Bobcat Company
IndustryConstruction Equipment
Founded1947; 74 years ago (1947)
Gwinner, North Dakota, U.S.
HeadquartersWest Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.
ProductsSpecialized Excavators, Loaders, Engines
ParentDoosan Group

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, United States, formerly in Gwinner, North Dakota. Its European headquarters moved in 2017 from Waterloo, Belgium to Dobříš (near Prague) in the Czech Republic, where Bobcat operates one of its European manufacturing plants. 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, side-by-sides, 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]


A Bobcat compact excavator
A Bobcat excavator is digging for the laying of a broadband cable in central Ystad.
A Bobcat excavator is digging for the laying of a broadband cable in central Ystad.

In the 1950s, Louis and Cyril Keller operated Keller Welding and Repair near Rothsay, Minnesota. In 1956, Eddie Velo, a turkey farmer in 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 developed 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, and after the Kellers learned of drawbacks with the belt-driven transmission, they developed and patented a more robust clutch-based transmission system in 1958. The new transmission became the basis of the Melroe M60 loader.

The Kellers' uncle, an equipment dealer for the Melroe Manufacturing Company based in Gwinner, North Dakota, suggested that Melroe 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]

In 1969, Melroe Manufacturing Company was purchased by Clark Equipment Company which was then purchased by Ingersoll-Rand in 1995. In 2007, Ingersoll-Rand sold Clark Equipment Company to the Doosan Group of South Korea, along with the rest of its construction equipment group for US$4.9 billion. The Clark Equipment Company now does business as Bobcat Company. Bobcat Company owns worldwide trademark registrations for its "Bobcat" name.[5]

In 2009, the company was recognized by Hermann Simon as a role model for other small- to medium-sized businesses in his book Hidden Champions: Lessons From 500 of the World's Best Unknown Companies.


  1. ^ "Korean firm buys Bobcat diggers". BBC. 2007-07-30. Retrieved 2007-07-30. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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 ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-01-26. Retrieved 2007-01-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)) and European Community (]