The History of Fork Lifts

the history of forklifts

It is difficult to think of a world without forklifts which have been a crucial piece of equipment. Forklifts have been around for more than 100 years. People have continuously worked toward improving the early load-carrying vehicles. Now in today’s era, forklifts are significantly more powerful and efficient. They’re crucial for smooth warehouse operation, lumber yards and so much more. This article offers a brief history of forklifts.

The Industrial Revolution: Manual Power

Forklifts have made a significant impact on the material handling sectors. The seed of the Forklift invention was sown during the Industrial Revolution. It was during the 19th century, that industrial production started rising rapidly. There was now a need for safer, faster, and quite efficient modes of moving raw materials.

To meet the rising demand, the inventors made a sack track that was operated manually.

A hand-crank on the sack truck allowed workers to lift heavy items such as milk churns and grain sacks five feet high. These sacks were modified with time and became more helpful in the gas, chemical, and agriculture industries.

The First Patent

In 1867 the machine that could transport and lift materials was invented.

The device was relatively straightforward with hist, upward frame, and cantilever platform. It would be attached to a cart which would move it to the working station. This invention allowed workers to move raw materials without picking them physically. After 20 years, in 1887, there came a new invention.

The new device was named a portable elevator. The invention was made to improve the existing 1867 model. It was characterized by an elevator mechanism that lifted a platform vertically for a few inches. The simple mobile elevators acted as a foundation for a modern lift truck.

Pre-World War I: Electric Power

forkliftsDuring the 20th century, most companies were already using four-wheeled carts.

The cart then became powered in 1906 when Pennsylvania Railroad incorporated a battery into their cart at Altoona Train Station. These ended up being the first world’s powered industrial trucks. In addition, it marked the transition from manual to powered trucks.

In 1909, the first-ever industrial truck was invented. It combined the all-steel frame with horizontal and vertical lifting mechanisms. It enabled workers to handle more heavy loads resulting in the rapid deployment of lift trucks in many industries.

The Interwar Period: The First True Forklifts

World War 1 &II period shows the transition to forklifts from platform-based industrial trucks. Eugene Clark invented the first seated counterbalanced truck at Clark Material Handling Company in 1917.

It later led to Yale’s invention of the first electric truck in 1923. The car had forks and had much resemblance to modern-day forklifts.

Forklifts In the 1960s: Technological Advancements

forklifts backgroundBy the 1960s, forklifts had additional safety measures and could now lift loads to 50 feet high. Special forklifts emerged, including battery-powered lift trucks and others designed to operate in narrow aisles.

In 1967, Toyota started selling forklifts in the United States, with the Perlin company being one of the first dealerships. The 1972 Toyota FB7 had a capacity of 1500 pounds and a battery-powered electric forklift.

Modern forklifts have roots in manual forklifts in the early 1900s. Due to technological advancements such as battery improvements and standardizations, forklifts have become more crucial than ever. The new features have added a level of complication and danger so it’s important to consider a license when operating a forklift.

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