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The History of the Rear Loader Garbage Truck

When people think of a garbage truck, chances are it’s a rear loader. These trucks are synonymous with residential waste collection and play a pivotal role in keeping our neighborhoods clean.

But how did this efficient waste management solution first develop, and how has it evolved over the years? The brief history below tracks how innovation has shaped this essential part of modern waste removal.

Industrialization and the Birth of Modern Waste Removal

Rapid urbanization during the Industrial Revolution brought about a dire need for organized waste removal systems. In response, municipalities in the U.S. and Europe introduced horse-drawn carts for garbage collection.

The introduction of the first steam-powered tip car in London in 1897 marked the beginning of the evolution of the rear loader garbage truck. Steam and gasoline-powered trucks gradually replaced their horse-drawn counterparts over the next several decades. While these trucks increased efficiency, garbage collectors still had to manually lift loads to at least shoulder level.

Game-Changing Breakthroughs in Garbage Truck Design

In the late 1920s and 1930s, two major breakthroughs revolutionized garbage truck design. The introduction of hoppers, enhanced mechanics, and dumpsters eliminated the need for waste collectors to hoist garbage overhead.

The Garwood Load Packer, which included an onboard compactor, hit the market in 1937. This innovation increased truck capacity significantly, making waste collection more efficient and cost-effective. These developments made it possible for small towns to have regular garbage removal services.

In 1947, Leach made a significant breakthrough with the Packmaster, a hydraulic rear load packer designed by Gollnick. This breakthrough, along with subsequent designs, propelled Leach to the forefront of waste management technology.

Along with the simple and dependable Refuse Getter bucket loader, which Leach increased production of after the war, the Packmaster eventually proved to be the truck of the future, and by 1950, it had established itself as a market leader.

An Instant Success

The public and the waste management industry warmly received the rear loader garbage truck. Its ability to handle large amounts of waste quickly and efficiently proved invaluable in urban environments, where waste production was high.

The rear loader’s success led to widespread adoption across the United States and eventually around the world.

While compactor technology continued to evolve, with improvements in power, size, durability, and efficiency, the fundamental design of the rear loader garbage truck has endured the test of time.

Upgrade Your Fleet with Big Truck Rental

When you need dependable garbage trucks for rent, Big Truck Rental is the place to go. We provide both short-term and long-term rear loader garbage truck rental options. With locations in both the United States and Canada, expanding your capacity has never been simpler. Contact us today to learn more about our fleet options and how we can help you keep your waste management operations running smoothly.




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