Watch a 1915 Erie Type A Steam Shovel working at the Welland Country Fair, filmed in the summer of 2016. The coal-fired Erie type A and B were created by The Ball Engine Company, an industrial steam engine company founded in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1883. From HistoryandMemorabilia.org:

Oddly, the Erie B’s introduction predated that of the A by about a year. The A and B could both be mounted on crawlers or steel traction wheels, and the B was also available with railroad wheels. The B could be set up as a shovel with various combinations of booms and dipper sticks for general, overburden, railroad ditching, or open-trench excavation. It could also be outfitted as a crane or dragline, although it had limitations as a dragline due to the low line pull typical of steam excavators.

The Erie A and B were aggressively promoted, and their design concepts proved so successful that Ball dominated the small-excavator market. Ball Engine spun off its stationary steam engine lines in 1920 and became Erie Steam Shovel in 1922.

Below, a 1916 Type B Erie Shovel, filmed in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 2013:

Related reading: How Steam Shovels Work.

Next: More excavator videos, including Il Capo (The Chief) – A clip from Yuri Ancanari’s 2010 documentary and another Erie B.

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