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History of BOBCAT Tractors

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In a classic tale of American entrepreneurship, Edward Gideon.

In 1947, he founded the Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwynner, North Dakota.

Among his outstanding inventions was the pickup of the Melroe, a combine attachment that harvested swaths of grain. And a picker for root crops, a spring-tine harrow for weeding sowing crops.

Melroe died in 1955, leaving his sons Leicester, Clifford, Roger and Irving, and son-in-law Eugene Dahl, in charge of the business.

A successful farm sales business changed course in 1958 after the brothers met with inventors Cyril and Louis Keller from Rotsey in the western part of Minnesota.

Kellers repaired equipment for local farmers, including a farmer from Turkey Eddie Velo. Once in 1957, Velo stopped at the Keller workshop with an unpleasant problem.

His two-story barns needed to cleaned, but his tractor loader could not maneuver around the vertical posts in the barns.

Manual labor — unpleasant, dirty work — was the only alternative.

Bicycle needed a lightweight self-propelled loader, which raised to the second floor of the shed and sufficiently maneuvered to clear the support legs.

Kellers assembled a simple front loader with two drive wheels and a small rear wheel.

Powered by a 6 hp engine with a tether starter, it controlled to the left and right by independent control levers using a unique clutch mechanism.

The front tine forks were made of bars from the Rothsay Prison, the only steel that was strong enough to do the job.

The loader worked so well that Kellers built six more and sold them to neighboring farmers soon.

They invited Keller to demonstrate the porter at the Minnesota State Fair, where he gathered huge crowds.

Bobcat after 1958

Soon, uncle Kellers, a Melroe agricultural trader in Elbow Lake, Minnesota, introduced his nephews to the Melroe brothers in the summer of 1958.

Understanding the potential, Melroes agreed to an agreement with the Keller brothers. Louis and Cyril Keller became employees of the Melroe Manufacturing Company.

They were commissioned to develop and manufacture the first Melroe self-propelled loader.