The front loader garbage truck history is far more extensive than one may think. While the truck in its current incarnation is only a few decades old, garbage hauling goes back as early as the dawn of civilization. Learn how it all began.
How It Got Started
In the early industrial revolution, there were waste haulers known as scavengers that collected and sold waste. Even dog feces were salvageable as it was used in leather purification. By the 1800s, horse-drawn carts became the first garbage-collecting vehicle. This all changed by the early 20th-century when the first pickup truck rolled out of the assembly line. The trucks’ cargo beds became storage for hauling waste.
While efficient for the time, there were problems associated with this method. The exposed garbage meant foul odors wherever the truck went. Other issues included poor sanitation and trash flying out the bed when the vehicle was in motion.
The First Front Loader Trucks
The garbage truck as we know it today appeared in the 1920s. These were essentially pickup trucks with covered cargo beds. However, garbagemen still struggled to lift heavy garbage onto the truck, which normally has higher ground clearance. As a remedy, the first external hopper truck was released in 1929. The bucket hopper, though, was on the side and not the front.
Prior to WWII, bucket rear loaders became a mainstay. However, these trucks still require a multi-man crew to manually load the garbage. This method proved insufficient amid expanding cities and rapid population growth.
In 1952, the first front end load truck was released and was developed by Samuel Vincen Bowles and Phil Gentile in Silicon Valley, CA. Early models have a bucket attachment, though later iterations had a forklift-style arm.
By the 1970s, front loaders became a staple for commercial use, while residential routes relied on rear loaders. It was also during this decade that a front loader with an arm for use with a detachable container was released.
Much later in the 1990s, front loaders with an over-the-cab arm controlled by cylinders became industry standard. Air-over hydraulics also began replacing cable-driven controls.
Add a Front Loader to Your Fleet
With an understanding of the history of the front load refuse truck, you can understand why it was such a mainstay over the decades. Contact Big Truck Rental and rent a front loader. The models in our inventory represent the latest iterations and most efficient in the industry for streamlined operations.