The famous Gradall excavator traces its roots back to the start of the 1940s. During this time, World War II had caused a scarcity of workers because the majority of the young men went away to fight the war. This decrease in the work force brought a huge need for the delicate work of finishing and grading highway projects.
A Cleveland, Ohio construction company known as Ferwerda-Werba-Ferwerda experienced this particular problem first hand. Two brothers, Ray and Koop Ferwerda had relocated to the USA from the Netherlands. They were partners in the firm that had become amongst the major highway contractors in the state of Ohio. The Ferwerdas' started to make an equipment which will save their livelihoods and their company by inventing a model which would do what had before been physical slope work. This invention was to offset the gap left in the workplace when so many men had joined the military.
The initial device these brothers invented had 2 beams set on a rotating platform and was attached directly onto the top of a truck. They utilized a telescopic cylinder in order to move the beams out and in. This enabled the attached blade at the end of the beams to pull or push dirt.
After a short time, the Ferwerda brothers improved on their initial design. They created a triangular boom to create more power. After that, they added a tilt cylinder which enabled the boom to turn forty-five degrees in either direction. This new model can be equipped with either a blade or a bucket and the attachment movement was made possible by placing a cylinder at the back of the boom. This design powered a long push rod and allowed a lot of work to be done.
Not a long time after, numerous digging buckets were introduced on the market. These buckets came in 15 inch, 24 inch, 36 inch and 60 inch sizes. There was additionally a 47 inch heavy-duty pavement removal bucket which was also offered.