The origin of Caterpillar’s involvement in the motor grader industry can be traced back to 110 years ago. In 1903, Richard Russell and Charles Stockland built their first horse-drawn elevating grader and formed a partnership – the Russell Grader Company- in a little town called Stephen, Minnesota. Richard Russell applied for a patent for this “first of its kind” elevating grader that had a gas engine driving the conveyor.
In 1908, Russell added a small road blade grader to its product line, the “Simplex,” of which the cost for this simple (but soon very popular) grader ran between $105 and $150. Several more blade grader models were added over time.
Russell engineers began working on an early version of a motor grader in 1919. The “Motor Patrol” was released in 1920 and featured an Allis Chalmers tractor as the base machine with a grader frame built around the tractor. In 1926, Russell released their first motor patrol to feature a Caterpillar track-type tractor.
As Russell blade graders were frequently paired with Caterpillar tractors, Russell and Caterpillar leaders explored opportunities to expand their product lines together. As a result, on December 4, 1928, Caterpillar Tractor Co. acquired the Russell Grader Manufacturing Company and created a new “Road Machinery Division” to handle blade grader production and motor grader development. In April 1931, the Road Machinery Division introduced the industry’s first true motor grader – the Auto Patrol – different from motor patrols in that it was designed as one machine instead of a separate tractor with a grader frame fitted around it.
Today, Caterpillar produces motor graders around the world at the North Little Rock, Ark. facility, the Decatur, Ill. facility, Caterpillar Brasil Ltd., Caterpillar Suzhou Company Ltd. and Shandong SEM Machinery Co., Ltd.