Case pioneer passes

News April 22, 2003
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Elton Long, the Case engineer who helped design and develop the first modern fully integrated loader/backhoe in 1956, has died

Elton Long, the Case engineer who helped design and develop the first modern fully integrated loader/backhoe in 1956, has died at 81 in Burlington, Iowa.


Long came to Case in 1956 as part of the company's merger with the Indiana-based American Tractor Corp. He stayed for nearly three decades, retiring in 1984 as Case's vice president of engineering. Among his accomplishments were 46 patents related to construction equipment--and a customer-focused excellence that has kept Case products at the forefront of the industry.


As an assistant engineer at ATC in the mid-1950s, Long began work that would have lasting impact on construction sites all over the world. Working with experimental engineer Paul Hawkins during Case's merger with ATC, Long helped design a loader/backhoe based on the Case 300 tractor chassis.


While other companies had been retrofitting farm tractors with backhoes for years, these machines were not engineered for the stress a backhoe placed on the chassis. The earliest Case model included a new torque converter, an agriculture-grade loader and a new backhoe.


After the Case-ATC merger was approved in December 1956, an aggressive push was made to retool Case's Burlington works to build the new loader/backhoe. The first Case model 320 loader/backhoe--with all-Case design, parts and overall warranty--shipped Feb. 26, 1957.


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