• A Strong Company Borne Out of Tough Times HERO Image
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    History

    Hyster® is an American success story that dates to the start of the Great Depression. In 1929, the Willamett-Ersted Company formed in the Pacific Northwest as a logging equipment manufacturer. One of the company’s first trucks included a winch or hoist loggers called a “hyster.” The name caught on and, in 1934, the company was renamed Willamette-Hyster. One customer, one truck, one solution at a time, the company grew. Before long, the legendary quality and durability of Hyster trucks earned it a reputation for toughness that spread around the world. Today, Hyster is known as a strong partner creating innovative materials handling solutions for customers around the globe.

    Military-grade toughness
    Hyster’s global reputation for being tough was cemented during World War II. The Hyster Karry Krane was used by both the American and British armies because of its strength, reliability and precision. In fact, one general remarked, “a Hyster winch is one of the 10 most important weapons we have.”

    Standing up to the test
    Quality and reliability have long been hallmarks of the Hyster brand. In fact, Hyster opened the first lift truck testing center near its Portland, Ore., plant. What began as a 5-acre site in the 1960s is now a 78-acre facility with a wide range of testing technologies that help ensure every Hyster lift truck exceeds expectations.

    No company is an island
    Whether working closely with customers to better understand their needs or building relationships with companies that can enhance a solution, Hyster understands the power of partnership. Throughout our 88-year history, Hyster has forged relationships with partner companies to create best-in-class solutions tailored to customer needs. Today our partners include Balyo robotics, Bolzoni attachments, and Nuvera fuel cell technologies.

    Multiplying muscle
    Hyster started out handling large loads for lumber yards and ports. Soon other industries discovered the efficiency of lift trucks, resulting in a need for a wider variety of sizes. The first small truck introduced by Hyster was the “Handy Andy,” in 1940. By 1960, the line had expanded to over 130 models spanning five classes.

    Taking on the competition
    Hyster has never been one to shy away from a challenge, whether it means crafting a one-off solution for a tough problem or building trucks that can operate in the harshest environments. Sometimes it means going head-to-head with the competition, like in our recent XT road show. No problem. Because, if history is any judge, more often than not, Hyster comes out on top.

    Hyster Timeline

    1920's

    Hyster Company’s story begins with its two parent companies, Electric Steel Foundry and Willamette Iron & Steel Works, pioneers in the development of special machines and metals to meet the needs of the Northwest logging industry.

    1929

    Willamette Iron & Steel Corporation and Electric Steel Foundry join forces to form a new company named Willamette Ersted Company.

    1934

    A straddle carrier with forks is one of the earliest forklift trucks manufactured by the company which, by this time, has been renamed Willamette Hyster Company.

    1935

    The ‘BT’ with its cable hoist system is one of the first Hyster forklift trucks. It is a pioneer in the heavy duty lift truck field and boasts a lifting capacity of 6,000 pounds.

    1940

    By experimental use of tractor frames, an advanced type of mobile crane is developed, later named the “Karry Krane”.

    1941

    As the need for a variety of lift truck sizes becomes more apparent, Willamette-Hyster designs a new 4,000 pound lift truck, known as the “Handy Andy”.

    1942

    A 15,000 pound lift truck, the “Jumbo” is Willamette-Hyster Company’s first truck to use pneumatic tires and a telescoping mast.

    1944

    The organization is renamed “Hyster Company” and an export department is created to provide better service for lift trucks being sold in other parts of the world.

    1946

    Hyster Company’s first plant devoted exclusively to the mass production of lift trucks opens in Danville, Illinois (USA).

    1952

    Hyster opens its first plant outside the USA, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The Hyster 40” and the Karry Krane are the first machines to be assembled there.

    1959

    Hyster moves into a new market with American-built container handlers, later called “Big Trucks”.

    1964

    Hyster introduces the famous Monotrol® pedal, a unique direction and travel control in one simple pedal.

    1966

    Hyster opens a new design and development center in Portland, Oregon (USA).

    1970

    Mass markets are developing and Hyster meets this challenge by developing the XL design philosophy, providing quality at an affordable price.

    1981

    Hyster opens a new manufacturing plant in Craigavon, Northern Ireland, dedicated initially to manufacturing internal combustion engine (ICE) trucks.

    1989

    Hyster Company is purchased by NACCO Industries, Inc. a Fortune 1000 company based in Cleveland, Ohio (USA).

    1993

    The XL philosophy is progressively replaced by the XM generation of product, combining outstanding performance and excellent driver comfort.

    1994

    NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc. (“NMHG”) is established.

    1996

    With the acquisition of manufacturing plants in Modena and Masate (Italy) a complete warehouse equipment range is developed for Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

    1998

    A substantial program of investment begins to establish the Nijmegen plant as the Global Centre for Big Truck design, development and manufacturing.

    2000

    Warehouse product launches and improvements begin focusing on harmonization and standardization of key components such as controllers and tiller arms.

    2002

    Following a substantial program of investment, Nijmegen becomes the global center for Big Truck design, development and manufacturing.

    2004

    NACCO Materials Handling Group, Inc. facilities are awarded ISO 9001:2008 quality accreditation.

    2005

    Hyster begins to roll out a complete new generation of internal combustion engine (ICE) trucks (FORTIS® and FORTENS®), with a modular design platform and innovative features, providing unprecedented reliability and value to users.

    2006

    As warehousing and distribution hubs grow world-wide, Hyster introduces the sophisticated VNA truck, featuring its unique quad mast design.

    2007

    Investment programs focus on product-line development, quality and efficiency in the supply chain and optimization of NMHG’s world-wide manufacturing capacity.

    2008

    Hyster introduces a new generation of Electric Counterbalance trucks, which continues the company’s strategy of modular design and innovation offering customers both outstanding performance and savings in operational costs.

    2009

    Hyster celebrates its 80th anniversary and transformation over 8 decades into a leading global manufacturer of materials handling equipment.

    2010

    By introducing fuel efficient upgrades, Hyster takes an engineering and environmental lead responding to Tier 4i/Stage IIIB emissions legislation affecting the sector.

    2011

    A brand new Engineering Concept Center opens in Basingstoke, UK, illustrating the company’s appetite for innovation, design excellence and technology advances to support the development of future product offerings.

    2012

    The Nijmegen plant in the Netherlands celebrates its 60th Anniversary and surpasses all its previous production records for high capacity and container handling trucks.     

    2012

    NMHG and its parent company, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc. are spun-off from NACCO Industries, Inc.

    2016

    NACCO Materials Handling Group changes its name to Hyster-Yale Group.