Bobcat Skid Steer Loaders – The Early Days

January 8th, 2008 admin Posted in Featured Retailers No Comments »

In late fall of 1947 a business known as Keller Manufacturing opened for business in Rothsay Minnesota. Mr. Louis Keller was a sole proprietor up to around 1953 and then his brother Cyril joined.

Soon after Cyril Keller became involved with Keller Manufacturing a steady customer by the name of Mr. Eddie Velo approached the Keller brothers with an issue he needed solved. Ed Velo ran a turkey production business and he needed a piece of equipment that would make it easy to get rid of his Turkey manure problem. Now, this problem was not so easy to solve, as Eddie had to clean up manure in his barns at two levels. The second level meant he could not use a heavy loader, not to mention that the standard loaders were much to large and cumbersome.

The First Keller Loader – The Deal Was Struck

Ed Velo didn’t get a mechanical solution for his turkey manure problem immediately. Basically he was just asking the Keller brothers if they could design a “mini loader” (not what they called it then though) to increase his productivity. The overnight solution was certainly not forthcoming.

Eventually Eddie, Cyril, and Louis put their heads together and struck a deal. The Kellers would design a loader, complete with customer drive chain, and Eddie would pay for their time if the new loader worked. Eddie promised to pay back the design costs if it didn’t work, but not for the materials. The Keller brothers could still use whatever working parts they created for other projects.

On February 4th, 1957 Ed Velo went to work moving turkey dung out of his barns. The loader worked very well (in fact much better than they had even imagined). There was one snag however – the belt drive was awkward and prone to belt slippage. Soon after the first prototype was outfitted with a clutch system to rectify this problem.

Eddie Velo
EddieVelo

Enter the Men With the Money

Between ’57 and ’58 the Kellers were actively building more loaders that had the exact same design as the one they built for Eddie’s barns. They were talking with other poultry producers and farm owners in an attempt to solve some of their productivity problems. Their loaders were becoming a great success, but now they had their own problem. They needed to develop an assembly line so they could build their loaders faster and more efficiently. By the way, the first engine used on these initial loaders was the 6.6 HP Kohler.

The Kellers spoke with the local banks but they wouldn’t front enough money to get their assembly line off the ground. They tried talking to the the local town authorities but they wouldn’t help out enough either. They were basically stymied. They did have one offer, but that offer included rights to the patent of their Keller loader. That was NOT going to happen.

Along Comes Les Melroe

Although the loader was peaking interest in the local community it was still a relatively unknown piece of farm machinery. Les Melroe of Gwinner North Dakota was watching these early stages of the Keller loader. He asked Cyril and Louis to bring one of their loaders to the 1958 Minnesota State Fair and display it in the Melroe booth. The Keller brothers did so with the last loader in their shop. It sold off the Minnesota state fair grounds. There was SO much interest in the Keller loader, Melroe made a deal with Cyril and Louis.

Keller Brothers’ Last Loader Shown at 1958 Minnesota State Fair

After the State Fair an agreement was set in place whereby Les Melroe would procure the exclusive manufacturing rights on a royalty basis. The Keller brothers would be employed by the Melroe company to develop the new loader (all of Les Melroe’s workers were required to keep up production on the Melroe combine attachments). In 1958 loader development began in Gwinner, North Dakota.

The Keller Melroe Team
The Keller/Melroe Team

First Prototype Keller/Melroe
First Keller/Melroe Prototype

The Melroe/Keller Loaders Start Coming off the Line

Melroe/Keller Loader #1: Eventually, Cyril became the head sales rep for the new Melroe loaders that he and Louis designed for manufacturing. There were various loaders, and the M60 loader was the eventual culmination of these early Melroe/Keller loaders. Cyril travelled all over the place selling the new loaders and Louis stayed in Gwinner designing and improving their loader(s).

Melroe/Keller Loader #2: The 2nd Melroe/Keller loader was the M200 self-propelled loader . This model was similar to the M60 Improved with two exceptions. First, the boom upright was changed to a more easily fabricated straight version. Second, the color was changed to Farmhand red and implement yellow. These first two models worked well on the hard surfaces typical in the poultry industry.

Melroe/Keller Loader #3: The 3rd Melroe/Keller loader was the M400 self-propelled loader which came about in 1960. This was the 1st four-wheel drive skid steer loader. Louis modified the M200 to incorporate a second axle. During the first try the loader would not turn until Louis noticed that the variable speed pulley was not engaging. This is when the first skid steer loader was invented.

Enter The First Bobcat Skid Steer Loader

Many different prototypes were being developed to accommodate different applications in the field (farm fields to be exact), and there was a few hiccups along the way. They eventually developed the M400 series loaders running with the ONAN engine. This was given the name “The Melroe Bobcat”, and was being sold by 1962. It was VERY successful.

This 1st Bobcat model was painted white. White was picked to satisfy the new farming markets that they were providing for – namely the dairy and fertilizer farms. Cleanliness was important to these kinds of industry.

The M440 Melroe/Keller loader was the true skid steer model because of it’s ability for easy steering due to it’s front-to-back weight ratio. It’s weight and balance configuration enabled ease of steering regardless if there was a load on the loader or not.

First Melroe/Keller Bobcat Skid Steer Loader M440
1st Bobcat Skid Steer Loader from Les Melroe and the Kellers – M440

How Did They Get The Name “Bobcat Skid Steer Loader”

The guy who invented (or came up with) the name Bobcat was Lynn Bickett. Lynn looked up Bobcat in the Webster’s Dictionary, and found that the Bobcat was described as Tough, Agile, and Quick. This described the Bobcat loader to a tee. The skid-steer portion of the name is a result of the above mentioned weight & balance design, enabling the skid-steer loader maneuvering ability.

Hence the name was born – “The Bobcat Skid Steer Loader“. They created a slogan for the new Bobcat as well – “Tough, quick, and agile

The Rest is Bobcat Skid Steer History

After the success of the Bobcat skid steer loaders, many more models, improvements, and engines were prototyped, developed, and marketed. The new Bobcats, like the M444, were basically the same model as the M400, save for a pressurized oil system. Newer, and more efficient technologies were incorporated, and this included different Kohler and Onan engines.

These early M400 series Bobcat skid steers stayed in production until mid 1982. That’s a very long run folks. This is what you call a staggering success. We see a full line of Bobcat excavators and skid steer loaders on the market available in the new century and the time of this writing (January 2008).

Bobcat loaders now comes with a plethora of attachments, and devices for many different working applications. New attachments are being prototyped still today.

Modern Day Bobcat Loaders and Excavators

We have thrown together some quick reference pages on the Bobcat loader and excavator parts and the different application attachments. We mention some of the different many Bobcat dealers as well. Below is short menu of just a small portion of the Bobcat parts and attachments informational pages we have:

Bobcat Dealers

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Amarillo, TX

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Clovis, NM

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Lubbock, TX

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Midland, TX

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Odessa, TX

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Perryton, TX

Associated Supply Co., Inc.
Wichita Falls, TX

Beard Equipment Co.
Mobile, AL

Beard Equipment Co.
Panama City, FL

Beard Equipment Co.
Pensacola, FL

Beard Equipment Company
Mobile, AL

Beard Equipment Company d/b/a Berco Equipment
Mobile, AL

Bingham Equipment Company
Buckeye, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Casa Grande, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Cottonwood, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Mesa, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Parker, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Roll, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Tucson, AZ

Bingham Equipment Company
Yuma, AZ

Bobcat Enterprises, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH

Bobcat Enterprises, Inc.
Hilliard, OH

Bobcat Enterprises, Inc.
Lexington, KY

Bobcat Enterprises, Inc.
Louisville, KY

Bobcat Enterprises, Inc.
Mt. Orab, OH

Bobcat Enterprises, Inc.
Reynoldsburg, OH

Bobcat Mid-Atlantic, LLC
Hagerstown, MD

Bobcat of Anderson
Anderson, IN

Bobcat of Baltimore, LLC
Baltimore, MD

Bobcat of Broward
Pompano Beach, FL

Bobcat of Calgary
Calgary, AB

Bobcat of Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids, IA

Bobcat of Central Florida, Inc
Orlando, FL

Bobcat of Columbia
Columbia, SC

Bobcat of Edmonton
Edmonton, AB

Bobcat of Greenville
Piedmont, SC

Bobcat of Houston
Houston, TX

Bobcat of Houston, a Division of Berry Companies, Inc.
Houston, TX

Bobcat of Indy North
Whitestown, IN

Bobcat of Iowa City
Iowa City, IA

Bobcat of Janesville
Janesville, WI

Bobcat of Lancaster, LLC
Lancaster, PA

Bobcat of Long Island
Medford, NY

Bobcat of Mid-Hudson
Newburgh, NY

Bobcat of New York City
Maspeth, NY

Bobcat of New York, Inc.
Maspeth, NY

Bobcat of North Jersey
Kenvil, NJ

Bobcat of Ocala, Inc.
Ocala, FL

Bobcat of Omaha
Omaha, NE

Bobcat of Orlando West
Oakland, FL

Bobcat of Palm Beach
West Palm Beach, FL

Bobcat of Phoenix
Phoenix, AZ

Bobcat of Quad Cities
Davenport, IA

Bobcat of Red Deer
Red Deer, AB

Bobcat of Rockford
Cherry Valley, IL

Bobcat of Sarasota
Sarasota, FL

Bobcat of Saratoga, LLC
Saratoga Springs, NY

Bobcat of Spartanburg
Spartanburg, SC

Bobcat of Tampa Bay
Tampa, FL

Bobcat of the Rockies
Commerce City, CO

Bobcat of the Rockies
Grand Junction, CO

Bobcat of the Rockies
Greeley, CO

Bobcat of the Rockies
Parker, CO

Bobcat of the Rockies, a Div. of Berry Companies, Inc.
Golden, CO

Bobcat of the Treasure Coast
Ft. Pierce, FL

Bobcat of Toledo
Walbridge, OH

Bobcat of Westchester
Elmsford, NY

Bright Equipment, Inc., dba Bobcat of Indy
Indianapolis, IN

Cervus Contractor’s Equipment, LP
Calgary, AB

Colorado Machinery
Colorado springs, CO

Colorado Machinery
Frederick, CO

Colorado Machinery
Ft. Collins, CO

Colorado Machinery
Pueblo West, CO

Comercial Laeisz Honduras, S.A. de CV
Tegucigalpa,

Conley Lott Nichols of Texas, Inc.
Denton, TX

Conley Lott Nichols of Texas, Inc.
Fort Worth, TX

Conley Lott Nichols of Texas, Inc.
Longview, TX

Conley Lott Nichols of Texas, Inc.
McKinney, TX

Conley Lott Nichols of Texas, Inc.
San Antonio, TX

Conley Lott Nichols of Texas, Inc.
Waco, TX

Conley, Lott, Nichols of Texas, Inc.
Irving, TX

Cook Equipment Company
Fullerton, CA

Cook Equipment Company – Orange
Fullerton, CA

Cook Equipment Company of Riverside
Riverside, CA

Cook Equipment Company-Los Angeles
Cerritos, CA

Cook Rental Company
Fullerton, CA

Craig Taylor Equipment Co.
Anchorage, AK

Craig Taylor Equipment Co.
Fairbanks, AK

Craig Taylor Equipment Co.
Soldotna, AK

Craig Taylor Equipment Co.
Wasilla, AK

Delaware Valley Bobcat
., DE

Emery Equipment Sales & Rentals, Inc.
Baton Rouge, LA

Equipment Rentals Inc.
Watertown, NY

Garden State Bobcat, Inc.
Freehold, NJ

Garden State Bobcat, Inc.
Greenbrook, NJ

Garden State Bobcat, Inc.
Sewell, NJ

Garden State Bobcat, Inc.
Trenton, NJ

H&E Equipment Service-Rental Div.
Gonzales, LA

H&E Equipment Services
Albuquerque, NM

H&E Equipment Services
Alexandria, LA

H&E Equipment Services
Bakersfield, CA

H&E Equipment Services
Baton Rouge, LA

H&E Equipment Services
Belgrade, MT

H&E Equipment Services
Belle Chase, LA

H&E Equipment Services
Billings, MT

H&E Equipment Services
Boise, ID

H&E Equipment Services
Bossier City, LA

H&E Equipment Services
Charlotte, NC

H&E Equipment Services
Colorado Springs, CO

H&E Equipment Services
Corpus Christi, TX

H&E Equipment Services
Couer d’Alene, ID

H&E Equipment Services
Dallas, TX

H&E Equipment Services
El Cahon, CA

H&E Equipment Services
Fort Myers, FL

H&E Equipment Services
Henderson, CO

H&E Equipment Services
Houston, TX

H&E Equipment Services
Jackson, MS

H&E Equipment Services
Jacksonville, FL

H&E Equipment Services
Kenner, LA

H&E Equipment Services
La Mirada, CA

H&E Equipment Services
Little Rock, AR

H&E Equipment Services
Memphis, TN

H&E Equipment Services
Missoula, MT

H&E Equipment Services
North Las Vegas, NV

H&E Equipment Services
Ogden, UT

H&E Equipment Services
Oklahoma City, OK

H&E Equipment Services
Phoenix, AZ

H&E Equipment Services
Salt Lake City, UT

H&E Equipment Services
San Antonio, TX

H&E Equipment Services
Santa Fe Springs, CA

H&E Equipment Services
Sparks, NV

H&E Equipment Services
Springdale, AR

H&E Equipment Services
St. George, UT

H&E Equipment Services
Sulphur, LA

H&E Equipment Services
Tampa, FL

H&E Equipment Services
Trussville, AL

H&E Equipment Services
Tucson, AZ

H&E Equipment Services
Tulsa, OK

H&E Equipment Services
Winter Garden, FL

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Abingdon, VA

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Arden, NC

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Ashland, VA

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Baltimore, MD

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Baton Rouge, LA

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Charlotte, NC

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Columbia, SC

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Norfolk, VA

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Raleigh, NC

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Roanoke, VA

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Warrenton, VA

H&E Equipment Services, Inc.
Winston-Salem, NC

H&E Equipment Services-Contract Services Division
Lake Charles, LA

H&E Equipment Services-HI-Lift Div.
Decatur, GA

H&E Equipment Services-Hi-Lift Div.
Grand Prairie, TX

H&E Equipment Services-Reman Center
Belle Chase, LA

Highway Equipment & Supply Co.
Drums, PA

Highway Equipment & Supply Co.
Harrisburg, PA

Highway Equipment & Supply Co.
Lititz, PA

Highway Equipment & Supply Co.
Lock Haven, PA

Hugg & Hall
Camden, AR

Hugg & Hall
Fort Smith, AR

Hugg & Hall
Springdale, AR

Hugg & Hall Equipment
Little Rock, AR

Intermountain Bobcat Division
Salt Lake City, UT

K.C. Bobcat, Inc.
Grandview, MO

K.C. Bobcat, Inc.
Olathe, KS

K.C. Bobcat, Inc.
Platte City, MO

K.C. Bobcat, Inc.
Warrensburg, MO

K.C. Bobcat, Inc., a Division of Berry Companies, Inc.
Blue Springs, MO

Lano Equipment, Inc.
Anoka, MN

Lano Equipment, Inc.
Shakopee, MN

Leppo Rents/Bobcat of Akron
Tallmadge, OH

Leppo Rents/Bobcat of Canton
Canton, OH

Leppo Rents/Bobcat of Cleveland
Bedford Heights, OH

Leppo Rents/Bobcat of Rootstown
Rootstown, OH

Leppo Rents/Bobcat of Wooster
Wooster, OH

Leppo Rents/Bobcat of Youngstown
Youngstown, OH

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co.
Gering, NE

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co.
Kansas City, MO

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co.
Springfield, MO

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Des Moines, IA

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Dodge City, KS

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Fort Dodge, IA

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Grand Island, NE

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Great Bend, KS

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Lincoln, NE

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
North Platte, NE

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Omaha, NE

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Sioux City, IA

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Topeka, KS

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Ulysses, KS

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Waterloo, IA

Murphy Tractor & Equipment Co., Inc.
Wichita, KS

North Jersey Bobcat, Inc.
Totowa, NJ

Northside Tool Rental
Marietta, GA

Northside Tool Rental
Norcross, GA

Northside Tool Rental, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

Northside Tool Rental, Inc.
Doraville, GA

Northside Tool Rental, Inc.
Riverdale, GA

Page Equipment
Elyria, OH

Perimeter Bobcat, Inc.
Atlanta, GA

Perimeter Bobcat, Inc.
Gainesville, GA

Perimeter Bobcat, Inc.
Lake City, GA

Perimeter Bobcat, Inc.
Marietta, GA

Prime Energy Systems
Fairfield, NJ

Prime Energy Systems
Mobile, AL

Puerto Rico Wire Products Inc.
Hato Rey, PR

Puerto Rico Wire Products Inc.
Mayaguez, PR

Puerto Rico Wire Products Inc.
Ponce, PR

Puerto Rico Wire Products Inc.
San Juan, PR

RECO Equipment Inc.
Monroe, OH

RECO Equipment, Inc.
Columbus, OH

RECO Equipment, Inc.
Cranberry Township, PA

RECO Equipment, Inc.
Morristown, OH

RECO Equipment, Inc.
Perrysburg, OH

RECO Equipment, Inc.
Richfield, OH

RECO Equipment, Inc. dba Bobcat of Pittsburgh
Cranberry Township, PA

Rexco Equipment, Inc.
Cedar Rapids, IA

Rexco Equipment, Inc.
Davenport, IA

Rexco Equipment, Inc.
Des Moines, IA

Rexco Equipment, Inc.
Gretna, NE

RSC Equipment Rental
Scottsdale, AZ

RSC Equipment Rental
Augusta, GA

RSC Equipment Rental
Baton Rouge, LA

RSC Equipment Rental
Beckley, WV

RSC Equipment Rental
Bend, OR

RSC Equipment Rental
Bonnyville, AB

RSC Equipment Rental
Casper, WY

RSC Equipment Rental
Cedar Rapids, IA

RSC Equipment Rental
Columbia, SC

RSC Equipment Rental
Columbus, OH

RSC Equipment Rental
Denver, CO

RSC Equipment Rental
Evansville, IN

RSC Equipment Rental
Flagstaff, AZ

RSC Equipment Rental
Gallup, NM

RSC Equipment Rental
Grand Rapids, MI

RSC Equipment Rental
Greensboro, NC

RSC Equipment Rental
Hagerstown, MD

RSC Equipment Rental
Henderson, NV

RSC Equipment Rental
Houston, TX

RSC Equipment Rental
Jacksonville, AR

RSC Equipment Rental
Jacksonville, FL

RSC Equipment Rental
Kamloops, BC

RSC Equipment Rental
Lees Summit, MO

RSC Equipment Rental
Louisville, KY

RSC Equipment Rental
Manassas, VA

RSC Equipment Rental
Memphis, TN

RSC Equipment Rental
Milton, ON

RSC Equipment Rental
Montreal, PQ

RSC Equipment Rental
New Castle, DE

RSC Equipment Rental
Oakdale, MN

RSC Equipment Rental
Omaha, NE

RSC Equipment Rental
Riverside, CA

RSC Equipment Rental
Saskatoon, SK

RSC Equipment Rental
Sioux Falls, SD

RSC Equipment Rental
Tacoma, WA

RSC Equipment Rental
Thomasville, PA

RSC Equipment Rental
Tulsa, OK

RSC Equipment Rental
Urbana, IL

RSC Equipment Rental
Vicksburg, MS

RSC Equipment Rental
Waukesha, WI

RSC Equipment Rental
West Valley City, UT

RSC Equipment Rental
Wichita, KS

Scott Machinery Company
Cedar City, UT

Scott Machinery Company
Idaho Falls, ID

Scott Machinery Company
Salt Lake City, UT

SE Equipment, Inc.
Piedmont, SC

Smith Bros. Contracting Equipment, Inc
West Palm Beach, FL

Snook Equipment Rental Inc.
Morris, IL

Swanston Equipment Corporation
Fargo, ND

Swanston Equipment Corporation
Minot, ND

Tom Growney Co., Inc.
Farmington, NM

Tom Growney Equipment, Inc.
Albuquerque, NM

Tom Growney Equipment, Inc.
El Paso, TX

Tom Growney Equipment, Inc.
Hobbs, NM

White Star Machinery & Supply
Garden City, KS

White Star Machinery & Supply
Topeka, KS

White Star Machinery & Supply
Tulsa, OK

White Star Machinery & Supply
Wichita, KS

White Star Machinery & Supply Co., a Div. of Berry Companies, Inc.
Wichita, KS

Williams Equipment
Memphis, TN

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Clevland, MS

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Jackson, TN

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Jonesboro, AR

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Memphis, TN

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Oxford, MS

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Richland, MS

Williams Equipment & Supply Co., Inc.
Shannon, MS

Research Sources:

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Goods Skateboard Shop in Seattle

January 7th, 2008 admin Posted in Featured Retailers No Comments »

Our first featured retailer is a Seattle based skateboard shop (called “skateshop” by skateboarders) called Goods. This article was written by Adam Henry, and was found in a fantastic new skateboard magazine known as Color (based in Vancouver). Read the rest of this entry »

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Featured Retailers

January 7th, 2008 admin Posted in Featured Retailers No Comments »

In 2008 Zazbot.com will be starting yet another new category – Featured Retailers. We will posting information on specific retailers that we find interesting. Fairly simple concept actually.

Some may question why we would bother writing (or submitting) information on what some may see as our competition, but we don’t see any web site, retailer, wholesaler, or entity as competition. We simply want to post as much interesting content as possible within the product based arena.

We look forward to bringing these pieces to you.

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