The history of forklift is divided into seven parts, this is the first part . The birth of a miracle (Part 1), 100 years ago, the story of forklift began. The forklift’s invention is one of the important events that have great influence on the world’s industrial in 20th century ….

forklift history

1、 A hundred years ago, the story of forklifts began

The forklift’s establishment is one of the important events that have great influence on the world’s industrial in 20th century. In turn, the economic downturn and boom had a significant impact on the development and output of new forklift products. Oearly last century, the establishment of many companies and developed new methods of work and transportation of the materials. Since the founding of the American Association, the first large forklift production has been in the United States. Such as Clark,TowmotorHyster, Baker and Yale and so on. Now it has an impact on the formation of the logistics transportation market.

  • 20th century:the technological revolution

In 1903, Henry Ford founded an automobile manufacturing company and launched the Model T. Ford is not the first manufacturer (Oldsmobile first launched two years ago), but the Ford brand has become the largest. Over the past 25 years, Ford has sold more than 15 million cars, and in the 1930s, almost every American family owned its own car. In the same year, when Ford started the car business, Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orwell built a flying “heavier than air device”. They managed to get their device up for 12 seconds and fly a distance of 37 meters, marking the birth of the aviation industry. In the early 20th century, after George Stevenson invented the steam locomotive in 1840, the railway network covered the United States. The small residential areas through which smoky trains pass become large industrial areas.

Technological innovation will not only affect freight transport equipment. Since the end of the 19th century, manual trolleys and mobile platform loaders have been used. In the early 20th century, the emergence of mechanical control equipment. In the first World War, wheelbarrows with electric motors and traction batteries were widely used due to a serious lack of labor. The lifting platform is not immediately transferred to the electric traction system, which can not only transport goods, but also carry out lifting operation. Only at the end of World War, I did the designers of mechanical equipment see the advantage of stacking over simple horizontal moving goods, which increased the productivity of warehouse operations, and since then created a platform truck with “high lift”.

Clark three wheel platform loader in 1928

forklift parts history

One of the earliest Clark platform tractors (transporters) in 1921

  • Clark: the birth of the first forklift in the world

You may have been arguing for a long time about who built the first forklift. In the early 1920s, ransomes & rapider in the United Kingdom made products similar to electric front-end forklifts.In 1922, the German company MIAG developed the world’s first “high lift” forklift, which was sold five years later as the predecessor of German forklift. But, to be sure, Clark was a pioneer in forklift production. The real breakthrough was a group of workers who created the foundry of Clark Equipment Co., an American company. In 1916-1917, machines used to transport sand and raw materials became the pioneers of industrial forklifts.

In those years, there was still no engineering solution for diesel forklifts to use a differential (a system for distributing torque between wheels). Eventually, the previous product had a gasoline engine and three wheels. Due to the defects of the steering system, the turntable is very narrow, and the forklift itself is not very convenient and safe. To turn left, the operator turns the steering wheel to the right, to turn right, turn steering wheel to the left. The forklift didn’t have brakes and stops in the simplest way – it stops automatically when it hits the first obstacle. Despite these shortcomings, the forklift still performs well.

Visitors to the factory soon realized the potential value of the product and began ordering forklifts for their company. It should be noted that platform trolleys were the most common in the years prior to World War I. With the arrival of the officers, the situation changed, and the officers saw it as an ideal explosive transport vehicle on the electric tricycle forklift. At the time, electric vehicles were used in U.S. Army warehouses. Usually, the warehouse is located at the bottom of the bunker, which is a long road. In the middle of driving, the battery often fails, while dangerous goods remain in the open air, which is totally unacceptable. Clark’s technicians solved this problem by installing forklifts with internal combustion engines. At the same time, they saw that the use of electric three wheeled forklift to transport explosives is an ideal tool.

Clark Eugene, whose company built three forklift trucks on the eve of the war, was assigned a priority production line from Clark. In 1921, two to five-ton trucks were developed. This is the first forklift truck made by Clark company with a gasoline engine and lifting device. The forklift is operated by a standing driver. The forklift is equipped with hydraulic lifting system durable rubber tires, front wheel drive and rear wheel steering. It’s first time in nearly years, a gantry has been added to allow the stacking of goods at height.

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Clark’s DUAT forklift truck in 1926

Clark three-wheeled tractor with strict protection for driver’s workplace in 1927

Clark’s DUAT is essentially a tricycle powered by a gasoline engine. It is considered to be the ancestor of the counterweight forklift. In 1928, many of the features came together to create a brand new car. The landing gear (frame) in the DUAT prototype is used as the foundation of a forklift with hydraulic lifting system, front drive wheels, rear wheel steering, rubber tires and counterweight. The new machine is called the tractor. About a year later, the prototype was equipped with a gantry and tilting device. Shortly after, the name tructor changed to tructer. Front wheel drive and rear wheel control systems are installed on the tructer-a model. The tructier-b has rear wheel drive and front wheel control. The telescopic lifting mechanism on some tructier-b models is a milestone in the new generation of forklifts.

Over the next few years, the company began producing the famous Clark transmission. Therefore, the company produced the basic design idea, and its name itself became the symbol of forklift.

At the beginning of World War II, Clark had become a recognized market leader. At least 90% of all tractors and loaders (including forklifts) used by the US military during the war were produced by the company. In 1942, the first electric forklift came off the production line. This technology is beginning to appear in Europe. The first factory in Europe was built in 1952 in millheim, Germany.

Eugene Clarke died in 1942, at the age of 60, leaving only one company with annual sales of $77 million.

Clark’s latest history

  • In 1991, the industrial recession began in the United States, and the production of forklift generally decreased.
  • In 1992, Clark sold its transportation equipment business to Terex Corporation.
  • In 1995, 11 members of Clark’s board of directors redeemed Terex’s controlling interest.
  • In 1998, Clark consolidated its position in the international market by acquiring the forklift division of South Korean manufacturer Sumsung.
  • In January 2003, Young An (Korea) acquired Clark material handling company. (Clark branch, USA). Young An is well known for producing intercity buses, agricultural machinery and later real estate transactions, and has expressed interest in acquiring Clark’s European unit. However, most of the company’s employees refused the deal with Young An.
  • In April 2003, Clark material handling Europe (CMHE) was declared bankrupt and sold with FILCO’s patent. The company was founded by Phil filipov, a former executive at Terex Corporation. Most of FILCO’s shares are held by Airtrax, an American company. Ownership of inventory, know-how, drawings and other information related to Clark parts business (better known as CCP or Clark central parts) has been taken over by TVH group (Belgium).