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Thu August 01, 2013 - National Edition
(Editor’s note: This article was published in CEG Feb. 19, 1975.)
ConExpo, the show everyone involved in the construction equipment industry has been waiting for, opened this past week in Chicago. Held every six years by CIMA, ConExpo is the world’s largest privately sponsored indoor trade show.
The doors opened as Mayor Richard Daley cut the ribbon and the crowd poured in. And a crowd it was as 75,000 braved sub-zero temperatures on opening day to see and marvel at the latest developments in construction equipment. It was the largest opening day crowd in the 50-year history of ConExpo and it didn’t stop there. By Monday night, only the second day of the event, the crowd had exceeded the most optimistic predictions of 125,000 for the entire week. The crowd was as varied as it was large, ranging from the mid-western excavator in his working clothes to some dressed in cowboy hats and boots, while others were in their Wall Street business suits; it seemed that all types of people came to see the exhibits. Over 15,000 people came from overseas representing about 80 countries. England, Europe, Japan, Australia, the Middle East and even some communist countries were among the many represented.
There was plenty to see — 230 exhibitors displayed the latest in construction equipment, methods and accessories, for every segment of the construction industry. Thousands of pieces of equipment ranging in weight from many pounds to many hundreds of tons, were on exhibit in the two halls, McCormick Place and the International Amphitheatre, that offered over two million feet of space. The total value of the equipment on display was in excess of $150 million.
The display was awesome. One of the attractions was a huge rubber-tire loader with a 24 cu. yd. bucket. It was so big it had to be displayed out of doors — a tall man could easily walk under it. Some manufacturers such as Fiat-Allis, John Deere and Massey Ferguson entered the heavy crawler market with many new models. The big scoop bucket was featured on several of the many excavators displayed. Articulated graders, huge rubber-tire loaders, a large electronic wheel dozer, all types of cranes and much foreign made equipment were just some of the fascinating exhibits.
The exhibitors themselves put on a first-class show. In addition to the dazzling array of equipment there were other attractions to pep up the weary eye. Shows, movies, comedy sketches, and stars all had a part in making this a great event. Football players, coaches and golfers were on hand to help promote. Jack Nicklaus, George Blanda, Ken Stabler, Roger Staubach and Don Shula were all there. Evil Knievel’s ill-fated rocket hung from a crane in McCormick Place.
The show had to be seen to be experienced and its success encourages an optimistic outlook for the future.