1987 - Volume #11, Issue #5, Page #19[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Canadian farmer built first front end loaderThe world's first front-end loader was built by a young Canadian farmer as part of an engineering class project at Iowa State University, Ames, in 1926.
Clifford Hamilton came to Ames from Cymric, Saskatchewan where he grew up on a grain farm. He attended a college in Saskatchewan before traveling to Iowa to obtain an associated degree. It was in an "agricultural mechanics" course there that he got an idea for a whole new way of forking manure into spreaders and getting hay onto wagons.
The loader built by the young student looked a lot different from loaders today. It used an elaborate system of cables and pulleys to raise and lower the front fork, which pivoted off the tractor's rear axle. Cable ran from the fork up over pulleys at the top of a 7 to 8 ft. high mast, then down to pulleys at the center point of the tractor frame and back to a salvaged truck rear end mounted at the rear of the tractor. To operate the fork, the operator simply used the pto to run the truck rear end in forward or reverse with the pto to raise and lower the fork, using the still-in-place truck brakes for control. Hand levers moved a grapple fork up and down above the loader fork when handling loose hay.
Clifford Hamilton, who went on to work as a soil scientist, died of cancer in 1971. His brother, Lloyd, still farms near Cymric and says that as far as he knows his brother never profited from the idea. Several years after he invented it, in about 1929, farm machinery manufacturers caught on to the idea and started producing commercial units.
In addition to the loader, Clifford also came up with the first pto shield and a special telescoping light.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lloyd Hamilton, Box 12, Cymric, Sask. S0G 0Z0 Canada (ph 306 484-4627).
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