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The Unexpected Origin Of Dump Trucks

The Unexpected Origin Of Dump Trucks

It is difficult to think of a piece of heavy machinery as universally known as the dump truck, with everyone from exceptionally young children to the elderly having seen one and often been in awe of them travelling on the road next to them.

Also known as tipper lorries or dumper trucks, dump trucks are typically used for transporting heavy bulk materials such as sand, aggregate, and heavy building materials as well as vital resources such as coal.

This is because they are easily loaded at the starting point and even more easily unloaded through the use of a hydraulic lifting arm at the destination.

However, whilst they are fairly universal and exceptionally ubiquitous, their origins had them be used for a far different purpose by a particularly local destination.

In an age before major rubbish and recycling collection services, the dustcart was used to collect the ashes and dust from the bins of people’s homes back when it was common to simply burn rubbish and litter.

This was a task typically undertaken with a hand push cart and a team of dustmen, but in 1896, the potential for change emerged as the red flag laws first enacted in 1865 were repealed, allowing cars to travel up to 16 miles per hour compared to the previous four.

This allowed for commercial road transport to be actually viable, and at the forefront of this development was Sir John Isaac Thornycroft, known at the time for his pioneering work in the world of fast boats.

He set up an eponymous Steam Carriage and Van Company in Chiswick, and with the help of

The Bristol Wagon and Carriage Works constructed the Steam Wagon, one of the first commercial transports ever built.

Bristol worked on a tipper wagon as well, thanks to a particular assignment by Chiswick Council to create a powered dustcart.

It was successful and would prove influential, although ultimately not to the waste collection industry.