Whatever happened to? by Richard Campbell


Ever stopped to consider whatever happened to all those old manufacturers of earthmoving equipment that you no longer see around today ?

Evolution of the various types of earthmoving machine has been constant since at least 1904, over 112 years. During this time period countless companies have come and gone, some with really good ideas have been absorbed by larger corporates while others that could not withstand the vagaries of the earthmoving business with it’s rises and falls have fallen by the wayside and are but a very dim memory.

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that hardly any of the manufacturers who were around in 1904 are still in business today, or at least in the same form as they started out.

One of the things that drives me is the preservation of earthmoving history and the recognition due to those manufacturers that made a substantial contribution but who no longer exist.

Whatever happened to:

Allis-Chalmers – an innovator in the world of track type tractors. Allis made some good acquisitions over the years buying up LaPlant-Choate, Buda Engine Corp, Tractomotive and part of GarWood. They entered into a partnership with Fiat in the late 60s and that was pretty much the end of that!

Euclid – famous for it’s twin power motor scrapers, track type tractors and off highway trucks. General Motors bought Euclid but had a big anti-trust lawsuit which wasn’t resolved until 1968. The end result was the forced sale of the off highway truck business to White Motor Corp. GM re-branded what was left as Terex but sold it off when things got tough in the 1980s. Tewrex are still in business but in a vastly changed form from where they started out. Hitachi currently own the Euclid brand name and off-highway truck division.

LeTourneau – The father of modern earthmoving, R.G.LeTourneau sold his company to Westinghouse Air Brake Co (Wabco) in 1953. The company thrived and introduced new machines but sold off all their earthmoving product lines in the 1980s to Dresser and Komatsu.

International-Harvester – I.H. were a strong company and like Allis-Chalmers made some good acquisitions in the 1950s (Heil, Superior & Bucyrus-Erie). Bad decisions made in the late 1970s led to the sale of the earthmoving division to Dresser Industries.

Dresser, having acquired quite a few earthmoving brands by now, didn’t really know what to do with them all. They sold IH’s dozers, small scrapers & graders and Wabco’s haulers for about five years before selling the entire range to Komatsu.

This is just a few of the major players from years gone by. Are you interested to know what happened to a particular company ? Email me via the Contrafed Publications website and I’ll do my best to let you know.

Author: ContrafedPublishing

Account manager at Contrafed Publishing - look after advertising and digital media/marketing for the company's suite of magazines.

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