A steam shovel with a unique attachment

toronto steam shovel

Pictured here in June of 1922 is a steam shovel equipped with a unique attachment. Upgrades to the Toronto street car tracks were underway which meant the existing road surface had to be removed.

During this era of rapid city growth after the First World War, the Public Works Department, along with the Toronto Transit Commision (TTC), maintained a fleet of trucks and heavy equipment to complete municipal projects in-house.

When one of the city’s steam shovels was pressed into service to break up several blocks of pavement, a solution in the form of an innovative attachment was built.

Removal of the machines dipper stick and bucket allowed the installation of the shop-built guillotine style breaker.

Since fabrication by arc welding was still in its early stage, the attachment was riveted together. Riveting also can be seen on the boom of the shovel. 

No doubt the steam hoisting engineer running this shovel would have thought his skill as an operator was being wasted on this ‘hoist, drop, move and repeat’ job.

This article is provided by the Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA) Canada. HCEA Canada is a Proud Community Heritage Partner of the Simcoe County Museum.