Brief History

Originally founded in 1844 by Linus Yale Jr. with his invention of the pin-tumbler cylinder lock, the company evolved into Yale and Towne manufacturing co. in 1868 through Yale’s partnership with Henry Towne.

1875 saw the company expand its product offering from just locks to also include materials handling. in 1920 the company released a battery powered low-lift platform truck, followed by a range of high-lift platform trucks, tow tractors and one of the first lift trucks with tilting forks.

Over 137 years later these high quality units still underpin the current range of industry leading materials handling forklifts and equipment engineered and manufactured by Yale.

The 1930’s saw the Yale brand grow internationally with manufacturing operations opened in England U.K., Germany and Japan through sales and acquisition of existing forklift companies.

1950 saw Yale add gas, LPG and diesel powered forklifts trucks to its ever expanding range of products.

Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s the company continued to grow and prosper through a merger with multinational Eaton Corp and later due to forklifts being manufactured in Japan under license through an exclusive partnership with Sumitomo Ltd which lead to the creation of the joint venture company Sumitomo Yale Co. Ltd.

1985 saw the company being to resemble the materials handling leader it is today as Yale Materials Handling Corporation was formed following the company’s acquisition by North American Coal Corporation, later named NACCO Industries inc.

The 1990’s saw the company continue to grow into the large multinational MHE supplier it is today with further expansion into the UK acknowledged with the Queen award in 1990 for export achievement.

1992 saw the creation of Yale Europe Materials Handling to market Yale branded materials handling forklifts and units to the wider European, African and Middle East markets.

In 2012 Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc. was formed as a spin off from NACCO Industries Inc. and today is still the parent company for both industry leading brands Yale and Hyster forklifts.

Yale Brand Today

Today the Yale brand is synonymous with high quality innovative materials handling forklifts and units, backed by the industry leading Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc.

Through its operating subsidiary NACCO Materials Handling Group (NMHG) Yale materials handling forklift, units and spare parts are designed, engineered, manufactured, sold and serviced globally.

NMHG is one of the top three global suppliers of materials handling forklifts with an estimated 785,000 units in operation and 5,000 strong workforce of employees globally.

With leadership and foresight provided by the wider NMHG, Yale continue to focus on key programmes based on:

  • Innovation
  • Quality and efficiency
  • Sales and service excellence
  • Global coverage
  • Organisational excellence

A Truly Global Brand

Yale materials handling forklifts and units are designed, manufactured and marketed through a 19 facility global network including 12 separate production facilities.

Our large company size allows us to leverage supply chain and procurement for components and spare parts that are both high quality and competitively priced.

Yale believes there are great advantages from being in close proximity to our customers.

To best serve our customers we have sales offices around the world, no matter where you are located there is a Yale sales representative or dealer in the near vicinity thanks to our 150 international dealer network.

Yale is the preferred materials handling supplier for multiple global and multi-national companies.


Why Choose a Yale Forklift?

Yale is a large global organisation that has been built on our ability to sustain personal relationships and establishing trust with our customers, leading to on-going MHE supply relationships.

Reasons to choose Yale:

  • Wide product range, from 1,000 to 16,000 kg lifting capacity
  • Global network of over 150 dealers
  • Part of an organisation employing over 5,000 people worldwide
  • 12 manufacturing facilities
  • Individual customers mean, individual requirements
  • Long-term customer relationships
  • Worldwide network of carefully selected dealers
  • Wide range of finance options
  • Over 3 million all-makes parts available
  • Rapid dispatch of orders, with 96% stock availability
  • Complete fleet management programmes
  • Mobile engineers and on-site maintenance
  • World class products
  • Over $40 million annual investment in Research and Development
  • Registration to the prestigious ISO 9001:2008 standard
  • Demand Flow Technology (DFT) throughout our manufacturing plants delivers lower operating costs by creating the ability to build products within time frames driven by customer demand keeping inventory cost at the lowest levels. We measure the success of our DFT practices based on the core elements of Safety, Quality, Delivery, Cost, Morale, and Environment.
    • Safety: being as safe as possible in everything we do
    • Quality: zero defects and uncompromised quality
    • Delivery: customer focused and demand driven
    • Cost: relentless elimination of waste
    • Morale: pride, commitment and teamwork
    • Environment: reduce, reuse, recycle, responsible
  • ISO14001 Environmental Management System accredited in Craigavon and Nijmegen facilities
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The Design Process

Yale forklifts and materials handling units have always been designed to meet two key criteria

  1. To create the most comfortable, effective working environment for the operator
  2. To create features and performance that will enable customers to increase throughput and productivity

Our success is the result of a strong design process, sensitivity to operators and key features that make operators and their company’s businesses more efficient.

We place a strong emphasis on collaborating with our customers throughout the design and development of new MHE equipment and features.

We are constantly conducting in-depth research to fully understand our customers’ MHE needs in specific specialist applications and industries.

All new product developments are thoroughly tested and evaluated by our customers providing valuable user based feedback on performance and operational characteristics, so necessary enhancements can be made before full-scale production and rollout of units occurs ensuring our customer get the best unit possible.

With our strong emphasis on offering the most operator friendly ergonomic units we also spend countless hours observing actual MHE operators to better understand how efficiencies can be improved and to reduce the impact of repetitive motion on their bodies.

We also capture and consider large amounts of data collected from unit’s in-built computers and external leading ergonomic experts to find ways to maximise efficient lifting operations.

Yale Features to Improve Efficiency and Productivity

  • Adjustable operator compartments and controls
  • Positioning of all controls in close proximity to the operator
  • Swing-out LPG bracket
  • Drop-down design brings the LPG tank out from the protected center of the truck and down to the operator’s natural handling position making it easier to change.
  • Operator access
  • Reduced step height when entering the operator compartment. Steps have a high grip surface and are self-cleaning to avoid foot slippage.


Yale Materials Handling has 12 locations globally responsible for the manufacturing of high quality components and assembling complete forklifts and units for all our global markets.

Manufacturing locations are located in:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • Italy
  • India
  • Japan

Our global network of manufacturing plants allows the majority of our units to be assembled in the same region as their eventual sale.

All sites are ISO certified and employ world-class technologies and state of the art industry leading process such as demand flow technologies.

The majority of our manufacturing sites employ and are backed by their own in-house team of expert engineering, design, testing and product support units.


Whilst Yale works hard to design and manufacture the best possible forklifts and materials handling units, it is our dealers that provide our customers with the best solutions for their business.

Our dealers assist in every step of the process, including:

  • Understanding your specific lift truck applications
  • Recommending equipment and special features to increase your productivity
  • Configuring the most appropriate quotation
  • Helping with financing options when required
  • Preparing your materials handling equipment for delivery after it leaves our factory
  • Arranging for operator training
  • Providing planned maintenance on your trucks
  • Providing fleet management services, if required
  • Providing emergency service and parts
  • Providing rental trucks at short notice
  • Helping determine exactly when to purchase new lift trucks
  • Supporting national and international accounts managements