Company is one of the most popular in the North American lift truck industry.
Founded in 1929 by E. G. Swigert as an equipment supplier to Oregon's lumber
industry, Hyster has been among the top three lift truck manufacturers in North
America since the 1950s. Hyster
always had a strong international scene since 1950 in country such as England,
Scotland, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Australia have been integral to the
company's entry into the international market.
Beginning and naming
Company was founded as the Willamette Ersted Company in 1929 by Ernest G.
Swigert. The company began business as a manufacturer of winches and lifting
machines for the Pacific Northwest logging industry. Ernest's father, Charles
Frederick Swigert, was the founder of ESCO Corp., a large steel works, and ESCO
remained a major shareholder of Hyster through the 1980s. Hyster Company
headquarters were located in Portland, Oregon, near the logging and timber
country that the company served. Hyster started as a manufacturer of lifting
machines used in the rigorous logging industry of the United States' Pacific
Northwest. The name originated from the call of the loggers who would shout "Hoist'er!"
when a log was ready to be raised.
A few years
later the first fork lift trucks were invented and the Hyster® brand quickly
gained its reputation for rugged quality.
For over eight decades Hyster Company has continuously developed its
product offering and service network to become the leading international player
it is today. The timeline below highlights some of the milestones along the
way. In 1944 the company name was officially changed to the Hyster Company.
First factory and
One of the
most important early customers was Caterpillar Tractor Company, which had a
contract with Hyster to supply winches for its logging tractors.
Hyster opened a warehouse and distribution center in Caterpillar's town,
Peoria, Illinois, in 1940 the two firms agreed to begin a full-scale
manufacturing. The Peoria plant established a foothold in the Midwest that
would become Hyster's center for manufacturing in the ensuing decades.
war ended, Hyster took position to capitalize on a new export business and in
order to meet growing demand for its lift trucks both at home and
international, the firm opened a new plant in Danville, Illinois, that was to
become the core of Hysters manufacturing operations for the next 50 years.
the 1950's, Hyster began to make serious attempts into international market.
Over the course of the following decade the company opened manufacturing plants
and distribution warehouses in Scotland, Australia, The Netherlands, Brasil,
South Africa and Canada. In 10 years the Hyster sales more than quadrupled,
rising in international sales.
prosperity that fueled the lift truck industry in the 1960s and 1970s came to
an abrupt halt in the early 1980s. The recession of the early 1980s hit hard
for many industrial companies like Hyster, but the forklift industry received a
double blow as large Japanese auto companies began to make serious inroads into
the American lift truck market. Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Komatsu, among
other Japanese firms, had introduced low-cost, high-efficiency forklifts to
Australia in the mid-1970s, and Hyster had seen its once-dominant 30 percent
market share cut in half. Similar roads were made In EU during the late 70's,
but overall the market growth in these areas declined heavily. By 1982, Japan's
companies had gained control over 20 % of the American market, and domestic
materials handling companies were scambling to prevent further decline. The
combined effect of the recession and Japan's competition have caused Hyster to
lose his sales to $422 million, and in 1982 the company incurred its first
unprofitable yea, posting over $20 million net loss.
Hyster has been taken over by a private longtime shareholder ESCO corp., and in
the late 1980's ESCO decided to cash in on its investment by selling the
company to the highest bidder. NACCO inc., a former coal mining company, was in
the process of diversifying and had already bought Hyster competitor Yale
Materials Handling Corp. In May 1989 NACCO acquired Hyster for $620 million and
an agreement to assume some $80 million of the company's debt. Hyster
operations were merged with those of Yale and Hyster-yale and became the #1
producer of lift trucks in North America.
management of the two companies was split in 1995 by NACCO and Hyster has ran
as a independent company since then.