4 Things You Didn’t Know About Skid Steer Loaders

Perhaps you have a skid steer loader out in the garage that helps you manage work around the farm. Perhaps you are a municipal contractor or work on construction sites as an operator.

Either way, if you’re familiar with skid steer loaders, you know how capable (and how versatile) they can be. 

But did you know these facts about them?

1.  Skid steer loaders typically have no dedicated steering mechanism (hence the name).

Unlike many machines, skid steer loaders don’t have a drive mechanism like most vehicles that allows them to turn by shifting the orientation of their wheels or tracks. In fact, this is why they are called skid steers.

Instead of changing the angle or alignment of the wheels or tracks, to turn a skid steer loader, the machine allows the operator to run the wheels or tracks at different speeds from each other. This enables one side of the loader to skid across the ground – and therefore the name.

This maneuver tears up the ground, but the skid steer loader’s rigid frame and strong bearings help prevent damage to the machine.

2.  They’re not exactly new

Skid steers might seem like machines of the modern age, but they’re well more than half a century old at this point. In fact, the first machine was created in 1958, over 60 years ago. 

It all started with a vision, and with two blacksmithing students in Minnesota, a few years earlier. They created a design between 1956 and 1957, and by 1958, a company known as Keller Manufacturing had created the first official skid steer loader.

It had three wheels and didn’t look much like the skid steers of today – but it paved the way for improvements in design that would yield the Toro Dingo, Ditch Witch, and Bobcat skid steers we all know.

3.  The skid loader was invented to manage manure

Believe it or not, the original skid steer loader wasn’t invented to knock down buildings, clear brush, or clean up demolition debris.

In fact, it was created with the vision of managing large loads of turkey manure. A farmer by the name of Eddie Velo, who was involved in the turkey industry, needed a way to clear two-story barns of manure.

The tractors of the time were too heavy to operate on second-story levels, and not maneuverable enough to be practical, anyway.

4.  When equipped with capable skid steer attachments, skid steers are truly all-purpose machine 

Skid steers are much more versatile than they appear at first look, especially when equipped with attachments that are designed for niche applications.

Some manufacturers, like Spartan Equipment, produce skid steer loader attachments that are compatible with a wide range of popular skid steer models.

Their attachments are made in the United States with American steel, and many are covered by generous warranties and eligible for free shipping. 

Moreover, they offer a comprehensive catalog of highly specialized skid steer attachments including but not limited to bucket attachments, dozer blades, graders, grapple buckets and rakes, and much more. Visit their website to learn more.