Tuesday, September 16, 2014

McGiffert Loader

Purchased new in 1989, this is a stunning replica of a McGiffert Loader by Overland Models, Inc.

The "McGiffert" represents loggers ingenuity.

Self powered, chain drives move the loader to the loading site at a blistering 5 mph. On site, the wheel sets are cranked up, settling the loader onto skids. Once the wheel sets are stowed, empty log cars move beneath the machine and spotted for loading logs by the main boom.

This loader was manufactured by the Clyde Iron Works of Duluth, a company founded by C.A. Luster in 1899 under the name of Northwestern Manufacturing Company. The name "Clyde Iron Works" was adopted in 1901.

Trained as an attorney, with a passion for tinkering and invention, a Clyde company executive, John R. McGiffert designed and oversaw the erection of the first "McGiffert" log loader in 1902.

Preamble to US Patent No. 899,180, filed December 6, 1905:

To all whom it may concern: Be it known that I, John R. McGiffert, a citizen of the United States, resident of Duluth, county of St. Louis, and State of Minnesota, have invented a new and useful improvement in Log-Loading Machines, of which the following is a specification, the principle of the invention being herein explained and the best mode in which I have contemplated applying that principle, so as to distinguish it from other inventions.

The "McGiffert" was an instant success, and the company could scarcely keep up with demand. More than 1,000 units were erected.

In 1923 Clyde Iron Works merged engineering and sales with Willamette Iron & Steel, located on the western bank of the Willamette River in Portland Oregon.

In the 1920's efforts were made to power skidders, yarders and loaders by Direct Current (DC) power. This was an effort to make forestry safer by elimination of fire danger.  The photo below shows the first DC powered McGiffert loader under construction at Willamette Iron & Steel.

Willamette, as you may recall from the history of the Shay locomotive, was licensed to repair Shays working in the Pacific Northwest, thereby eliminating the necessity to ship locomotives all the way back to Lima, Ohio.

With the knowledge gained from servicing Shays, Willamette envisioned a "Pacific Coast" version, and in November 1922, the first Willamette Geared Locomotive was delivered to Coos Bay Lumber Company.

She was of course a Shay type, but the name "Shay" was owned by Lima.  From my collection, the brass locomotive above is Construction Number 25, Willamette Geared Locomotive, built for Eastside Lumber Company #107.  See my earlier posting, The Willamette Geared Locomotive.

Overland released this model in 1985, catalog number 304, was produced by Samhongsa. I purchased it in 1989, and it has been a static display ever since, as shown in the photo set.

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