Snowplow creators were issued their patents for snow plows in the 1800s. Several years passed before the plow designs were put to use. The plow made of wood was attached to a cart drawn by a team of horses through the snow covered streets.
until the steam trains arrived and made their appearance several years later. They pushed their way through heavy drifts with giant plows attached to their front ends. Salt was used in a few cities, but was not appreciated because it ruined the streets for sleighing and damaged the shoes and clothing of pedestrians.
Plows were a necessity to city dwellers, enabling winter transportation to recover more rapidly from storms than in previous years. However, this solution was accompanied by a new round of problems, some of which remains with us today. Plowing cleared the main streets for traffic, but effectively blocked the side roads and sidewalks with huge, uneven mounds of compacted snow. Does this sound familiar to you? Businessmen and shop owners initially hailed the success of the plow, but later complained and even brought lawsuits against the plowing companies.
Gas and diesel engine’s also changed the snowplow machine , leading to motorized dump trucks and plows in the early 1900’s . Many cities rushed to update their snow removal fleets, abandoning most of their horse-drawn carts. In conjunction with the new trucks, cities began to use (Caterpillar tractors) known as “HOLT-Cat” equipped with plow blades. To haul the snow away, they used steam shovels, cranes, and railway cars to get the snow off the streets and dumped into the rivers, and water ways.
However, the need for laborers was a must to make sure the areas where snow removal machine could not get, the laborers could. Then Barber-Green snow loader, was successful and several cities purchased snow loaders that same winter. The snow loader was an ingenious piece of machinery. Riding on tractor treads, it was equipped with a giant scoop and a conveyor belt. As the snow was plowed, it was forced up , caught by the conveyor belt which carried it up and away from the street into a chute at the top where it was dropped into a dump truck parked underneath. It effectively made snow removal easier and more effective for the cities by making the process much less labor and time intensive.
However, this was all great. But you have to think of then and now to really get the understanding of how much we have advanced in snow removal from then until now. Back in the beginning of the 1900’s the word hydraulic wasn’t even in the vocabulary like it is today. The snow plow operators of that time was exposed to the winter climate as the were working removing snow in storms, they did not have a climate control cab. The plow designs where also primitive, They had big bull nose one way plows like you see on trains today . The ability to move snow from one side to the other while moving was not even an idea. Today an operator can change the radio with one button while moving snow with another button at the same time. Snowplows have certainly come along way. The advancement you can see just in the past 20 years. Snowplow pumps where driven on a belt off the engine pulley, the more you would rev the engine up the quicker the plow would move.
Now snowplows are run electrical over hydrualic with electric motors and solenoid valves, quicker ,lightweight, and can be installed in smaller area’s. There is also big change with using laser guided devices to assist the snowplow operator in locating the roadways he needs to plow, while looking at a big white blanket. Snow removal has come a long way and will continue to change in the next decade.