Name just about any object you like and somebody will build a collection of examples: of every age and variety.
Believe it or notthe list includes vintage excavators, despite the fact that they are not the sort of thing you can keep in your garage, or even a big back yard.
And even if you have found a rare and much-sought-after example transporting it into your collection would be no mean feat. Nevertheless, around the world there are several collections of these beasts, from the earliest days.
Queensland Vintage Excavators is"a non-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation, restoration, and operation of earthmoving equipment from days gone by."
It has a Facebook page, but no web site, where the founder tells how he came to start collecting these massive machines.
There are details of the collection, photos of specimens under restoration, and much more. For any industry veteran, it would be real trip down memory lane.
On the other side of the world, in Threlkeld in the English Lake District, you will find the Threlkeld Quarry and MiningMuseumwhere the Threlkeld Vintage Excavator Trust maintains a collection of vintage excavators. It's run by"a group of volunteers who would welcome new colleagues as the museum expands."
The museum is located in the former Threlkeld quarry, so there's plenty of space to put these museum specimens through their paces.
There's a good selection of pictures of the collection //www.flickr.com/photos/20121956@N…2157621702130864/">on Flikr, and UK Earthmovers magazine paid a visit once. You can read their report here.
There is also a book on the subject Vintage Excavators, by Michael J Irwin. According to its page on Amazon “This is the story of the mechanised excavator, going back to the 1830s, when the American William S Otis invented his Otis Steam Shovel and ended total dependence upon hard labour for all work involving earth removal. The book ranges from the rope shovel to the hydraulic excavator.”
However despite the fact that the excavator appears to have originated in the USA we were unable to find were any similar collections in North America.
There’s also another vintage excavator collection in the UK. We could not find a web site for it, or even a Facebook page but you can buy a video about it.
The promo page says: “Andrew Beulah's Meaux Abbey Farm, in Yorkshire is a fascinating place for enthusiasts of heavy earth-moving machinery. Andrew's own collection of tractors, bulldozers, excavators and similar big tackle are housed there, but it is also the base for people who own big machines, but have nowhere to keep them at home.
Meaux Abbey Farm was also the scene of a gruesome double murder in 1963 for which somebody was finally charged in 2004, but that's another story.
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