Made in America

It’s a celebratory week for the good ole US of A, and we hope you have exciting plans! We’re starting the celebration by sharing some of our favorite OEM’s who found their start in the land of the free and the home of the brave. These manufacturers have made their home on American soil and have since expanded to become global powerhouses. 

In chronological order, here are some of our favorite American heavy equipment manufacturers:

  1. John Deere: Starting in the plains of Grand Detour, Illinois, the iconic green machine was first created by blacksmith John Deere. In 1837, Mr. Deere himself took the concerns of farmers (that their plows were meant for sandy soil and not the thick prairie soil) and fashioned a steel moldboard to help ease the farmers’ pain. The John Deere name grew from there, becoming a manufacturer and forming new partnerships.
  2. Caterpillar: Caterpillar has a lengthy history that combines two great inventors. Caterpillar made its start in California in 1886 when Benjamin Holt built his first combined harvester. Just a few years later, Holt Manufacturing Company was incorporated. Throughout the 1900s Holt continued to innovate with his track-type tractor and his first gasoline-powered track-type tractor. In 1910, Holt Manufacturing Company registered the iconic Caterpillar name as a trademark. While Holt was expanding his company, another inventor C.L. was working with his father and established the C.L. Best Gas Traction Co. with the production of his first track-type tractor. In 1925, the Holt Manufacturing Company and C.L. Best Tractor Co were merged to form Caterpillar. 
  3. Ditch Witch: Our favorite witch was created in Perry, Oklahoma by Carl Malzahn in 1902, where he opened a blacksmith shop with his sons, Charlie and Gus. The business prospered and evolved to specialize in repairs for nearby oil fields. Then, after being passed down to a new generation, Charlie’s son saw the importance of adapting to emerging needs and used his mechanical engineering degree to work with his father to create the first trencher, called the DWP for Ditch Witch Power.
  4. Bobcat: Bobcat formed as a true union of two great ideas. In 1947 Edward Gideon Melroe founded Melroe Manufacturing Company in Gwinner, North Dakota which he eventually left to his four sons and son-in-law. The business changed in 1958 when the brothers met with inventors Cyril and Louis Keller in Minnesota. The brothers had created a new machine to help a turkey farmer maneuver around support poles and reach the upper portion of his barn. This loader was so effective that the Keller’s created six more for local farmers before their uncle introduced them to the Melroe’s. Their new relationship created the first Melroe self-propelled loader, and the iconic story of Bobcat began.
  5. Terex: Terex has gone through many name changes and owners, however, their iconic machines have been in production and helping the industry since the Armington brothers began in 1933. Originally the brothers created haul trucks that pushed GM to purchase the brand in 1953. After some lawsuits involving the dominant performance of the GM division, the company switched gears in 1970 to form Terex. Terex focused on creating notable heavy construction equipment. 

See if you can find some pieces of equipment from these American manufacturers – and others – on your travels this holiday week! We hope you have a fun and safe Fourth of July!


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