In the 1950s, Louis and Cyril Keller operated Keller Welding and Repair near Rothsay, Minnesota. In 1956 Eddie Velo, a turkey farmer from 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 worked out[when?] a small, 3-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. The Kellers soon learned of drawbacks to the belt-driven transmission, and developed and patented a clutch-based transmission system in 1958 which was more robust. The new transmission became the basis of the Melroe M60 loader; their uncle, an equipment dealer for the Gwinner, ND-based Melroe Manufacturing Company advocated for that company marketing 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, and Bickett and Sylvan Melroe developed the "tough, quick, and agile" slogan used in advertising the early loaders.
^Hermann Simon mentioned this company in his correspondent Book as an example of a "Hidden Champion" (Simon, Hermann: Hidden Champions of the 21st Century : Success Strategies of unknown World Market Leaders. London: Springer, 2009.- ISBN 978-0-387-98147-5.)