The famous Gradall excavator traces its roots back to the start of the 1940s. During this time, World War II had created a scarcity of workers as the majority of the young men went away to fight the war. This decline in the work force brought a huge need for the delicate work of grading and finishing highway projects.
A Cleveland, Ohio construction company referred to as Ferwerda-Werba-Ferwerda faced this particular problem first hand. Two brothers, Koop and Ray Ferwerda had relocated to the United States from the Netherlands. They were partners in the business that had become amongst the leading highway contractors in Ohio. The Ferwerdas' set out to build an equipment which will save both their company and their livelihoods by inventing a unit which will perform what had before been manual slope work. This creation was to offset the gap left in the worksite when so many men had joined the military.
The brothers initially invented an apparatus which had 2 beams set on a rotating platform, which was connected on top of a second-hand truck. They used a telescopic cylinder in order to move the beams out and in. This allowed the connected blade at the end of the beams to pull or push dirt.
After a short time, the Ferwerda brothers improved on their initial design. They made a triangular boom to produce more power. Then, they added a tilt cylinder that enabled the boom to turn forty-five degrees in either direction. This new unit could be outfitted with either a blade or a bucket and the attachment movement was made possible by placing a cylinder at the rear of the boom. This design powered a long push rod and allowed a lot of work to be done.
Not a long time after, numerous digging buckets were introduced on the market. These buckets came in 15 inch, 24 inch, 36 inch and 60 inch sizes. There was additionally a 47 inch heavy-duty pavement removal bucket which was available as well.
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