History of refuse collection (or the garbage truck):

Of course we should begin with a discussion on how the concept of gargbage collection and dumping evolved.

Unfortunately there is no single source, much less on-line, on the full history of refuse collection vehicles (which we call garbage trucks).  Perhaps the best book written on the subject is the Refuse Trucks Photo Archive by John B. Montville.  This book shows photos of garbage trucks as they evolved from simple dump trucks.  The first garbage trucks appeared soon after  the invention of motorized transportation.  Open top dump trucks were common place by the teens, but they were not designed specifically to haul garbage.  They were not very sanitary as an open top truck is an invitation to flies, vermin, and does little to contain odors.  Therefore, by the 20s covered body trucks were design to handle hauling of refuse.  It proceeds from there.

Perhaps the evolution of the garbage truck is best organized by technology rather than a chronological order of events, as there is overlap when each type was/is in common use.  It should be noted that the manufacturer of the refuse body is usually separate from the chassis.  We shall focus on the garbage handling aspect.

Type of truck Notable models Began
Covered Body
  • British makes, 1920s
early 20s
External Hoppers
  • Heil Collecto, 1929
  • Leach Garbage Getter, 1937
  • Heil Collecto-Pak, 1947
  • Garwood Bucket Loader, 1947
Rotary Loaders
  • Keller & Knappisch, 1920s
  • Garwood Industries, 1938
  • City Tank Corp Roto-Pac, 1950s
late 20s
Rear Loader Compactors
  • Garwood Load Packer, 1938
  • Leach Packmaster, 1950
  • Heil Collecto-matic, 1955
Side Loader Compactors
  • PakMor, 1947
  • M-B Packer, 1954
Front  End Loaders
  • Dempster Dumpmaster, 1955
  • Garwood T-100, 1965
  • Heil DuraPack, 1980s
(Coming Later) Garbage Trucks in other Countries
  • Europe
  • Russia
  • Japan

Introducting The Scraps, featuring clippings, sightings, stories, fun.

FAQ About the research and this project and help needed.