Pettibone Wheel Loaders

Sept. 25, 2015

Pettibone Traverse Lift LLC is a major manufacturer of telehandlers, extended-reach and rough-terrain forklifts, as well as other material-handling equipment. The company’s history includes an amazingly diverse range of construction-equipment products, including some of the most unusual wheel loaders ever built. Pettibone was the largest builder of rigid-frame wheel loaders, in this author’s knowledge, to never take the next evolutionary step into articulated loaders. Perhaps the Speed-Swing Loader was seen as a better avenue for the company to explore. All images are reproduced from Pettibone sales literature in the HCEA Archives.

The Speedall PM440H’s unusual bucket mounting gave it an extra-high, 14-foot dumping clearance and a 90-degree rollout for its 3-cubic yard (struck) standard bucket. The “H” indicated high clearance. This model was known to have been built in 1961 and 1962.

Rigid-frame wheel loaders with 5-cubic-yard buckets have always been relatively rare, but the PM550 Shovel Loader was certainly the rarest of the rare in this category. The bucket’s pivot point was on top of the bucket, rather than on the ground, and the bucket was lifted in an arc through the bank in the manner of a power shovel as it rolled back, without moving the loader. Instead of pivoting at the end of the loader arms to dump, the floor of the bucket opened hydraulically, allowing extra dumping clearance and the ability to retain oversize material in the bucket. The bucket-dump design also eliminated shock to the truck or hopper that was being charged by giving the operator the ability to control the flow of material out of the bucket. This remarkable machine was built at least in 1962.

The unconventional Super 70 Model 704S Cary-Shovel was Pettibone’s largest wheel loader by far. The bottom-dump bucket was rated at 20 cubic yards (struck) and 26 cubic yards (heaped). Although other loaders of this capacity were usually designed for heavy excavation, this machine was suited for general materials handling. It was offered in 1962 as one of two loader variants of the Cary-Lift extended-reach forklift.

The Historical Construction Equipment Association is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of the construction, dredging and surface mining equipment industries. Individual memberships are $35 within the USA and Canada, and $45 US elsewhere. Contact: 419.352.5616 or email.

Bureau of Public Roads Manuscript Collection, Idaho State Archives
Knox Yellow road scraper.
Caterpillar image, Maier-Dailey Papers, HCEA Archives
On a road job near Galva, Illinois, in September, 1938, a Cat D4 with a High Loader is spreading fill, plus towing a disc and a pneumatic roller. It also ditched, placed pipe, and cleared brush. The machine handled excavation as well, including overburden, gravel, and earth and rock cuts.