Many people throughout the world have made hobbies and even careers out of repairing and restoring antique cars and trucks, but what about antique construction equipment? Due to the sheer size and weight of the machines of the past, it places of major limitations on their collect-ability to be sure. At least one man has taken it upon himself to collect them before we lose them all.
Jim Carter of Zionsville, Indianapolis finds, collects, preserves, and rescues old construction equipment that he has found throughout the country. He mostly prefers excavators, whether they’re of cranes, drag lines, or clam shells, but he does also have a few dozers and tractors. The videos below show a 4 part series of Dick Wolfsie’s interview of Carter, which aired on WISH in Indianapolis. In the videos, Carter shows off a 1968 Koehring 305 crane, which weighs 25 tons and still operates. While sitting inside the cab, Carter walks Wolfsie through the differences of today’s machines versus the older versions. The early machines, he says, is stone age technology, operating mostly with gears, brakes, and clutches, as opposed to the hydraulics and electronics of today’s equipment. Unsurprisingly and just like older cars, the more simply the machine is built, the easier it is to fix.
Cramer also explains in the interview that he’s a member of the Historical Construction Equipment Association, which is headquartered in Bowling Green, OH. The organization, which has roughly 4,000 members worldwide, also owns the National Construction Equipment Museum, also in Bowling Green. They also put on a yearly convention for antique equipment; this year’s will be near the headquarters from September 16-18.
Most of these antique machines are not useful on a modern job site, Carter explains, so many of them are scrapped, never to be seen again. We can only hope that we don’t lose the historical machines that built many of the buildings and infrastructure throughout the World.
Contact with overhead power lines is a major hazard when working on most construction sites and especially when working from elevated platforms or with heavy machinery.
I’ve written about Hand Tool Rescue’s Youtube channel a couple times before and the reason I like it so much is that it’s not only entertaining and therapeutic to watch, it also informs me about tools I never even knew existed.
As many of America’s oldest bridges are being demolished to make way for newer, larger bridges, it’s important to look back and understand how those bridges –and other historic buildings- came to be built prior to modern technology. Last year, a collection of 55 year old pictures from the construction of the world famous Seattle Space Needle were released to the public, shedding some interesting insight into the process of the build and the people who built it.
When construction workers cut through nature and dig in the ground, it shouldn’t be a surprise when wildlife is encountered, although some are a little bit more frightening than others. Last year, crews had to help free a giant bear that was stuck in a cesspit and the bear was happy at all about it.
I don’t think there is anyone in the construction industry that has a better marketing department than Priestly Demolition, a demolition specialty contractor based in Ontario, Canada. Their Youtube channel is filled with high quality demolition videos in the form of timelapse videos and even a 24 minute long, highly detailed video of a bridge demolition so impressive it won awards for best in the world. Implosion videos are a great source of entertainment in their own right, but the videos that Priestly put out are not only entertaining, but also great for education purposes.
Residents living near a Jersey City, New Jersey construction site were frightened as they watched “explosions” of smoke coming out of holes in the ground.
Smaller heavy construction equipment is the most likely to be stolen on a jobsite, but most of the time the thieves try to sell the equipment for money. On rare occasions, the thief just takes the machine out on the town for a joy ride and leading the police on some pretty frustrating pursuits. Early last year, a man in Florida stole a backhoe and lead police on a wild 3 hour chase as the hammer attachment drug along the asphalt throwing sparks the whole way. Just last week, police dash cam footage showed an 18 year old backing over a police cruiser, with an officer still inside, and then leading several other officers on a slow chase.
The Seattle Space Needle is not a normal building, which makes it a unique project to try to renovate. The iconic building is set to receive a $100 million renovation dubbed the Century Project that promises much better views thanks to new floor to ceiling exterior glazing. To prepare for the project, construction crews recently hoisted a 28.000 pound ring of scaffold to the tower’s Tophouse, around 400 feet in the air.
As we saw after the Lake Oroville Dam in California collapsed earlier this year, dam failures can have sudden and devastating effects. Recent footage showing raging muddy waters swallowing a construction site in a matter of seconds has been shared after river dam in Thatom, Loas failed.
Hurricane Irma ripped through the Caribbean and landed in South Florida a little over a week ago, sadly killing at least 50 people in Florida and causing plenty of property damage. High winds that accompanied the storm also caused the collapse of 3 construction cranes – two in Miami and one more in Fort Lauderdale. The crane in Fort Lauderdale was recently dismantled and the action was caught on video.