The Heil Co of Milwaukee Wisconsin, introduced its first rear loader in the mid 50s called the Collecto-matic.  From 1932 to the late 40s, they were famous for making closed body external hopper trucks to collect trash.  While the Collecto-matic ressembles nothing unusual from its exterior, it did feature a rather unique compactor mechanism, which is best described using a diagram.

The compactor featured only a single packing blade operated by a single hydraulic cylinder to swing it back and forth.  It's range of motion in shown in the diagram.  The hopper had to be raised by another hydraulic cylinder, so that the packing blade's sweep could scoop it out.  Thus the compacting cycle is:
  1. packing blade swings out to tailgate.
  2. hopper is raised to meet with bottom edge of the packing blade and tilted as shown in the digram (imagine the white area being the hopper in the raised position).
  3. packing blads swings back, emptying out the hopper and pushing the refuse into the body.
  4. hopper is lowered to loading position once again.

This model came in 13, 16 and 20 cu. yd. sizes.  It also featured auxiliary loading doors on each side for bulky objects that may jam the compactor.  The load was dumped in the conventional manner by hydraulically lifting the tailgate (containing the hopper and packing blade), and then tipping the body.

Here we have a 1955 ad from the American City magazine, featuring the Collecto-matic.  If you observe carefully, you can see the tracks on the side of the tailgate, along which the hopper is guided as it is raised.

In 1975 Heil took over Garwood, the pioneer of the rear loader.  The latest Garwood trucks simply became Heil with a change of name-plate.  It is this style of Heil truck, commonly seen today, that was the last Garwood model.  This one shown is a 1985 model.

Not suprising, the compactor mechanism is completely different on this modern truck.  The hopper remains fixed of course, and the backhoe-type compactor mechanism scoops and packs the trash out of the hopper much like the Cobey Rear Loader.

© 2003,
Page created Apr 7, 2003
Page updated Apr. 14, 2003
All photos from The Heil Co. literature
1985 Heil truck from eBay photo