Botts Land Service
Heavy Iron
This Page is for those who love
"Heavy Iron"
(Big Equipment)
If you could back off far enough to get a look at it, you would find that it was a giant
earthmover "Shovel" called the "Silver Spade".
For safety reasons, few people ever got to see it up close unless it was moving to
a new location.  But when is was finally shut down, it was a real crowd pleaser.
Most people would have thought they were looking at the biggest earthmover in
the world, but that was not the case.  At that time, the title would have gone to an
even bigger giant called "BIG MUSKIE".
Big Muskie "Walked" on eight huge feet.
Notice the people standing at the rear of the machine.  (Arrow)
If you look very closely, you can just make out people standing to the left of the
Picture of Big Muskie being assembled in 1969.
At one time an eighty piece orchestra was set up inside the bucket for a
concert.  On the right, the same orchestra lined up in front of the machine.
The empty bucket weighed 460,000 lbs.
The bucket  was often loaded with more than 750,000 lbs. of dirt
Scroll down for the "Specs" on Big Muskie
Hoist and Drag Rope Size: Five Inch Diameter
It took 340 rail carloads and 260 truck loads to get the
machine from Milwaukee to Ohio.

Manufacturing of the machine started in 1966 and the
machine was ready to dig in 1969.

The boom was filled with inert gas at 100 psi. If a crack in
the boom developed, pressure would drop setting off an

When the machine was shut down in January of 1991, it
had removed 608,000,000 cu-yd of overburden.

Cost of the machine in 1969 dollars was $25 million.

In 1976, The machine was removing  8,000 yards of
overburden per operating hour!
Alas, Big Muskie is no more.
On May 20, 1999 the boom was dropped signaling the end of preservation
efforts. AEP has an exhibit on Muskie that includes the bucket and some other
items. For those who got to see her in real life, it just won't be the same.
These giant machines stood as tributes to the hard-working people who
designed, built, and operated them.  Recovering millions of tons of raw materials
helped to strengthen our country, and make better lives for us all.
One can only imagine the jobs that were created due to the existence of these
giants.  The countless paychecks that were made possible to provide the needs
of millions of families.  From the jobs themselves, to the energy needed to
manufacture and produce; to do research, the list would be endless; All
contributing to the quality of life in our country.  Just one of these machines
contributed more than many government programs costing thousands of times
more.  And the clincher is,
They were self-supporting.
We needed them... and still do.
• Rope Break Strength: (Each Line) 1,050 tons (2,100,000 lbs.)
•Rope Weight: 46.2 lbs/ft.
• Revolving Frame Width: 83ft
• Revolving Frame Length: 150ft
•Swing Motor Size: 1,250 hp.
• Number of Swing Motors: 10
• Drag Motor Size: 2,000 hp.
• Number of Drag Motors: 8 per drum
• Number of Drums: 2
• Hoist Motor Size: 2,000 Hp.
• Number of Motors: 10
• Total Machine Hp. at peak demand:
62,600 hp
• Bucket Size: 220 Cu. yd.
• Load Rating: 320ton
• Bucket Weight (empty): 230 ton
• Digging Depth: 185ft
• Height to top of Boom: 222ft
 (22 stories)
• Hydraulic Oil Capacity: 26,000 gal
• Machine Weight: 14,000 tons.
(28,000,000 lbs.)
Other Neat Facts
Can you imagine driving down the road, and seeing this coming out
of the woods to cross in front of you?
Though Big Muskie was technically a "Drag Line", to most people, it would
have simply been a BIG shovel like the Silver Spade.
Notice the name hasn't been painted on yet.