History of Yale

We're proud of our heritage and excited about the futurehistory

Yale was founded in 1844 when Linus Yale Jr. of Connecticut, USA, invented the pin-tumbler cylinder lock and gave his name to a range of engineered products synonymous with quality and durability. Here are some highlights of a great story of innovation, growth and leadership in materials handling:

Evolution to materials handling

  • In 1868 Linus Yale and Henry Towne formed the Yale Lock Manufacturing Company, later to become Yale and Towne Manufacturing Co.
  • The company broadened its scope from locks to materials handling in 1875, over 137 years ago.
  • In 1920 Yale and Towne launched a new battery powered low-lift platform truck, quickly followed by a range of high-lift platform trucks, tow tractors and one of the first lifting trucks with tilting forks.

  • In the 1930's Yale grew internationally with manufacturing in England, the acquisition of BKS fork lift trucks in Germany and the sale of lift trucks in Japan. Yale also developed innovations such as power steering, center-control trucks, caster steering and the use of high heat-resistant Class-H silicon insulation in electric motors, still considered among the industry finest.
  • In 1950, Yale added gas, LP gas and diesel-powered fork lift trucks to its range.
  • In 1964, there was further innovation when Yale introduced the first Silicone Controlled Rectifier (SCR) - controlled electric fork lift truck.
  • The company merged with multinational Eaton Manufacturing in 1963 and as the Industrial Truck Division of Eaton, Yale & Towne, Inc. (later renamed Eaton Corp.), the company continued to grow and prosper.
  • Having traded in Japan for many years, Yale forged a partnership with Sumitomo Ltd in 1969 to produce Yale fork lift trucks under license and in 1971 emerged a joint venture manufacturing company named Sumitomo- Yale Co., Ltd. owned equally by the two companies.
  • In 1985, there was further expansion when the Yale Materials Handling Corporation was formed following the acquisition of the company by North American Coal Corporation, which would become NACCO Industries, Inc.
  • Continued development and growth of Yale in the UK was recognised in 1990 with the Queen's Award for Export Achievement being presented to the company.
  • In 1992, Yale Europe Materials Handling was formed to market Yale® fork lift trucks across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
  • Yale is a leading brand of Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., which was formed in 2012 following a spin-off from NACCO Industries, Inc.

Continued leadership in materials handling equipment and services

  • Today, Yale Asia-Pacific has one of the most comprehensive ranges of electric and engine powered materials handling equipment offered in the market, including Yale® innovative and versatile AC-technology trucks designed to optimise productivity in customer applications.
  • The Veracitor® VX engine-powered fork lift truck range provides outstanding productivity and low ownership cost, with smart design, leading ergonomics, reliable performance, serviceability and styling.
  • The Yale® LX line offers streamlined, easy-to-operate trucks featuring excellent fuel economy and carefully considered ergonomics designed for the comfort of your operator. The LX line incorporates all the best things about our heavy-duty Yale® Veracitor trucks—smart design, solid construction, durability and reliable performance, to name a few—without the complex systems and features.
  • The Yale® dealer network has over 150 dealers world-wide that are attracted by the unique blend of Yale® product excellence and customer commitment, qualities we intend to preserve as we continue to lead the way in the materials handling industry.
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