5 Astounding Facts about Forklifts You Never Knew

Forklifts are one of the most important tools and industrial innovations of modern times. They are both practical and popular for the moving of various products over short distances and over 150,000 of them are distributed to material handling buyers every year.  The forklift may not be the most interesting piece of machinery in the world, but it effectively saves companies loads of money by doing the work of twenty men.  That being said, here’s some things you may not know about the forklift.

1) Forklifts Don’t Cause as Many Accidents as You Might Think

While forklifts are dangerous and operators are mandated to pass safety tests before being licensed to drive them, forklifts actually don’t cause too many accidents in factories or warehouses.  In fact, of all accidents in these workplaces, forklift accidents make up only 1% of them.  However, 10% of physical injuries are caused by forklifts.

2) Thieves Have Used a Stolen Forklift to Steal an ATM

While forklifts have generally been used in the working world, there have been people who have thought of slightly more creative/illegal ways to use this machine.  In Fayetteville, Georgia, some enterprising thieves somehow managed to steal a forklift and then used that stolen forklift to make off with an ATM machine.  Security video reveals a forklift ramming into the 2,000 pound ATM machine and taking it out from its foundation.  Apparently, using forklifts in robberies similar to this is becoming somewhat of a trend. It may go without saying but use your forklift for good!

3) The Tructractor Was the Forklift Precursor

The forklift wasn’t just invented out of thin air, there were some important forerunners that paved the way for the forklift.  It’s the tractractor that is particularly credited as being the precursor to the traditional forklift.  Clark’s axle plant produced the tractractor in 1917 solely for its own use, but when visitors started requesting their own models developments began and in 1923 Yale produced the first electric truck with raising forks. Thus, the forklift came into existence, though it took sometime to truly become popular, and the modern forklift didn’t appear until 1960.

4) World War II & Wooden Pallets Pushed Forklift Production Forward

The forklift has made several important evolutionary steps to improve its working capabilities and World War II served as a major catalyst.  In 1930 the wooden pallet became standardized and, when laborers were looking for a more efficient way to load the large quantities of war supplies on ships and wagons, the production of forklifts soared.  One company moved from just 500 units in 1939 to well over 23,000 towards later end of the war.  This continual movement of goods led to another important forklift development.  When it became essential for forklifts to last longer, models were developed to work a full eight-hour shift on a single battery charge.

5) Forklifts Aren’t Just for Warehouses

While they are most associated with warehouses, forklifts of varying types can also be found in other workplaces.  The specially designed rough-terrain forklifts can move construction equipment, roofing supplies, bricks, and lumber.  They technically work the same way as normal forklift trucks, but are equipped with a very rugged transmission that allow them to work in the various ground conditions.  The 4-wheel mechanism gives this forklift a larger turn radius and it’s a bit slower at work because there’s 4 wheels creating traction.

About Tom Reddon

Tom has been involved in the forklift industry since 1986. He loves doing research, blogging, and speaking about forklifts. You can contact Tom on his Twitter or Google+ profiles.

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