As we know, skid steer loaders or simply skid loaders are compact rigid-frame construction machines which help to accomplish various tasks such as excavation, grading, and demolishing. Nowadays they are widely used and it is hard to imagine that these extremely handy machines did not exist until the middle of the 20th century. In this article let’s look at brief history of skid steer loaders.
As people joke, it all started with turkey manure. In 1957, Eddie Velo, a farmer from Minnesota, decided to expand his turkey business but faced the problem of cleaning turkey manure from his barns. In search of solutions, he went to his friends, Cyril and Louis Keller, two brothers who had a great reputation for ingenuity and owned Keller Manufacturing and Repair Shop. At that time, some construction machines already existed, but standard loaders were large and lacked maneuverability, so they were impossible to use indoors. To address the problem, he Keller brothers came up with a great invention. This is how the first three-wheeled front-end loader was born.
After getting positive feedback from Velo and six other farmers who purchased skid loaders for their poultry businesses, the brothers decided to look for investors to start mass production. At a trade show in 1958, Melroe Manufacturing Company of Gwinner, North Dakota noticed Keller’s machine and decided to purchase the rights to them. The owner of the company, Edward Melroe also hired the Keller brothers to continue refining their invention. As a result of this partnership, the M-200 Melroe self-propelled loader was introduced at the end of 1958. It was sold for $1,390 and had four available attachments. In 1962, the advertising agent of Melroe company came up with “Bobcat” as the trade name for Keller skid loaders and developed the “tough, quick, and agile” slogan.
Nowadays, plenty of companies around the world, including WEITAI, design and manufacture skid steer loaders. Thanks to the Keller brothers, inventors of the first skid loader, for contributing greatly to the progress of the farming industry.