Series 2 backhoe loaders is in the cab and operator’s environment. The earliest models featured a stark steel-framed chair with a back and padded seat.
“The optional deluxe cab package available on the Case M Series 2 machines provides the quietest cab in the industry,” Hughes said.
50 Years of Progress in Features and Function
“The difference in control is remarkable,” Hughes said. “Today’s Case backhoe loaders with pilot controls are simple and intuitive to learn and operate, and require very low effort. Case pilot controls are infinitely adjustable fore and aft, as well as side to side, to improve operator comfort and productivity.”
“Our Case financial services group celebrates 50 years in business in 2007, too,” Hasler said.
“That’s 50 years of seeing to the unique needs of contractors and other construction equipment users — not only in terms of providing the equipment they need to get the job done, but also of structuring payment schedules and financing terms that can help them grow their business. Tens of thousands of owner-operators got their start in the business with a Case backhoe loader and financing that met their needs,” said Hasler.
More than two years ago, Case passed the half million mark in the production of backhoe loader.
“No other manufacturer comes close,” Hughes said, “and we’re well on our way to three-quarters of a million.”
Special 50th Anniversary Edition Models Available
Models built in 2007 will feature a 50th Anniversary decal on the loader arms and backhoe. Customers also can purchase a special 50th Anniversary Edition, which features bundled options and a special limited-edition decal that is different from the standard decal. In addition, Case will have on display at 2007 shows a custom black Anniversary model that will feature a frosted-window treatment of the original Case 320 in one window and in the other a futuristic model.
A book describing the history of the backhoe loader will be available for purchase at shows, including World of Concrete, along with limited-edition prints featuring the past, present and future models.
The Case M Series 2 line includes the 580M, 580M turbo, 580 Super M, 580 Super M+ and the 590 Super M and features the Pro Control System, optional pilot controls and hydraulic loader and backhoe quick couplers for attachment changes from the cab, among other features. The machines range from 76 to 98 hp (56.7 to 73 kW).
For more information, visit www.casece.com.