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AEM Announces 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees

November 19, 2020

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Hall of Fame recognizes pioneers whose inventions, ideas, leadership and courage have contributed to the industry. For 2020, AEM has selected three individuals to celebrate in its Hall of Fame: Art Moore, founder of Snorkel Lifts, and brothers Ray and Koop Ferwerda, inventors of the Gradall excavator.

Art Moore (1924-2019) Founder, Snorkel Lifts

Art Moore grew up in St. Joseph, Missouri, just north of Kansas City, where he became childhood friends with future business partner Ray Pitman. Pitman and Moore started the Pitman Manufacturing Company in 1949, focusing on hydraulic lift trucks. In 1958, the Chicago Fire Department modified a Pitman truck with a fire hose, and Moore saw the benefit of the idea, breaking off to focus on lifted fire equipment with the Snorkel Fire Equipment Company, which he opened in 1959.

In 1977, Moore took his designs for the Snorkel Telesquirt and applied them to a construction access lift, developing the first TB42 lift. In 1986, Moore led Snorkel to develop the “Uno” articulated boom lift for industrial plant maintenance. Two years later, Snorkel entered the scissor lift market with the acquisition of Economy Engineering. In 1991, Moore retired from snorkel, however, returned to the board of directors after Snorkel was acquired by Ahern, where he served until his passing in 2019.

Ray (1899-1976) and Koop Ferwerda (1900-1955) Inventors, Gradall excavator

In 1925, brothers Ray and Koop Ferwerda opened Ferwerda Brothers Contracting Company, still focusing their work in the eastern suburbs. By 1940, they had sold some equipment, and saved enough money, to start developing an idea they had: A hydraulic excavator with an extendable boom that could reach down beneath the roadway to grade embankments, a previously time and labor-intensive task. 

In 1946, in working with Warner-Swasey, the Gradall M2400 would become the first hydraulic excavator to enter series production in the U.S. Since then, the Gradall excavator concept has been expanded, still using the triangular, extendable boom design first devised by the Ferwerda brothers.

The induction of Moore and the Ferwerda Brothers brings the total number of inductees to sixty-four.

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