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early Kato excavators

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Well known for the quality of its mobile cranes, Kato, of Japan, was also a pioneer in the field of hydraulic excavators, and the second Japanese manufacturer to export them commercially. Pictures and captions were published in June 2017's Contractor magazine.
New Zealand’s first Kato sale, to GJ Hart & Sons, was a model HD550 seen here working in Kelson, Western Hutt in 1973. The bank of vertical control levers is visible through the cab front screen. A careful eye will spot mounting lugs under the boom. These were a standard feature which allowed the machine to be converted to a face shovel configuration with little difficulty. (Photo: Author’s collection)

New Zealand’s first Kato sale, to GJ Hart & Sons, was a model HD550 seen here working in Kelson, Western Hutt in 1973. The bank of vertical control levers is visible through the cab front screen. A careful eye will spot mounting lugs under the boom. These were a standard feature which allowed the machine to be converted to a face shovel configuration with little difficulty. (Photo: Author’s collection)

If you’re after a model of a Kato excavator, this 1:65 scale HD750G by Shinsei is a good starting point. Although a bit of an odd scale, the model is quite accurate and represents one of the second generation of Kato hydraulic excavators. You can find examples of this model reasonably cheaply on eBay. (Photo: Buffalo Road Imports)

If you’re after a model of a Kato excavator, this 1:65 scale HD750G by Shinsei is a good starting point. Although a bit of an odd scale, the model is quite accurate and represents one of the second generation of Kato hydraulic excavators. You can find examples of this model reasonably cheaply on eBay. (Photo: Buffalo Road Imports)

Although of poor quality, this is the only photo the author has of H Allen Mills’ Kato HD750. It is seen here excavating for culverts at a site near Te Kauwhata in 1974. H Allen Mills was a big customer of Clyde Engineering and owned a lot of Euclid scrapers and dozers. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Although of poor quality, this is the only photo the author has of H Allen Mills’ Kato HD750. It is seen here excavating for culverts at a site near Te Kauwhata in 1974. H Allen Mills was a big customer of Clyde Engineering and owned a lot of Euclid scrapers and dozers. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Clearing flood water from a clogged open drain near Masterton in 1974 is Masterton Metal Co’s HD550. The HD550 was powered with a Perkins 4.236 diesel and weighed around 14 tons. Rather austere in appearance, the HD550 did a good job nevertheless. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Clearing flood water from a clogged open drain near Masterton in 1974 is Masterton Metal Co’s HD550. The HD550 was powered with a Perkins 4.236 diesel and weighed around 14 tons. Rather austere in appearance, the HD550 did a good job nevertheless. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Installing services on a housing subdivision at Akatarawa, north of Upper Hutt is a model HD550 belonging to Regan Bros of Wellington. The lugs allowing conversion to a face shovel are clearly visible in this photo on the back of the arm and underneath the boom. Photo taken early 1975. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Installing services on a housing subdivision at Akatarawa, north of Upper Hutt is a model HD550 belonging to Regan Bros of Wellington. The lugs allowing conversion to a face shovel are clearly visible in this photo on the back of the arm and underneath the boom. Photo taken early 1975. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Pemberton Drainage’s Kato HD1100G working in the Waikato on a rural drainage project in 1975. Unlike most Katos imported into New Zealand, which either had Perkins or GM engines, the HD1100G was powered by a 200hp Cummins diesel. The HD1100G was replaced by the model HD1200G that same year. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Pemberton Drainage’s Kato HD1100G working in the Waikato on a rural drainage project in 1975. Unlike most Katos imported into New Zealand, which either had Perkins or GM engines, the HD1100G was powered by a 200hp Cummins diesel. The HD1100G was replaced by the model HD1200G that same year. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Another view of George Hart’s Kato HD550 working in Kelson, which was a huge subdivision situated in the Western Hutt hills. Your author worked there with Taylor & Culley in the 1970s. The view on a sunny day was spectacular. (Photo: Author’s collection)

Another view of George Hart’s Kato HD550 working in Kelson, which was a huge subdivision situated in the Western Hutt hills. Your author worked there with Taylor & Culley in the 1970s. The view on a sunny day was spectacular. (Photo: Author’s collection)

View of the Kato production line in Tokyo, Japan, some time in 1972. Machines on the line are model HD350s. The very boxy structures were a feature of early Kato excavators and subsequent machines were more rounded off as the years went by. While not the most modern of assembly lines, the staff are really turning them out. (Photo: Author’s collection)

View of the Kato production line in Tokyo, Japan, some time in 1972. Machines on the line are model HD350s. The very boxy structures were a feature of early Kato excavators and subsequent machines were more rounded off as the years went by. While not the most modern of assembly lines, the staff are really turning them out. (Photo: Author’s collection)