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Overshot Crawler Loader

By Tom Berry, Contributing Editor | May 26, 2020
Sargent Iron Works loader on a Cletrac.
A Sargent Iron Works loader attachment for a Cletrac BGS at rest in the loading position.

The compact track loader is a machine without any direct roots in early machine technology. In the mid-20th century, another type of track loader filled its niche of being able to dig and load within a confined area.

As crawler tractors were perfected for construction and mining applications, they evolved from mere prime movers to tool handlers. Attachments offered included dozers, loaders, shovels, cranes, sidebooms, and more.

On a conventional crawler loader, the bucket is forced into the bank to load, then the tractor backs away and turns to trundle off to wherever it will dump the load. In some circumstances, there was no room to maneuver like this, and in others the movement was inefficient or caused spillage. The overshot loader was developed to solve these problems.

An overshot loader loads at one end of the tractor and dumps to the other by passing the bucket overhead. Most of these machines loaded in front and pulled the bucket up and over to dump in back. An attachment built for some Cletrac tractors loaded in back and swung the bucket over the top on a stiff boom to dump in front.

Most makes of overshot loader attachments were designed for light-duty excavation or such specialized work as scooping up sugar beets and dumping them into railroad cars. But Eimco of Salt Lake City, Utah, took the concept to its logical conclusion with two models of exceptionally robust loaders that were designed for steel mills, hard rock tunneling, and other extremely demanding applications.

The Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the construction, dredging, and surface mining equipment industries. With over 3,800 members in twenty-five countries, our activities include publication of a quarterly educational magazine, Equipment Echoes, from which this article is adapted; operation of National Construction Equipment Museum and archives in Bowling Green, Ohio; and hosting an annual working exhibition of restored construction equipment. Our 2020 show will be August 28-30 near Concordia, Kansas. Individual memberships within the U.S. are $35 for one year, $66.95 for two years and $99.95 for three years. We seek to develop relationships in the equipment manufacturing industry, and we offer a college scholarship for engineering and construction management students. Information is available at www.hcea.net, by calling 419.352.5616 or emailing info@hcea.net.

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