Covered Bodies
It soon became evident that open trucks were not very suitable for garbage collection.  Open trucks are prone to spillage not to mention do a poor job of containing the dust and odors.  And especially during the warmer season, they were a magnet for flies and vermin.  It became important to control these sanitary problems associated with garbage especially in dense urban centers.

Covered trucks which eliminated these problems were first introduced in Europe, where the population density is much greater than in the United States.  The usually featured an all-steel leak-proof body and a dumping mechanism to tip the load.  Hydraulic cylinders became the method used for raising up the body for dumping.  As we shall see, hydraulics are important in garbage collection for another reason.

Some British trucks are shown here:

Loading this Bean Cars Ltd. truck meant you had to lift the load to about shoulder level. 

Also, notice the dumped load of cinders.  Since many people in those days had a wood stove, they often burned their trash and put out the ashes for the truck to pick up


This Morris Comercial Cars Ltd truck was operated by the Dawlish Urban District Council.  Notice the inscription on the body "Burn Your Refuse And Save Rates".  Burning trash, besides reducing the volume (therefore collection fees), had the added benefit of eliminating germs and odors.

This Dennis Bros truck also shown in the tipping position, had a canvas cover on the body.  Notice the cab roof is attached to the body!

By the 1930s, covered trucks were common place in the United States.

1938 K Garbage Trucks delivered to the City of Lorain, Ohio

Copyright 2003,
Page created Jan 5, 2003

British Photos taken from "The Commercial Car Journal and Operation & Maintenance", Oct 1929
Lorain Ohio - Source unknown.