Bobcat Mourns Passing of Skid-Steer Inventor
Bobcat Company has paid tribute to Louis Keller, the co-inventor of the first skid-steer loader, as the company mourns his passing on 11 July at the age of 87. Together with his brother Cyril, Louis invented the first skid-steer loader, which was based around a three-wheeled loader they developed in 1957 for a turkey farmer near Rothsay in Minnesota.
Rich Goldsbury, President of Bobcat Americas and Oceania, issued a statement saying: “We were saddened to learn about the passing of Louis Keller, one of the inventors of the compact, three-wheeled machine that led to the first Bobcat-branded skid-steer loader. Louis was among those honoured in 2004 as Bobcat received the ASAE 'Historic Landmark' award — a recognition reserved only for the most important agricultural innovations in American history. And two years ago, during our 50th anniversary, we celebrated the achievements of Louis and his brother along with everyone else who has helped make Bobcat a success over the last five decades.”
The Keller Loader had two drive wheels and a rear caster wheel, and the brothers built half a dozen more in the first year. In September 1958, they were hired by the Melroe brothers at Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, North Dakota, which was later to become Bobcat Company. Using the brothers’ design, Melroe introduced the M60 Self-Propelled Loader and, in 1960, Louis added a rear drive axle, resulting in the M400 model, the world’s first true skid-steer loader.
Mr Goldsbury added: "The Keller brothers’ drive to help make common jobs easier for farmers and others helped launch the compact equipment industry, and their contributions to Bobcat and the State of North Dakota in particular will never be forgotten.”