Matbro Matbro was a brand of lifting equipment, popular with farmers. The company was based in Wallington, Surrey. Set up by brothers Horace & Leonard Mathew to deal in 2nd hand ex war dept. machinery. The Matbro Co. went on to produced a wide range of telescopic handlers in their distinctive yellow livery, using engines derived from Perkins. The vehicles had different arrangements of lifting booms, but the basic principle was the same. Matbro began operating at a loss in the late 1990s and in the end went under in 2003 after accounting issues in their parent company Powerscreen.
Matbro was set up by 2 brothers after the war, to trade in army surplus machinery and latter they started to build industrial handling machinery under the Matbro brand. In 1949 they developed a rough terrain forklift based on a Fordson E27N Major tractor skid unit, the US Army surplus forklift they used in the yard kept getting stuck on the rough surface. This machine was demonstrated to the press in 1950 and put into production.
They introduced a loading shovel, in 1953 based on the Fordson Major Skid unit, called a Matbro Super Loadstar.
Another experiment gave rise to the Matbro Mantis in 1956, which was a backhoe based on the forklift unit, with mast swapped for the digger arm. The Production model being fitted with a bulldozer blade for backfilling trenches. Other attachments were offered but only about 40 were Built. Of which only a couple are known to have survived.
They then went on to develop the pivot steer principle to solve transmission problems on hard surfaces with 4WD systems. They developed prototypes and applied to patent the idea in 1957.
1958 saw the MkIII Forklift introduced, based on the Power Major unit, a torque converter, and with power steering.
The Matrbro Mastiff Loading shovel incorporated the pivot steer system, and used two ford Power major rear axles. 1959 saw the company split from H&L Mathews Ltd and become a Ltd company, which moved to new premises in Horly, Surrey.
The Pivot steer system was Licensed to Caterpillar , International Harvester , and Allis-Chalmers .
In 1962 the brothers also went on to build a few High Horsepower 4 wd tractors, based on the pivot steer system. The Matbro Mastiff 6/100 MT as it was called. This new tractor was built with the 3-point linkage on the rear unit. A new factory was opened for Loader production in Frome, in Somerset.
Both the founder Horace and Leonard Died in 1981 and John Mathew took over running the company. He then merged Matbro and Bray.
The company was sold to Powerscreen International of Northern Ireland in July 1991.