Barber-Greene was co-founded in 1916 by Harry Barber and William Greene. The two became partners - Barber handled product design, while Greene was in charge of finance and business administration. The partners were interested in mechanizing small jobs "out of the shovel and wheelbarrow stage". The company began by offering conveyors and bucket loaders, it is best known for its contributions to the asphalt, road and paving field.
Following some turbulent years in the late 1980s Barber Greene was purchased by Caterpillar in 1991.