Global construction equipment giant JCB has turned 75 this year, with the company marking the anniversary with a birthday tribute so distinctive it could be seen by imaging satellites orbiting the Earth – a JCB Fastrac tractor created a giant “75” in a stubble field near the company’s birthplace in Staffordshire, UK.
The giant logo was created in a field eight miles from the company’s global headquarters and covered almost eight acres – equivalent to four football pitches.
In a statement to mark the occasion, JCB recounted the journey from its founding on October 23rd, 1945, by the late Joseph Cyril Bamford in a tiny lock-up garage in the Staffordshire market town of Uttoxeter. It was the same day as his son Anthony, now Lord Bamford, was born and as Mr Bamford remarked “being presented with a son tended to concentrate the mind and when you were starting at the bottom, there was only one way to go and that was up”.
The company’s statement added that the foundation for the growth that was to follow was the manufacture of a tipping trailer made out of war-time scrap which today stands proudly in the showroom of JCB’s World HQ.
“It was produced in Joseph Cyril Bamford’s garage and sold for £45 at the town’s market. The buyer’s old cart was also taken in part exchange and Mr Bamford refurbished it and sold it for another £45 – achieving the original asking price of the trailer,” said the company.
The company’s 75th anniversary this year coincides with another landmark – in March JCB marked the production of its 750,000th backhoe loader. The company’s statement added that this was just before “the world became a very different place as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold”.
“When the company’s production lines fell silent in March, JCB turned its attention to helping those in need during the unprecedented times. In India and the UK, company chefs prepared more than 200,000 meals for those most in need. A Staffordshire production line closed down as a result of the Coronavirus crisis was re-opened to produce prototypes of special housings for a new type of ventilator following a national call to action,” said JCB.
JCB also reopened its Innovation Centre at the World HQ in Rocester so that employees could volunteer to make medical grade visors for the UK’s NHS staff on the company’s 3D rapid prototype machines.
“By the time production lines re-opened in June, JCB was also previewing an exciting new development after developing the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator, as JCB continued to lead the sector on zero and low-carbon technologies. The 20t 220X excavator powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has been undergoing rigorous testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than 12 months. The exciting development means JCB is the first construction equipment company in the world to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen, considered by many to be the fuel of the future,” said the company.