E.G. Melroe and the Melroe Family
Founder / Melroe Manufacturing & Bobcat Company / 1892 - 1955 / Inducted 2014
The Melroe family story is one of innovation and industry firsts in product design, technology, and safety. Patriarch E.G. Melroe designed (and patented in 1940) a windrow pickup that lifted windrowed grain into the combine. He also invented a spring tooth harrow for seedbed preparation and weeding row crops.
This can-do spirit extended to E.G.'s family and the Melroe Manufacturing Co. and led to what is today the world's most popular compact loader. Despite performance and durability issues, customer demand kept the Melroes from stopping production of their first skid-steer loader. They refined it, with the Bobcat brand introduced in 1962. The four-wheel-drive skid-steer concept became a model for other brands.
Introduction of a hydrostatic drive system increased skid-steer pushing power and became the industry standard in just over a decade. Introduction of a lever-actuated attachment mounting system -- in place of pin-on mounting -- allowed operators to easily switch attachments throughout the workday for greater efficiency and was adopted as the worldwide ISO standard. The company pioneered use of an overhead guard (ROPS), now standard equipment on all compact loaders.
Compact loaders (four-wheel-drive skid-steer and compact track) now represent the largest volume category in the mobile, off-road equipment industry.
The company that now employs 2,000 people has always called Gwinner home, exerting a huge positive economic impact on the entire state of North Dakota. In 2014 Bobcat built its one-millionth loader.
Inducted with E.G. Melroe are his sons: Les, Cliff, Roger, and Irving; nephew Sylvan; and son-in-law Eugene Dahl.