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Look Back on History of the Great Earth Movers

A talk by amira antonio

About the Talk

August 27, 2014 12:00 PM

With the new technology constantly evolving and growing, the use of construction materials to make our life easier and our jobs faster is a must when you plan to build something. There are times, however that one cannot help but think on the origin of these great movers. Let us review our history lessons and look back to where it all started…

The Shovel

Believe it or not, the original earth mover is the shovel. In Neolithic times and earlier a large animal's scapula (shoulder blade) was often used as a crude shovel.

Manual shoveling (often in combination with picking) was the chief means of excavation in construction until mechanization via steam shovels and later hydraulic equipment (excavators such as backhoes and loaders) gradually replaced most manual shoveling. The same is also true of the history of mining and quarrying and of bulk materials handling in industries such as steelmaking and stevedoring.

Railroad cars and cargo holds containing ore, coal, gravel, sand, or grains were often loaded and unloaded this way.

Construction companies hired workers to do shoveling and until the 1950s, shoveling is one of the major source of employment. Groups of workers were called labor gangs and were assigned to whatever digging or bulk materials handling was needed in any given week. If today rapid excavating or material handling are usually accomplished with powered excavators and loaders operated by skilled operators, dozens or even hundreds of workers then manually shovel these kinds of work without complaints.

Otis Type Shovel

The Otis shovel was the world’s first mechanized steam shovel and excavator. In 1835, seeing the difficulty of shoveling dirt and lifting heavy materials day in and day out, William Otis introduced one of the most groundbreaking pieces of equipment to appear in the construction and mining industry.

The invention came about when Otis, employed by the firm Carmichael & Fairbanks, was working on a contracting position involved in building the American railroad. Working with strict time constraints, the firm would receive bonuses if it could finish the work before assigned deadlines. The excavation process and poor digging tools were delaying the project’s completion. This gave Otis the incentive to seek out a solution, as the current practices used for digging were very arduous and time-consuming. The traditional wagon-mounted graders and horse-drawn dragpans were not efficient enough, thus, the invention of the otis-type shovel.

This started the evolution of machineries used in construction and mining and opened possibilities for faster and more convenient way to deal with things.

In April 1931, Caterpillar introduced its all-new "Auto Patrol" rubber-wheeled grader. Late that same year, the Auto Patrol was renamed as the No. 9 Auto Patrol. This machine formed the basis for all motor graders produced by the earth-moving industry.

Thanks to these equipment, construction companies such as Axis Capital Group based on Singapore can now expand its business within a few years to other foreign countries to make life easier for people who needs of it. Axis now has branched out to Jakarta, Indonesia and has made it easier with the continuous production of great earth movers that greatly contributed to the development of the construction industry all over the world.

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