Botts Land Service
Heavy Iron History
Heavy Iron - Then and Now
World War 2 P-40 fighter plane
p40.jpg
P-40 The best air defense we had at Pearl Harbor
The Effect of WAR:
Earthmoving equipment had been developing at a steady pace since the turn of the century,
but the advent of World War II created an immediate need for thousands of airports for our
new air forces, as well as thousands of miles of roads to move strategic supplies around the
country.

Everything had to be done on an emergency basis, and the best way to move dirt in a hurry,
is with large equipment.  So emphasis was placed on the development and manufacturing of
big equipment for the job.

After the war, homes, dams, reservoirs, canals, bridges, shopping facilities and
manufacturing sites, were desperately needed to meet the needs of our returning
servicemen who were anxious to make up for the time they had lost by buying a home and
starting a family. (Not necessarily in that order.)
This created a boom in construction needs that could only be filled by more heavy
equipment.  The need continues to this day.
Somewhere in the Middle East
jimmaintgrp.jpg
My Grandson Jim Miller is in this picture... Somewhere!
Modern Warplanes still need airstrips to operate on.  Even though fighters can operate
from carriers, the "heavies" must rely on construction equipment to build even bigger
strips than were required in the past.
B-1 Bomber
b1-b.jpg
This Baby needs a LOT of runway.
Even though heavy equipment is often blamed for tearing up our natural resources, when
something like this fire (below) happens, what do they call in to save the forrest?  
HEAVY EQUIPMENT!!

Modern Air Tankers have also proven to be an effective way of fighting wildfire.  They
fly off of runways built by...  You guessed it...
HEAVY EQUIPMENT.
Wildfire
Southern Calif 2003
Our lives are made better and safer by Heavy Equipment.  Without it, we would not have
most of the things we take for granted, and we would be nearly helpless in times of
emergency.

The next time you see a fire truck heading for a fire, or an ambulance rushing to a
hospital, remember that the roads they are traveling on, as well as the recovery of the
resources needed to build the emergency equipment itself, are all made possible by
heavy equipment.

Every time you have a meal, you owe the agricultural bounty we have, to men on
"Heavy Iron".   We could not feed, house, supply, or protect, the current population
without them.
Movie Star Joe E. Brown on an "Earthworm" tractor.
earthworm-c.jpg
Joe E. Brown played Botts in a Warner Bros. Movie in 1936
From 1927, to 1937, the Saturday Evening Post ran a very popular series of 112 stories
by William Hazlett Upton about Alexander Botts selling "Earthworm" Tractors.  The
series had over ten million readers, and was the most popular series the magazine ever
ran.  The Author drew from his work experience with Holt Caterpillar Co.
"Earthworm" was used as a replacement for "Caterpillar" to avoid copyright and
trademark restrictions.
Warner Bros. made a movie called "EARTHWORM TRACTORS" starring Joe E.
Brown as Botts in 1936.
earthworm-movie.jpg
Cletrac Dozer
cletrac_header.jpg
This was a HUGE tracklayer in the 30's
This is a Huge tracklayer in 2003
k575a.jpg
Komatsu 575A
This was the type of road grader in use on farms.
tractor-grader.jpg
We maintained over 32 miles of ranch roads with one like this.
In the 1940's, despite the war effort, county road departments still graded private roads
and driveways as a public service if they were also used as a through road by the public.  
Since our ranch driveway was well over a mile long, this was a great help.  I can still
remember the time I looked down the road and saw a huge motorgrader coming up toward
our house.  I ran down the road to get a closer look, and wonder of wonders, I was
actually given a ride on it by the young driver whose name was Philip Paulsen.  In later
years, I worked on a job with Phil, as a matter of fact, I had married his niece!  And yes...
Phil was still driving a motorgrader.
This is a picture of a grader just like the one Phil gave me the ride on:
Old Motorgrader - Year Model Unknown
oldgrader.jpg
I rode on one just like this.
Little did I know, that someday I would take delivery on something like this.
D850 Motorgrader
joe-d850.jpg
Some of the early attempts to provide machinery did not prove to
be very successful...  Like this early loader attachment and these
multi-engine monstrosities.
Sargent Loader Attachment
sargent-loader.jpg
An early experiment in double engine power
antiquetwinengine.jpg
Triple Engine Power!
oldtriple-engine.jpg
Another Triple Engine Try
antiquetriple-engine.jpg
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough traction to use the power
giant-scraper.jpg
Some of the multiple engine monsters were moderately successful, but
were eventually replaced by using newly developed engines with
enough power to do the job in a simpler arrangement.
The search for more power brought Kennicot Copper to try these
turbine powered trucks in the late sixtys in Montana. They burned too
much fuel to be practical.
turbine-truck.jpg
A lot of Power... But at an enormous fuel cost.
turbinetruck2.jpg
The huge stacks are clearly visible in this picture.
This end-dump dirt hauler is unusual because it uses a tractor-trailer
configuration rather than the normal two axles usually seen on monster
trucks.  By adding another axle with four more tires, the load capacity
is increased accordingly.
This is a configuration not often used on equipment of this size.
A Special Thanks to KENNY FINCH for providing many of
the "Heavy Iron" pictures.
This whole machine is operated from the one
control platform.
Turbine Power - Note the huge exhaust stack.
semi-tractor-dump.jpg
Peterson Tractor Co. of San Leandro, CA tried coupling two D8 Cats  together..
This monster had three scrapers and eight engines. ( Each set of drivers had two
engines.)   Another one was made with five scrapers and twelve engines!
If you have enjoyed this site, I would
sure appreciate it if you took a look
at some of the books I have written.

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