From garage workshop to global force: 70 years of JCB

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Updated: December 4, 2015

JCB, the company that introduced the backhoe loader to the world, is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2015, marking a history of innovation and productivity for the global brand.

Since JCB produced its first backhoe in 1953, the company has manufactured more than a million JCB machines on three continents and now sells them in 120 countries. In Australia, JCB Construction Equipment Australia (CEA) has been distributing JCB products since 1999, and their 60 dealerships across the country will join in the celebrations.

The global company’s history stretches back to 23 October 1945, when JCB’s late founder Joseph Cyril Bamford CBE started work in a small lock-up garage in Staffordshire in the UK, making tipping trailers from wartime scrap metal.

Joseph Cyril’s son Anthony, born on the same day the company was founded, now goes by Lord Bamford and is the chairman of JCB.

“He was an engineering genius, there was no doubt about that,” Lord Bamford said of his father. “He was always dreaming of things, and dreaming of better ways of doing things. The backhoe loader he invented was a godsend and started a mini revolution in construction machinery.”

The now-iconic backhoe loader represented the first time a single machine had been produced with a hydraulic rear excavator and front mounted shovel, and Joseph Cyril’s ingenuity still bears fruit today.

“The backhoe loader was the building block for the success of JCB,” Lord Bamford said. “While we now produce many other different types of machines, it remains one of our most important products.”

In 1975, having turned JCB into a multi-million dollar company with outposts in Europe and the USA, Joseph Cyril retired and handed the reins to his son.

In 1979 Lord Bamford started manufacturing in India heralding a period of global expansion and today JCB has factories in New Delhi, Pune and Jaipur.

That global expansion also brought JCB to Australia, with the establishment of JCB CEA, and more recently to China in 2005 and Brazil in 2012.

The original tipping trailer from 1945 now stands in JCB’s World HQ as a reminder of the company’s heritage, but even with 70 years of operations behind the firm, the focus is very much on the future, according to Lord Bamford.

“While we are proud of it, our engineers are really only interested in the future and the products of tomorrow,” he said. “You cannot rest on your laurels in business; you have to be thinking of tomorrow, the changing world markets and the products our customers need.”

The spirit of innovation and adventure remains strong at the company. Last year, the world famous JCB GT was crowned the fastest digger on Earth by Guinness World Records officials at Bathurst, NSW, after reaching speeds of more than 110 km/h. The digger – originally designed to perform wheelies at racing events – was then taken on a tour of Sydney, ending with the season finale V8 race.

JCB CEA is the official Australian distributor for the JCB brand of construction and agricultural equipment. For more information, please visit:  www.jcbcea.com.au