Bobcat Company

Bobcat Company
Industry Construction Equipment
Founded 1947 (1947)
Gwinner, North Dakota, U.S.
Headquarters West Fargo, North Dakota
Products Specialized Excavators, Loaders, Engines

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. 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, three-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. After the Kellers learned of drawbacks to the belt-driven transmission, they 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 Melroe Manufacturing Company based in Gwinner, ND, advocated for Melroe to market 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. 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]


  1. "Korean firm buys Bobcat diggers". BBC. 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
  2. Hermann Simon mentioned this company in his correspondent Book as an example of a "Hidden Champion" (Simon, Hermann: Hidden Champions of the 21st Century : Success Strategies of unknown World Market Leaders. London: Springer, 2009.- ISBN 978-0-387-98147-5.)
  3. Keller, Joe. "How the Bobcat Skid -Steer Loader Came To Be". Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  4. Karolevitz, Robert (1968). "E.G." Inventor By Necessity. Aberdeen, SD: North Plains Press. p. 135.
  5. Representative examples of U.S. trademark registrations for the BOBCAT mark include nos. 890,034, 670,566 and 1,604,367. Copies of the registration certificates and information on these registrations are accessible by their registration number through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Electronic Search System available at Representative examples of BOBCAT trademark registrations outside the United States include Australian Registration Nos. 707,659 and 198,207 and European Community Registration No. 29,371. Information on these registrations can be accessed through the countries’ trademark offices [Australia ( and European Community (].
  6. The Associated Press Stylebook specifically recognizes “Bobcat” as a “trademark for a brand of skid-steer loaders, excavators and backhoes.”

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