Watching antique steam shovels work makes excavator regen times seem not so bad

Updated Apr 15, 2016

Erie Steam Shovel
In this age of joystick controls, climate-controlled cabs, machine control and load-sensing hydraulics, it’s easy to get frustrated with current machine annoyances like the Tier 4 engine transition, regeneration times and various other things. But it wasn’t too long ago that the following videos were the excavator operator’s reality.

Watching these Erie Steam Shovels work is kind of a conflicting experience. On one hand it’s amazing to see steam-powered equipment still in working condition. On the other, when watching this first video especially, it’s hard not to wonder “How did they get anything done?”

But get stuff done they did. As YouTuber Gary Morton explains in the second video below of a 1925 Erie Type B, these are the machines that dug the Panama Canal. And at that point, a single shovel had multiple operators, including an engineer.

Posted by Mining & Construction Equipment on Wednesday, April 6, 2016