January 31, 2022
Altorfer Machinery Company was founded on February 4th, 1957 by the late Edward J. Altorfer. Ed had previously worked in the family washing machine business, called Altorfer Brothers Company, in East Peoria, IL. He was introduced to the Caterpillar business by his good friend, Buck Swords, who at that time owned Peoria Tractor and Equipment Company, the Caterpillar dealer in Peoria. At its beginning, Altorfer Machinery Company had stores in Cedar Rapids, IA, Davenport, IA, and Hannibal, MO, and employed about 100 people. Ed enjoyed this business very much, and in 1967 had the opportunity to expand into a second dealership which he called Capitol Machinery Company with stores in Springfield, IL and Champaign, IL.
Ed had four sons, three of whom came into the business after college and several years of employment elsewhere. Bruce joined Altorfer in 1970, and Jim in 1971. Don joined Capitol in 1971. Richard preferred a career in the investment business and became a stock broker in Cedar Rapids.
The companies continued to grow as Altorfer Machinery acquired the Lift Truck business in 1973, and Capitol Machinery acquired Peoria Tractor and Equipment in 1986. Both companies continued this growth through the late 1980’s and 1990’s, and on Jan. 1, 1998, they merged into one company, which was named Altorfer Inc.
Ed certainly enjoyed seeing the growth and advancement that he, his family and his company experienced over the more than four decades of his involvement with Caterpillar.
In 2006, Bruce’s son, Derek, also started working at Altorfer Inc. In 2012, Derek was elected as executive vice president of the company, and on February 1, 2017, he was elected to the position of President. This accomplishment marks the company’s successful transition of ownership from the second to the third generation.
In 2018, the Altorfer family was able to expand their business again with the acquisition of Patten Industries, Inc., the Caterpillar® dealer in northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
The mission of Altorfer is to live and work by Ed’s motto: “Tell it like it is.” It’s the only way to approach business when you represent a manufacturer whose name is synonymous with quality and integrity.