History of Forklifts

The history of forklifts begins with the industrial revolution of the 19th century. As manufacturing increased in the U.S., factories and warehouses were growing, increasing the need to move materials from spot to another.


As early as 1900, vertical lift trucks, known as platform trucks were invented. These machines were basically wheeled carts with wooden platforms that could be raised and lowered within a very limited range. Today’s pedestrian operated pallet trucks are the modern equivalent of these machines.


In 1917, along came the first version of a modern forklift. The Clark Material Handling Company invented the “Trucktractor”. This was a tractor that included a flatbed or cargo box that could be loaded or unloaded manually. It was specifically designed for use in warehouses and was the first seated counterbalanced forklift. By 1920, hydraulic motors were introduced and in 1923, an electric truck was designed with an elevated mast and forks to specifically lift loads.


In the early part of the 20th century, pallets came in a number of sizes and shapes. As more and more factories were beginning to use forklifts, it became clear that there was a need to standardize pallets. In 1930, standardized wooden pallets were invented, which streamlined the process of lifting, loading and stacking.


Once pallets were standardized, forklift manufacturers began to standardize new equipment to work more effectively.  Forklifts were designed with standard sized forks, as well as standard spacing and length of the forks.


When World War II came along, it increased the need for lifting and loading equipment, and during the 1940s and 1950’s forklifts went through several evolutions which continue to this day.


Since the 1950s, forklifts have continued to evolve. Forklifts today have many safety features such as cages for the operators, and backrests for the masts so loads don’t topple backwards. The size and load capacities continue to increase. Technological advances have made forklifts more powerful and more economical to operate and with the innovation of lithium ion battery systems, electric forklifts are becoming more popular.


More than 500,000 people operate forklifts every day, and the demand for these machines will continue to grow in the future.


If you’re in the market for a forklift, check with the professionals at Ring Power Lift Trucks. We are the premier forklift dealer in Florida with a broad range of lifts as well as other material handling equipment. We represent all of the leading forklift manufacturers and can work with you to select a new or used forklift for your operation. We also offer short term and long term forklift rentals. We serve Jacksonville, Sarasota, and many other locations in Florida, and our service go beyond sales and rentals. We can also supply you with forklift parts and service to minimize your downtime.


If you would like any more information about the products or services we offer, visit our website or reach out to us at 877-544-5438.


Leave a comment

Copyright © 2024 · Powered by LOCALiQ