Construction Equipment Trivia – Interesting Things You Should Know about Excavators

Excavators are among the first heavy machines that are usually deployed during a construction project. Used in clearing away rubble like tree stumps and dirt in a construction site, excavators indeed make heavy-duty operations a lot easier to accomplish. Here’s a list of fascinating facts about excavators that will interest you:

The First Steam-Powered Excavator

The first steam-powered excavator, which was called steam shovel, was invented by a young American innovator, William Otis. At the age of 22, Otis, who was a civil engineer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, created the world’s first mechanical excavator that was powered by steam. He received a patent for his invention in February 1839, which was officially called “Crane-Excavator for Excavating and Removing Earth.” Unfortunately, just a few months after officially getting his creation’s patent, he died in November 1839; he was only 26 years old.

Early Uses of the Steam-Powered Excavator

During the time Otis invented the steam shovel, railroads were being constructed in the USA and the UK and with that, the steam shovel became in demand. Steam shovels were also used in digging foundations and basements for skyscrapers at that time. In 1904, during the construction of the Panama Canal, 102 steam shovels were stationed there to do the digging. It took them a decade to finish the digging, but without the help of the steam shovel, it would have taken a lot longer than that to complete the Panama Canal.

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