Marion Model 21 three-quarter yard steam shovel

Marion steam shovel

Pictured here in the 1920s is a Marion Model 21 three-quarter yard steam shovel at work in Brantford, Ontario.

Johnson Bros. Co. Ltd. started with horses and labourers in 1910 in the Port Hope, Ont. area on railroad sub-contracts.

When they secured a contract in 1913 to build the Lake Erie and Northern electric rail line from Galt to Port Dover, they headquartered in Brantford since it was the half-way point of the job. 

After a successful run in earthmoving, aggregate production, paving, highway and building construction they ceased operations in 1972.

The Marion Power Shovel Co. began building rail mounted steam shovels and Barnhart log loaders in the 1880s eventually supplying more than 20 large rail shovels to work on the Panama Canal.

Marion take over

Construction of the Welland Ship Canal from 1913 to 1935 also saw use of their large capacity draglines. By the late 1990s, Marion had been taken over by rival manufacturer, Bucyrus-Erie, marking the end of a century of innovation.

More than 800 of the Marion Model 21 shovels were built between 1919 and 1926 at the Marion, Ohio factory.

Initially mounted on steel wheels, track mounted versions of the four-crawler and full-length track design types were soon the norm.

Check out more vintage heavy equipment here.

Powered originally by steam, at production end they could be available powered by gasoline engines, electric or gas-electric generator power units. They were pretty advanced for nearly a century ago.

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.