Terramite was founded in 1965 by Kelly G. Cunningham, who manufactured and worked with tunneling equipment in the 1950s and early 1960s. One day he realized that the tunneling machines he was using could be attached to small tractors and become very versatile pieces of equipment for a number of applications. Living in West Virginia, near the Gravely Tractors manufacturer, he developed his Model 1 using a Gravely 7.6 tractor, creating the world’s first compact backhoe. Between 1965 and 1972 the Model 1 was being produced and Terramite was growing. Because it was small and easy to master, many people used the Model 1 in many ways. Cemetery workers loved its size and maneuverability between head stones. Contractors loved it because they could use the Model 1 to dig footers for housing projects or drainage lines without having to wait for heavier equipment to be delivered or freed up from another job, thus saving them time and money.
- Business Type:
- Industry Type:
- Agriculture - Forestry
- Market Focus:
- Nationally (across the country)
- Year Founded:
This company also provides solutions for other industrial applications.
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Cunningham realized if he added a loader bucket to the front of his tractor people would be able to remove the dirt they didn’t want or need after a project. So, armed with books and his own drawings, he learned how to split a hydraulic system and developed the Model 2 — a compact tractor with a backhoe on one end and an end loader on the other. With the advent of the Model 2, Terramite grew even faster. In 1972, to allow for that growth, Cunningham purchased 19.5 acres in Cross Lanes, where the Terramite manufacturing line remains today. After his passing, Kelly’s sons Bob Cunningham and John Paul Cunningham continued the Terramite tradition.