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, USA, 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. The company sells skid steer loaders, compact excavators, compact utility vehicles, 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.
In the 1950s, Louis and Cyrus 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. 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, ND, 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.
Melroe was purchased by Clark Equipment Company in 1969 and then by Ingersoll-Rand in 1995. In 2007, Ingersoll Rand sold Clark Equipment Company to the Doosan Group of Korea, along with the rest of its construction equipment group. The Clark Equipment Company now does business as Bobcat Company. Bobcat Company owns worldwide trademark registrations for its "Bobcat" name, which only accurately refers to equipment manufactured by Bobcat Company.
The company was recognized by Hermann Simon as a role model for other small- to medium-sized businesses in his book