Volvo Construction Equipment, started in 1832, is the world’s oldest industrial company still active in the construction machinery market. Today, Volvo CE is a world leader for the design, engineering and manufacturing of equipment for industry and construction. Volvo machines are recognised as being the world leader for quality, safety, comfort and reliability.
Industrial development of the old agricultural ways was accelerated in the mid-1800s. Ideas and innovations grew from the technical talent of regular farm owners solving their everyday problems with mechanical solutions. Three technical genius in particular, Johan Theofron Munktell and the brothers Jean and Carl Gerhard Bolinder built up the company of Bolinder-Munktell which today is Volvo Construction Equipment.
From the beginning, the company produced on demand for customers like simple tools for lathes, grinders and iron chests. In the 1850s Bolinder started producing its own steam engines and in 1853 the first Swedish steam locomotive was produced but the big seller starting that same year was the locomobile – a type of steam-powered traction engine for heavy haulage and driving mobile machinery. Munktell in particular was a innovative genius designing a printing press, tooling machines, drills and even started his own brewery.
In 1906 the first of the companies many construction machines saw the light of day, the steam roller. Following the steam roller was the first Swedish farm tractor that came a few year later in 1913. Even from very early in both the Bolinder company as well as Munktells engines were a large part of the production. Together with Palmcrantzs Verkstäder, J & CG Bolinders Mekaniska Verkstads Bolinder-Munktell even built a steam powered submarine between 1879 and 1883.
In 1950s Bolinder-Munktell was acquired by Volvo and this began one of the most innovative periods in the company’s history. The Wheel-loader was created by reversing a tractor and adding a bucket over the rear larger wheels. Then in the 1960s Volvo introduced the world’s first articulated hauler – the Gravel Charlie. By 1985 Volvo had entered the North American market and soon after South America and later with the opening up of Europe acquired many industrial producers through out the region and even became a pioneering investor in Korea in the late 80s.
Today Volvo Construction Equipment is a global group and one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines – truly a global powerhouse that sprung from the very beginnings of the industrial revolution.