Elton Long is known as the "Father of the Backhoe." He earned 46 patents during his career for designing and improving equipment, but he is best known for designing and producing the first integrated tractor loader/backhoe for Case Construction Equipment. The machine provided improved quality and operating efficiencies, taking on tasks once done by hand, and manufacturing efficiencies, since machines did not need to be retrofitted.
Long built an enduring legacy of innovation and success that continues influencing the construction equipment industry today. His leadership and career are well illustrated by Case's production, between 1957 and 1960, of 11 different models totaling almost 11,000 loader/backhoes. No other previous three-year period in Case's history had seen the release of so many units, and this is credited largely to Long and his impeccable leadership of the engineering department.
As the company's vice president of engineering, Long's contributions included the hydraulic Extendahoe, an extendible dipper stick that added 2.5 feet to the backhoe's dig depth. There was also the first hydraulic system for a construction machine that could be controlled from the operator's seat, the first dozer blade controlled from the operator's seat, the over-center backhoe, load stabilizers and swing mechanisms.
Long was also a decorated pilot in World War II, earning 16 Air Medals, a Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross after flying 100 missions over Europe.