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Jakob Ehrensvärd | profile | all galleries >> Obsolete >> The vintage power shovel tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

The vintage power shovel

Every now and then I stumble upon some left-over relic from past times in completely unexpected places, such as this power shovel.

Generally, my interest in things like this one is when they've started their way down the decay alley, but this one was apparently more or less fully functional. The interesting thing with this Landsverk shovel is rather the story of a monumental technology shift that some companies understood early and some didn't. I'm thinking about hydraulics versus steel wires.

The Swedish heavy-machinery company Landsverk was booming after WWII as civil construction project soared. Around 1960 or so, the first hydraulic excavators entered the market and most likely in the early days, they were inferior to the classic steam shovels. Like with so many parallel stories of "disruptive technology", new technology matures and eventually overtakes the established one. The force of the Schumpeterian "Creative Destruction" created new winners and inevitably, there were casualties among the established players. Landsverk was definitely of the latter category and in the late 1960, life was becoming increasingly difficult as classic shovels like this KL-230 from 1965, became harder and harder to sell. Some futile attempts were made to introduce hydraulic shovels in the early 1970s, but the company had already missed the train. Over the years to come, after a series of rescue- and reorganization attempts, Landsverk was slaughtered and left the scene. Ventis secundis, tene cursum

But - admit that wires and wheels are more exciting than hydraulic hoses... And - there are actually tasks where the classic steam shovels still rules - heavy duty mining
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