Compared to what we, in our industry, started with less than a couple hundred years ago, the path from steam power to satellite-guided construction equipment has been an incredible road.
A very cool book I rediscovered on my shelf is Giant Earthmovers: An illustrated history by Keith Haddock.
The book is a good one to pull out any time you are frustrated with a modern day technologically-advanced piece of heavy equipment's inability to achieve exacting grade, brew a perfect cup of espresso, and walk your pooch all at the same time. I exaggerate but we are expecting phenomenal productivity from the incredible machines available to us today… as we probably should. Yep, it's a matter of perspective. Compared to what we, in our industry, started with less than a couple hundred years ago, the path from steam power to satellite-guided construction equipment has been an incredible road. Certainly, now is a good time to be alive.
Here's the book description of Giant Earthmovers:
“A comprehensive review of earthmoving and construction equipment from the birth of primitive industrial tools to today's awe-inspiring machines! The biggest haulers, dozers, scrapers and unusual specialty equipment in the field are presented here in over 500 black-and-white photographs. The author's expertly written text details machine categories and discusses the history, evolution, design and manufacture of these industry giants. Packed full of top-quality archival photographs, most taken from manufacturer archives.”
Published in 1998, the book serves as an interesting scrapbook of the earliest innovations, eurekas, and practical engineering all developed to address the age-old question: “How can we do this better?”
Here's what's in the book:
• From Man to Machinery
• Wheel Loaders
• Motor Graders
• Off-Highway Trucks
• Large Cable Excavators
• Stripping Shovels
• Walking Draglines
• Continuous Excavators
• Trenching Machines
• Hydraulic Excavators
The book is out of print, but finding a copy may require a little search effort. I checked on Amazon and there were 29 used copies selling for $5.02 to $137.84 (there was one hopeful joker asking $1,872.21 for a copy in Acceptable condition!). There were also eight brand new copies selling on Amazon for $54.80 up to $95.
Also, after putting the book title into a Google search, I found several sites online that appear to offer FREE downloads of the book in pdf form. You will want to investigate what is meant by “Free.”
Get a copy of Giant Earthmovers: An illustrated history if you can, it is definitely a fun book to page through from time to time.