(March 8, 2015)

    ...has been added to chapter 10 (LP-600) of the Gar Wood Album at CRT, courtesy of Yasuyuki Akagi. This is a 1967-70 Isuzu TDX40 with a Fujimighty LP-101A packer body. Beginning in 1962, Gar Wood and Fuji Heavy Industries collaborated to bring the LP-600 to Japan. These were typically much smaller than their American counterparts in order to navigate the narrower roads of Japanese cities. Also note that the reduction chain drive has been relocated to the right side of the body.

    Fuji still produces the rotary-blade packer to this day, long after this type of body has disappeared from the streets of North America. Fuji has added many technical improvements over the years, and the latest versions bear little outward similarity to the LP-101, except for the rotary packer blade. Many other manufacturers produce rotary-blade packers, which remain popular throughout Asia.

    ...of Hamilton, Ontario has declared bankruptcy, The Hamilton Spectator reported on December, 15th. The action was filed December 5th, and reportedly the company sought receivership, and does not plan to restructure. The company started out making refuse containers for front loaders, and eventually produced a front load packer of their own. The company faced mounting debt and dwindling orders. (Thanks to Chris Samborsky for passing along the link, which unfortunately got lost in my email for two months)

    Two new entries have been added to the CRT Films section from England. The Plank (1979) is a short silent comedy film in which the character almost get swallowed by a Jack Allen Colectomatic. Common as Muck was a comedy series about binmen, and aired in two series during 1994 and 1997. Both of these are available on YouTube at this time. (Kudos to Neal Setamon for passing these along to CRT)

    From America, Take it Away (1950) is a documentary about the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), and includes an excellent scene showing the packing cycle of the first-generation Gar Wood Load-Packer. The DSNY was using Load-Packers for the first time when this film was made, and shortly afterwards switched to Roto-Pacs. The old Load-Packer had an amazingly fast cycle time, which probably helped offset its somewhat smaller hopper. This video can be viewed at frequency.com. (Many thanks to Zachary Geroux for unearthing this gem).

    This has been a neglected corner for several years due to the constraints of time. Now, the Collectors Corner home page has a section on top listing replicas and models by make, which will make it easier to search for a particular type of truck. Eventually, all of the featured models that have appeared in the past issues will migrate here, as well as any new additions.

    Currently, I have posted the latest pictures of Pete DeRose's LM-120 model (under Load-Master) which he recently completed. Also up are the complete collection by Dana Gregory, including never before published pictures of his SD Revopak model. See the Bowles, Glover, Norba and SD sections for all of the pictures of his amazing steel replicas.

    New Way Manufacturing (Scranton, Iowa) recently announced a new Automated Side Loader (ASL) for MSW and organics, which features and auger-type packer mechanism. The Roto Pac revives one of the classic refuse truck names of the 1950s (City Tank's escalator-compactor), but has more in common with the likes of Norba or Glover, Webb & Liversidge. Augers make for impressive packer mechanisms, with the ability to splinter solid objects prior to compaction. Their use in rear loaders dates back to at least the 1930s (by Norba), but they are mostly considered unsafe for hand loaded rear loaders today, due to their ability to snag the operators clothing. If you've ever seen one of these in action, they are relentless once the screw has taken hold of an object.

    It is good to see some diversity coming back to refuse bodies in recent years, such as the Pendpac and Dadee Scorpion, and now the Roto Pac. However, CRT notes that an auger-type ASL has in fact once before been built in the USA:

    This May, 1978 advert for Rapid Rail's Mark VI Gruncher actually represents a hybrid. The complete ASL package consisted of the Rapid Rail lift arm attached to a Gruncher auger-compactor built by Wayne Engineering of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Wayne also sold the Gruncher for manual collection, but in rear-loader form. Wayne was actually collaborating with Norba at this time, the latter re-branding Wayne's Royal GT rear loader for sale in Europe. In more recent times, Haller has been producing the Lotos ASL with an auger-compactor for European markets.

    Going back a few a years, there had been some dialog on discussion boards and YouTube comments regarding an "extra" hydraulic cylinder on the driver side lift arm of the Dempster XHD front loader. Dejuan McDaniel recently wrote to CRT with an explanation: it is a hydraulic cushion cylinder, to reduce shock when the lift arms are fully raised (with a loaded container). This information came from one Al Pervis, who can speak with some authority. Al is the Sales Manager at Atlanta International Hydraulics, and has a family connection to the waste hauling industry. His father was the founder of North Atlanta Sanitary of Norcross, Georgia, and is believed to have been the first in the Atlanta area to use the Dumpmaster front loader during the 1950s. They used Dempster products exclusively, with over 50 trucks in service at their peak.

    Al used to have some pictures of the fleet, but unfortunately they have been lost in the ensuing years since the company was sold to BFI. However, Dejaun passed along some old pictures of his own hometown municipal collection fleet in Greenville, Mississippi. And here's one of Dejaun's own Dempster XHD, which he recently purchased from the City of Atlanta:

    A nice shot of a Mack MR with Leach 2-R Packmaster 31-yard set against the backdrop of the World Trade Center in New York. Ernest Cummings says he got this from his local Leach dealer when they purchased their Curbtender in 1986:

    Ernest sent along some more old photos from his personal collection, which I have posted in the Cummings Refuse album here at CRT.

    Referencing Unsolved Mystery #16 the photo below shows a new view of this unknown-make circular front loader. Zachary Geroux found this amongst a batch of negatives developed from the Bowles Archive.

    This is very similar in concept to an early square-bodied Bowles half-pack, having two angled cylinders which extended over the cab of the vehicle (See the Englewood-Littleton front loader in chapter 5 of the Bowles album). The fact that our mystery circular body is nestled among a fleet of Bowles bodies adds to the possibility that this may be a Bowles creation.

    Finally, and old White with a Bowles half-pack early-style over-cab arm, circa 1959, from the fleet of G.I. Rubbish Co. of Los Angeles. Shown here simply because it is a cool old photo...

(February 15, 2015)

    Following up a picture posted here two weeks ago (see January 26th post), the restored 1956 International with Hydro E-Z Pack side loader belonged to Ernest Cummings, a third-generation hauler from West Virginia who sold his business in 2008. Ernest tells CRT that he restored the truck, which originally belonged to his grandfather, and has sold it to the Waste Pro Museum.

    Ernest sent in some old photos of his former trucks, which I have posted in the Living Classics section under Cummings Refuse. Two more factory photos Ernest sent are shown here, and have been added to their respective manufacturer albums at CRT:

Truxmore Pakker 27-yard container truck circa 1975

1965 Ford with E-Z Pack 20-yard side loader

    Also added to the Living Classics section are the recent exterior pictures (shown on these pages below), as well as some really nice pictures of the cab interior of the International. These CO's were once a staple of our industry, yet this may be the only example currently in preservation as a refuse truck. More often than not, truck collectors tend to strip off refuse bodies from trucks like this, either because of a lack of interest, the expense of restoration, the value of the body as scrap, or any combination of these factors. There is also (unfortunately) a tendency towards "truck snobbery" amongst some, who look down their noses at refuse trucks, restored or otherwise.

    This truck certainly is a "goodwill ambassador" for restored refuse trucks, and I happen to feel it would be a crowd-pleaser at any truck show. This cab is in amazing shape for its age, considering the terrible abuse wrought on the average refuse truck. Scott is trying to get it as close to original condition as possible. This is a difficult task though, as these trucks have done a "vanishing act" from salvage yards in recent years, undoubtedly due to the rising prices for scrap.

All of the latest pics are in the 1971 Packmaster album located in the Living Classics section.

    While adding some new pictures to the GWL album, I noticed that it was in need of some updating since it's debut in 2010. I have made major revisions to 4 of the 5 pages, and added about twelve new images. This includes a section on the previously excluded Blenheim, and clarification of some facts about the Ramillies and Binmaster. Also, there is a major revision to chapter five, which now shows the Grenadier, 202 and Loadmaster in their progression.

    This is a relatively short story, but an important one in the history of British refuse collection vehicles. I still need some pictures of the last Glover Loadmasters, which somehow seem to be harder to find than anything else they ever made! Please contact CRT if you have any publishable pictures.

    I have a sizable amount of British RCV literature which I have acquired but needs to be scanned, so look for more of the UK stuff here in the future!

(January 26, 2015)

    Road trip to Idaho yields mucho ancient iron. Bill Tetreault, Zachary Geroux George Lanoszka visited with Magic Valley Disposal and found some fine old beauties still on the job. First up is this amazing International Loadstar stand-up with a Hydro E-Z Pack side loader. The container lift appears to be the type designed by Harold Alexander for the Super-Pack side loader built by Superior Mfg.:

And in case you were wondering what a Super-pack looks like, they found one of them too!

Did you ever think you'd ever see trucks like these? Makes me wonder if there are any old Sicard Sanivans still wandering the prairie in Manitoba!

See more pics at Refuse Truck Photography


    This just showed up for auction on Ebay: 1956 International S160 with a Hydro E-Z Pack. I don't know anything about this truck, but it is located in the Charleston, West Virginia area. See the listing and contact the seller if interested.

(January 24, 2015)

    The following unedited commentary comes from Dana Gregory, with a follow-up to the Rolling Meadows article published here three weeks ago. I think you will enjoy his observations on the KUKA Shark's appearance in the Boston metro area in the late 1960s:

    I may be wrong but I think that the Shark arrived in the Northeast a little earlier than it did in Rolling Meadows. I first heard rumors of an amazing German-built garbage truck demonstrator making the rounds in the NYC-Boston area in late 1968 or early 1969. It was a 19-yard mounted on a cabover Mercedes painted light green. It was featured in Newsweek magazine, with pictures of it devouring a refrigerator in NYC. Soon after, it appeared in Boston. James Freany, Boston's second largest contractor, located in South Boston, fell in love with the Shark and was going to become the American distributor for the Shark. He had the original demo, plus a 25-yard mounted on a White Compact, just like the Philadelphia demo in your article, only it was painted light grey. They also were going to use the stainless steel 2-yard containers that were (and still are) popular in Europe. I saw these dumpsters and was very impressed with them.

    I also fell in love with the Shark and in the spring of 1969. I would go into Boston on Saturday mornings to watch it collect in the Beacon Hill section of Boston. I saw it reduce furniture to matchsticks as easily as it gobbled up residential trash. It would then dump at the South Bay incinerator (long since demolished). Mr Freany also brought over a German mechanic to supervise maintenance on the Shark. He was a real gentleman. The plan was to convert the entire residential fleet to Sharks, and Mr. Freany started to do just that. He bought several more with the newer, wider opening on the back. Unfortunately, in mid-to-late 1969 Freany Disposal was bought out by Sanitas, based in Providence, Rhode Island. They were not interested in the Shark at all and stopped the conversion that James had started. Rumor had it that Sanitas was a Mob operation, but nothing was actually proven at the time.

    It is sad because the Shark was so adept in urban collection. I actually tried to buy the original demo, and at the tender age of 19, I submitted a bid at a local shopping center with an underground tuck tunnel, which I would use the Shark for. I did not get the contract, as I had nothing to back me up. Another try to resurrect the Shark was attempted by a local truck body dealer outside of Boston named Ed Blieler. He was the original Elgin-Leach dealer for the Boston area, but gave it up because he didn't want to deal with sweepers. He loved the Shark, and had a beautiful 23-yard Shark mounted on a White Alleycat for a demo. He sold a few in the area, then St. Regis took over and as we saw, it sort of died out. What a shame. Orbital tried to get going, but their problem was that they tried to sell a whole system and nobody was interested in buying a whole system. I saw the Orbie demo in the Boston suburb of Newton. It was a 20yd mounted on a 10 wheel Ford Cabover and it packed over 10 tons! Unfortunately, that never really got off the ground.

    I think the newer Rotopress would do well over here, especially with the popular cart lifting systems now in use. Waste Management has a trailer-mounted Rotopress used for organic waste. I would love to see someone give the rotary packer another try. Maybe, with a good US importer, it will finally catch on.

(This commentary will be added to the KUKA album in the near future)


These new pictures of Scott Blake's 1971 International CO-Leach 2-R Packmaster make a strong case for that argument, despite strong (and welcome) "competition" which is increasing around the United States. OK, so I never met a classic refuse truck I didn't like, but Scott's truck achieves that perfect match of truck and body, for its time period. I had always been a fan of the IHC Cargostar cab, another popular choice for 70's 2-Rs, but this one is making a "CO believer" out of me. Enjoy Scott's latest pics, which will be added to his album in the near future.

(January 3, 2015)


    Starting out the New Year, Classic Refuse Trucks presents one of the most unusual chapters in American refuse truck history with the story of Rolling Meadows, Illinois. A small city on the outskirts of Chicago, it is believed to be the first city in the United States to use the German-built KUKA 215 "Shark" rotary refuse body. I would like thank Brad McFeggan, who passed along most of the photos and a wealth of information. Brad's grandfather, James McFeggan, was the first Superintendent of Public Works for Rolling Meadows, and was instrumental in bringing the Sharks to his city for use with a paper sack collection system he spearheaded in the late 1960s. McFeggan ultimately was involved in efforts to promote the paper sack system and rotary refuse collection bodies throughout the country.

James McFeggan

    The KUKA rotary was one of the first purpose-built refuse bodies in history, having been introduced during the 1920s. It became wildly popular in Europe, and thrived in the postwar period. By the late 1960s, it would achieve a feat that had eluded almost every other European builder, by breaking into the competitive North American market. The first Sharks evidently entered the continent via the St. Lawrence, and beached themselves at Montreal where Metropole Refuse Disposal had at least one in service by 1968. From there, they worked their way south to Lake Michigan, coming ashore in Illinois when Rolling Meadows purchased their first trucks in 1969. This event would bring the city a great deal of publicity. Not so much because of the KUKA body, which was truly unusual and groundbreaking, but because of the L-series Mercedes-Benz trucks they were riding on. It was the stuff of dreams for newspaper editors; stories about "luxury" refuse trucks, and headlines like "Could Rolls-Royce Trash Trucks be Next?"

    For in the USA at this time, Mercedes-Benz was known to the American public as a prestige automobile marque, building high-end sedans and sporty coupes for the well to do, and limousines for foreign dignitaries. The fact that they were one of the world's largest truck manufacturers didn't register in a land dominated by Macks, Internationals and GMCs. In reality, the L-series "short bonnet" conventional was one of MB's most popular models, and enjoyed a production run spanning 1959-1995. Most of the L's were for export, primarily to the Middle East and South America, where a production facility was added in Brazil. By the 1970s, they were showing in up in greater numbers across America, primarily as delivery trucks, and occasionally, in refuse service. Thus, when the first refuse trucks bearing the famous three-pointed star emblem were sighted, it made for interesting news copy.

    The quirky news stories never bothered Rolling Meadows, where the trucks and the sack-system worked smoothly and delivered what was promised; an efficient and clean collection service that wound up saving the city money. The low-RPM Sharks were so quiet, that nighttime collections were even considered. Perhaps because of the their notoriety, the City decided to save the last Shark when it was due to be retired in the early 1980s. It was refurbished as a non-functional "parade" truck, brought out for special events. Ultimately, the parade truck was itself auctioned off in the early 1990s, and its whereabouts are now unknown. This is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the story, at least for the enthusiast; because of this trucks fame and iconic status, subsequent owners may have been preserved it. Only time will tell if any of Rolling Meadows' Sharks will surface in the Illinois countryside.

    The complete Rolling Meadows article is too large to reproduce here on the news page, so it has been incorporated into the KUKA album here at CRT. The first sections of this album were written by Michel Ferro in 2009, and are recommended reading for KUKA enthusiasts as he documents the history of the company. The last three sections were authored by myself, and concern KUKA models exported or licensed outside of Germany, and similar makes of rotary-drum refuse collectors. Chapter 8 has the Complete Rolling Meadows Story, with 14 new pictures, including the handful of other KUKA Sharks known to have made it to America. Chapter 9 covers Orbital Collection Systems, a company that imported both the KUKA as well as Policar and Talenti rotary bodies from Europe.

(January 1, 2015)


For your viewing pleasure. These will all be added to their respective albums here at CRT in the near future.

A rare 25-yard Leach Standard Packmaster on a White 3000..what more can be said?

Municipal special: Leach 2-R Packmaster on a GMC conventional

A rare combination of a Gar Wood LP-716 on an International R-series (Thanks Ronnie!)

Ronnie says this truck has Connecticut license plates. Anybody remember this guy?

60s-era City of Chicago Gar Wood LP-720 during the brutal winter of 1978 (Thanks again Ronnie!)

1920s or 1930s KUKA, Gothenburg Cleansing Dept. (Before Norba took over Sweden!)

Kronenburg Power Packer from The Netherlands. These were sold in the USA by Daybrook.
Designed by George B. Wood, Gar's brother who also created the original Load-Packer

Dennis Paxit, probably from the late 1940s or early 1950s

Perham Hush-Packer, a derivative of the SITA 6000, disgorging its payload

Glover 202 on a 1983 MB chassis. This was a revolving-blade packer similar to the SEMAT Superpac and SD Revopak

A bigger 202 on M-A-N tandem-axle conventional

The Blenheim, a pendulum-type packer built by Glover, Webb and Liversidge Ltd. on the famous Karrier Bantam

SD would occasionally mount their Pakamatic on a rival chassis, such as this BMC for Torbay

One of the handful of Marion photos I've ever seen, a Hydropaka side loader used by the City of Cleveland

For previous news items, visit the CRT Archive

© 2015 Eric Voytko
All Rights Reserved

Logos shown are the trademarks of respective manufacturers
Photos from factory brochures/trade advertisements except as noted