This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
The quick spill.
Perhaps the greatest time-saver for the modern labourer is– of all things– the good ol’ dump truck. Think about it. Instead of needing a group of strong backs to shovel a big load of dirt or gravel or whatever out of the box of a truck, the dump truck just, well, dumps it. Credit for the first one goes to Robert Mawhinney. In 1920, the Saint John New Brunswicker put together a truck equipped with a special dump box in back. The dump box was fitted with a mast, cable, and winch. a simple crank handle was used to operate the winch, which tugged on the cable that lifted the front end of the box high enough to dump its load out the open back. His idea was an instant hit; within a decade the dump truck was mandatory equipment wherever earth was moved. Shovels down, lads.