External Hopper Trucks
While Covered Body trucks did eliminate many of the problems of odors, flies, and wind blowing refuse off the truck, they were cumbersome to load up.  In most cases, the sanitation workers had to lift the cans or bags of rubbish to shoulder level in order to empty it into the truck.  It would be much better if it could be loaded at waist level, and then have some mechanism that would lift it into the truck.  The external hopper mechanism was the answer as shown on a couple models shown here.  It appears Heil was the first American comapny to introduce the hopper concept, in 1929

The first model, is the Heil Collecto, built on a GM chassis and features a side hopper.  A lever mechanism, cable driven, would lift the hopper and tip the contents into the truck through an opening at the top  The mechanism would then lower the hopper so that it could be filled up with the next load.  An apron would keep the opening shut when the hopper was in the down position, keeping the truck sealed.  The body was hydraulically tipped back to dump the load.  A rear panel would raise up to release the load in this case.  The full ad of the Collecto body is available.  The Collecto was one workhorse through much of the 30s and 40s, however because of the depression, open or covered body trucks were probably more commonly used up to the war.

The second model shown is a later Heil model, called the Collecto-Pak introduced in the 1940s.  Here we see the same concept, except the hopper is now at the rear.  Notice how much easier the garbage is loaded here, compared to the covered body trucks.  The hopper is raised and emptied into an opening at the top of the truck like the earlier side-loader Collecto models.  The front end loader which we are familiar with that goes around emptying dumpsters is based on this concept.  Here we see the Collecto-Pak in 3 basic positions.  First, with the hopper raised, and then the rear hatch opened, and finally in the dumping position.

The Collecto-Pak, so named because it featured a compaction panel at the front of the body which would move rearword to compress the load towards the back of the truck.  This is another concept that would be later used in the front end loader.  This same panel would also help eject the load during dumping as shown in the diagram.  The compaction process could double the size of the load the truck could carry, similar to the revolutionary Garwood Load Packer.  The Collecto-Pak models were manufactured well into the 50s and featured a 10 yard body size.  Here is an ad feature one in use in Passedena, Calif.  Indicentally Garwood also mannufactured such a truck, called the Garwood Bucket Loader.

These trucks competed with the rear loader / compactor in the 1950s.  They had obvious cost advantages - mechanically simpler and therefore cheaper to buy and maintain.  Unfortunately they had a few disadvantages over the rear loader:

So, as our garbage problems became larger, the rear loader became the favored.truck by the 60s.  However this truck in a sense lives on as a front loader in today's world.

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Page created April 16, 2003