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Bobcat compact loader inventors inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame

By Brock Huffstutler

November 5, 2023

The Keller family at Cyril and Louis Keller's induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

The Keller family at Cyril and Louis Keller’s induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Cyril and Louis Keller, the brothers who invented the world’s first compact loader — later named the Bobcat® skid-steer loader — have been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF).

The Keller brothers were recognized posthumously during the NIHF Illumination and Induction Ceremony on Oct. 25-26 in Washington, D.C.

“The ingenuity of the Keller brothers spurred the compact equipment industry,” said Mike Ballweber, president, Doosan Bobcat North America, West Fargo, N.D. “Today at Bobcat, their spirit of inventiveness lives on as our organization continues to innovate for the jobsite of the future and empower our customers to accomplish more.”

During the Illumination Ceremony on Oct. 25, new inductees or their family members placed their names on illuminated hexagons in the museum’s Gallery of Icons. Members of the Keller family represented Cyril and Louis in the ceremony.

The 2023 National Inventors Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held Oct. 26 at The Anthem in Washington, D.C., where the new inductee class was honored for its contributions to society.

Joe Keller, son of Louis, said, “If Dad and Cyril were here to accept this award, they would accept it for all the early and current Bobcat employees that have all helped bring the little Keller loader to be the Bobcat machine it is today. There is no one that the Bobcat loader hasn’t affected or helped through life — even though they may not know it.”

In celebration of this recognition, Bobcat has its history on display in a new exhibit within the NIHF Museum. The museum exhibit features one of the Keller brothers’ original three-wheel loaders, along with a timeline of Bobcat’s history and a video display highlighting various aspects of Bobcat’s products, people and initiatives.

The Bobcat exhibit will be on display through April 2024.

A history of the Keller brothers and Bobcat can be viewed here.