1930s Champion Portable Crushing Plant

By HCEA Canada

Pictured here, in the early 1930s, is a Champion portable crushing plant loaded onto a flat railcar in Goderich, Ontario.

Bound for Jasper National Park, this unit was a scaled-down version of crushing plants that the Good Roads Machinery Co. Ltd. had designed and built from the 1890s onward.

The Goderich, Ontario based Dominion Road Machinery Company factory manufactured pull graders, crushers and rollers under a patent agreement with the U.S. based Good Roads firm.

By the 1950s, Dominion Road Machinery began to focus solely on the Champion line of motor graders which saw exponential growth of units sold throughout the world. 

In an effort to create meaningful work for the unemployed during the Great Depression of 1929 the federal government set about making road work a priority. Among the infrastructure projects were the National Park system of roadways.

Portable crushing outfits, like the Champion shown here, could be easily moved to where the rock or gravel random deposits were found. Labourers fed the bucket elevator with material that was to go through the trommel screen where the fines would fall into the hopper and the oversized rock or gravel would then make it to the jaw crusher where it was crushed to size. 

A few decades later, their name was changed to Champion Road Machinery. Eventually, Volvo Construction Equipment would acquire the Champion factory and line of graders.

Unfortunately for the employees and the town of Goderich, Volvo closed the plant and moved production to Pennsylvania. 


On a brighter note, the Champion Antique Grader Club has restored several graders from the early models to the last Champion model ever built. The members all worked for Champion and have volunteered their expertise to restore the graders. The club has recently become an Affiliated Partner of the Historical Construction Equipment Association of Canada.

Although the “Wheels & Tracks in Motion” event was cancelled for the safety of all concerned due to COVID-19, a decision on our October event, “The Last Blast,” will be made early in September.  Please check our website for updates: www.hceacanada.org

To see more than 60 pieces of restored, vintage construction equipment in action be sure to attend the Historical Construction Equipment Association’s (HCEA Canada) events: “Wheels & Tracks in Motion” held in June and the “Last Blast” in October when it’s safe to attend. Both events are held at the Simcoe County Museum near Barrie, Ontario.  

HCEA Canada is a Proud Community Heritage Partner with the Simcoe County Museum.