Hyster is globally recognized as an industry leader in the forklift producing business. However, it started as a manufacturer of lifting machinery as well as winches. Most of its production was focused in the northwest United States and dealt primarily with the lumber and logging industry. A couple years after the first forklift trucks were invented Hyster became synonymous with quality manufacturing. Over the preceding eighty years Hyster has continued to expand and increase its product line. The expansion of its products coupled with its want to stay service oriented has allowed Hyster to develop into the intercontinental participant it is now.
Hyster experienced major innovations through the 1940's and 1960's. In 1946, Hyster opened a plant in Illinois that was entirely dedicated to bulk manufacturing trucks. This allowed Hyster to force its costs down and, simultaneously, offer a better quality product at industry aggressive rates. In 1952, Hyster began its first foray in to the international production market through opening its first plant in the Netherlands. The Netherlands plant was originally designed to produce two products: Hyster 40" and the Karry Kranes.
Between the late 50's through the 1960's, Hyster continued to expand into new markets. They started building container handlers in the US in 1959 to satisfy the ever growing demand for transportation goods. In 1966, Hyster developed a means for allowing a lift truck to go both ahead and backwards using the same pedal. This pedal was known as the Monotrol pedal, which revolutionized the industry. Later in the decade Hyster opened a R&D centre in Oregon that was concentrated on enhancing the design and performance of forklifts. The centre is still one of the world's top testing facilities in the materials handling industry.
As demand for materials handling equipment continued to expand rapidly throughout the 60's, Hyster needed to reorient its focus towards these new mass markets. Hence, in 1970, the XL design philosophy was born. The XL design philosophy allowed Hyster to provide greater quality at a more reasonable price. A further expansion in production capabilities was necessitated by the demand in Europe for Internal Combustion Engine Trucks. To plug this hole, a plant in Craigavon, Ireland was opened in 1980. Through the 1980's Hyster continued to focus on developing industry leading forklifts. The Hyster brand name was recognized throughout the globe for its commitment towards quality. This attention to excellence brought several suitors for the business. In 1989, a large multinational business based in Ohio called NACCO Industries bought Hyster and began an aggressive expansion plan. NACCO rapidly replaced the XL philosophy with a more driver oriented lift truck that focused on operator comfort, which is recognized as the XM generation of lift trucks.
With the global shift towards just-in-time management methods, Hyster has been required to keep up with the trends through investment in new and diverse technologies. Acquisitions and investments were made in the US, Italy, Netherlands, and a lot of other places throughout the world. All of these investments have made Hyster a worldwide leader in the forklift market. In 2009, Hyster celebrated its 80th anniversary as an industry leader of materials handling equipment, which comprises more than 300 assorted styles of lift trucks.