The Interesting History of the Forklift

Isolated image of red modern forklift on white background

The forklift has a history going back to 1917. The original idea was simply to create a truck that was designed to move materials around factories. This idea soon evolved into the early stages of modern hydraulic forklifts. Early forklifts were pretty basic and couldn’t lift loads much higher than their own height.

Even that was a major improvement on the old manual handling regime and much more cost-efficient. This time was also at the beginning of what we now consider to be mass production when huge volumes of materials and goods first began to be produced. Forklifts filled a valuable niche, reducing times and costs of movement of materials in-house for manufacturers and in distribution.

Improvements Made Throughout the Years

During the Second World War, manufacturing and high-volume production expanded enormously. The gigantic amount of materials produced during war required fast, efficient handling which meant bigger, better forklifts.

After the war, the housing boom and mass consumer society generated even more demand for efficient movement of materials and goods. Basic distribution networks as we now know them were created, and with these networks came the demand for high-efficiency handling at all levels of distribution.

In the 1950s, global trade and shipping were also expanding. This added another dimension to the handling requirements of industry and shipping. New, heavy-duty forklifts, able to handle shipping containers with ease were developed.

Forklifts in the Supply Chain

Bear in mind that these changes happened virtually overnight. In the supply chain, the major issue was the efficiency of global distribution. Forklifts played a huge role in improving efficiencies across the board. Quite literally from manufacture to delivery, forklifts handle all of the goods transported around the world.

These days, Amazon, Ali Baba and other huge international businesses are shipping colossal amounts of materials every second of every day. Forklifts are the frontline handling machines for these businesses.

The Evolution of The Forklift

The history of the forklift, in some ways, is only just beginning. New machines, automation, and the new complex work environments of warehousing and factories are evolving new “species” of forklifts.

The demand for more efficiency and different materials in the ever-changing nature of modern business has created new types of forklifts. In fact, forklifts are taking over from some heavier vehicles. Modern forklifts at much higher lifting capacity, and articulated arms (telehandlers), are changing the nature of forklift operations.

The result has been interesting, to say the least. New, computer-designed forklifts are precision instruments. From the old days of a basic drive and a couple of levers to a fully digitised dashboard and on-board systems, forklifts really have come a long way.

Ask Aussie Forklifts

If you’re looking for new and used forklifts in Sydney, Aussie Forklift Repairs is the place to go to purchase or hire forklifts. We also provide repairs, 24/7 services, maintenance and expert advice when you need help. Call us on 9679 8992 or contact us online for friendly, reliable service.