A History of Forklifts

If you work around loading areas, warehouses, pallet racking, and delivery trucks, you know the importance of forklifts.

They’re indispensible.

We even have forklift ramps designed specifically for forklifts.  But do you know where forklifts come from?  Truth is, they’re nearing 100 years in age.  Of course, they’ve changed quite a bit during that time.

It Started with a War

The original “forklifts” or lift trucks as they’re often  called started showing up during the first World War (or The Great War as they used to say).  If you’ve read our history on pallets, you’ll know that pallets started becoming popular around this time as well.

Yet, despite being destined to end up together, the forklift and the pallet weren’t initially used together.

That’s because the original forklifts didn’t have actual “forks” on them.  They were more like miniature cranes on wheels designed to lift heavy pieces of military equipment (like bombs) a few inches off the ground.  This meant there was still a good amount of physical work involved with the loading and unloading process.

But still, it made the moving process considerably easier.

A Need for More Efficiency

Due to the first World War and the second one that followed shortly after, the country was left with a need for a lot of industrial workers, but had little man power to back it up.  This lead to an increase in demand and innovation for forklifts.

Pallets became THE object to store materials on and forklifts were redesigned to move them.  After the wars, commerce greatly expanded as did the world of storage as a whole, creating a need for more inventory volume and higher storage units.  Forklifts evolved to reach higher areas while maintaining safe operations.

Which Brings Us to Today

Today there are a variety of forklifts to meet the needs of different people.  To find a more detail breakdown of modern forklifts, check out our personal guide here.

Forklifts are built by many different companies.   In case you didn’t know, most popular brand of forklifts is actually Toyota.

We hope you learned something today.  Now when you’re using a forklift in the workplace, maybe you’ll feel as though you’re a part of a bigger legacy.  That’s how we like to see it.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply