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High Points in the History of Construction Machinery

by Dr McCaslin | Dec 19, 2018 |

Construction, History


The history of heavy equipment is fascinating, and there many different companies and people that contributed to its continuing development.  Here is just a sampling of some of the high points.  Let us know in the comments if you think something should be added!

High Points in the History of Construction Machinery v2



William Otis developed the first steam shovel, known as the Otis Power Shovel, in the 1830s. The Power Shovel is the grandfather of the modern hydraulic excavator. This is also the time period in which the John Deere company was founded.


In 1849, John Deere began manufacturing the polished steel plows he had designed. It was designed to work with even the stickiest, thickest soils that farmers might face. This was also the decade in which CASE was founded.


The company that would later become Gehl, was founded in 1859 at West Bend, Wisconsin.



Caterpillar introduces an innovative horse-drawn combine in 1886.


It was in 1899 that Caterpillar began to manufacture steam-powered tractors.


Ingersoll Rand developed the game-changing jackhammer drill in 1912, and Hitachi was founded in 1910.


Komatsu released their very first agricultural tractor in 1931.


The leader of Ditch Witch, Ed Malzahn, recognized a need for a trenching machine that can be used for residential applications and shifted his company’s focus. It is also in the 1940s that Komatsu manufactured their first bulldozer and John Deere begins to manufacture military equipment.



The first skid-steer was designed in the 1950s in response to a turkey farmer’s need for an agile, lightweight machine. This would later develop into the Bobcat company. During this decade, CASE pioneered the loader/backhoe combination.


New Holland released its first backhoe loader in 1966 and Takeuchi was founded in 1963.


Takeuchi developed the first compact excavator.


ASV was founded in the 1980s when low snowfall affected the finances of its founders, who specialized in snowmobiles. Takeuchi manufactures the first compact track loader (CTL).


The Posi-track loader was introduced by ASV in the 1990s, which eventually led to the development of the multi-terrain loader, or MTL. Terex was falsely accused of supplying SCUD missiles ot the Iraqi military. This is also the decade when BOMAG switched to their trademark yellow color.



In 2007, New Holland manufactured its 200,000 skid steer loader.


The year 2017 saw an interesting new innovation: Built Robotics debuted their self-driving track loader. It can perform basic tasks, leaving the dangerous, complex tasks up to skilled operators. Unlike humans, it can work at night, too.

Texas Final Drive is your partner in providing new or remanufactured final drive hydraulic motors from a single mini-excavator to a fleet of heavy equipment. Call today so we can find the right final drive or hydraulic component for you, or check out our online store to find your O.E.M. manufacturer brand motor now. 

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Topics: Construction, History

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