Elton Long, one of the most influential figures in the history of CASE Construction Equipment was inducted into the US Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ Construction Equipment Hall of Fame recently.
Elected to the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame by a judging board comprising of impartial representatives and experts from major industry associations, Mr Long is best remembered for designing and manufacturing the first integrated tractor loader/backhoe.
At the time of his retirement in 1984 as vice president of engineering at Case, Mr Long had received 46 patents for designing construction equipment while propelling Case Construction into an industry leadership role.
Some of his inventions include the hydraulic Extendahoe extendible dipper stick that adds 2.5 feet to the backhoe’s dig depth, a hydraulic system for construction machines that could be controlled from the operator’s seat, a dozer blade controllable from the operator’s seat, the over-centre backhoe, load stabilisers and swing mechanisms among others.
Mr Long led the team that developed the first factory-integrated loader/backhoe, the Case 320 in 1957 making his biggest impact on Case and the industry.
The original loader backhoes created by Mr Long and his team provided many advantages over the retrofit approaches of other manufacturers.
Prior to the launch of the Case loader/backhoe, conventional loaders and backhoes of the time did not have much digging capacity and were not used in heavy construction. The loaders were mostly used in agriculture, rarely lifting anything heavier than manure or hay bales.
The integrated loader/backhoe innovation by Mr Long was compact and easy to handle in a variety of applications, including jobs previously done manually.
The integrated design of Case loader backhoes accommodated the different types of loading, digging and carrying requirements, and could withstand the combined stresses of various construction, agricultural and industrial applications.
The integrated loader/backhoe helped contractors reduce costs, increase productivity and handle more work with less equipment.
According to Case Brand Manager, Mick Smith, Elton Long’s appointment to the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame is an honour not only for his family but also for his ‘extended family’ at Case Construction.
Case launched its brand new Construction King Super T Series loader backhoes in Australia this year, offering improved productivity, lower running costs and faster operation.
Mick explains that the launch of the new series brings back the famous Case Construction King brand, signifying a return to the kind of innovation that saw Case introduce one of the world’s first commercial backhoes in 1957.
Born in 1912 in Springfield, Illinois, Mr Long accumulated many industry honours during his distinguished career, including the Steel Founders’ Society of America ‘Gold Award’.
He was also recognised among the industry’s 100 most significant contributors by the Equipment Manufacturers Institute (now the Association of Equipment Manufacturers) in 1994, along with fellow honouree Henry Ford. Mr Long lived until 2003.