A Brief History of Snowploughs

The UK had its first taste of a white winter last week and, with much of the north facing more bad weather, this week we’re looking into the history of snowploughs.

The snowplough is a rare sight on UK roads. Our climate is not one that lends itself to the daily removal of heavy snowfall from roads. However in many countries, this piece of machinery is a vital part of their economic infrastructure.

The snowplough, in many respects, is a symbol of the industrial revolution. Early in the 1800s, cities blanketed in snow would be compacted or levelled. This would be done either by hand shovels or crude horse drawn devices. This would allow horse drawn sleighs to travel short distances.


The first horse drawn snowplough for use on roads came in 1913. Manufactured by Good Roads Machinery in Pennsylvania, the machine was specifically designed to conform to requirements set out my the New York City Street Cleaning Bureau.

Snowploughs in Sweden in 1909

With the advent of automobiles came advances in snow removal methods. In 1923, the first snowplough for use on cars was constructed by Hans and Even Øveraasen in Norway. This machine was just the beginning of numerous companies the world over manufacturing snow removal equipment.

Today, snowploughs come in a range of shapes and sizes. Snowploughs can be attached to service trucks, skid steers, tracked loaders and gritters.

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