Garwood Industries revolutionized the garbage collection industry with their Load Packer described here.  Though it began in 1938, significant numbers weren't manufactured until after the War.  By 1949, over 2500 of these trucks were in use in municipalities across the country.  Let's have a closer look at this interesting truck.

 Read what people are saying about this truck.

A diagram helps you visualize its mechanics:

As you can see, the compactor consists of a hopper (in which the garbage is loaded) and two panels that push and retain the load in the body.

The compaction cycle is best described by a 3-step diagram:

Notice how the two panels work together in driving the refuse into the truck, basically the packing cycle is:

  1. The tailgate ram panel is dropped.  It swings down and seals the hopper.  At the same time the retaing plate is released and springs back against the tailgate panel.
  2. A button is pushed which sets the tailgate ram in motion, powered by two hydraulic cylinders.  As the cylinders extend, the tailgate panel sweeps forward, scooping the trash from the hopper and pushing it into the truck.  The retaining plate is pushed forward as well. When the motion is complete, the retaining plate locks into position.
  3. The cylinders retract which brings the tailgate panel back to the middle position, flush with the edge of the hopper.  The retaining plate remains in position, keeping any refuse from falling back into the hopper.
  4. The tailgate panel is then swung up, opening up the hopper, now ready for the next load.
Notice at the end of step 2, trash cannot be loaded into the truck as with most rear loaders.  When tailgate ram swings back, it would kick any garbage out of the hopper and onto the street.  We shall see a further refinement in later models, that is linking the two panels together, which will make this possible and therefore making the truck more efficient.

Auxiliary side doors were added to later models (at least as early as 1949), for bulky items that wouldn't fit in the compactor.  They could also be used in emergency in case the compactor got jammed.

Here we see the truck in action, clearly demonstrating the loading and compaction operation.  Workers had to watch their head as the tailgate panel came crashing down once released.  Perhaps this is what an old-timer meant when he told me they "lowered the boom" after filling the hopper..

The truck dumps like a conventional dump truck.  The tailgate (containing the hopper and compactor) is hydraulically lifted to allow the truck to cleanly dump its load.

© 2003,
Page created Jan 8, 2003

All photos and digrams from Garwood Industries Sales Literature