Better Living Through Machinery

Here in the Midwest we are going through a nasty winter. Between the relentless snow and bone-numbing cold, it has been a challenge keeping sidewalks and roadways clear for safe travel. Today I’d like to thank the people who made it possible for the average homeowner to have a snowblower. Before 1951 snowblowers and snowthrowers were only found in railroad yards and highway departments. Everyone else was stuck moving snow with a plow or a shovel.

Then Toro introduced the Snowhound in 1951 and the snowblower became a suburban necessity. The transition from JW Elliot’s 1869 locomotive mounted machine to Arthur Sicard’s 1925 truck mounted model was tough enough, but the breakthroughs needed to make a walk-behind model required lots of clever engineering.

Many of those clever engineers were in the gear trade. Every time I operate my self-propelled MTD, I marvel at the 6 forward speed/2 reverse speed transmission being cost effective. Not to mention the neat crossed helical gearbox that drives the blade itself. Coming from a world of large industrial gears, I couldn’t believe they could be made and sold so inexpensively the first time I saw one being made at Peerless Gear in 1978.

So from a guy who clears his own driveway, I salute my fellow gear people for their inventiveness and diligence. Without that snowblower, I would be moving south as soon as possible.

About Charles D. Schultz 678 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

1 Comment

  1. Dear Mr. Schultz,
    Your articles were very interesting. I do not have skill like yours to reply. But these article brings memory of old days when gear literature kept me away from gear knowledge. This was my student life in India and USA.

    You forgot to mention that in older days Production Engineering magazine used to publish gear calculation methods, which gave me enough to bite on gear design. I really missed that magazine and authors.

    Nowadays everyone want to make money on internet for basic calculation methods. My experience was bad, when I was trying to determine life of the gear set to teach students in Engineering college of India during my charity trip.

    I would like to meet you if I can to explore old days for gear design and gain insight of gear history. I live near Chicago therefore if time permits, please let me know. You worked at Falk, which is subsidiary of the UTC, where I spent 32 years to design IDG for military and commercial aircrafts.

    My E-mail is or you can reach me at 815-222-3637

    Vallabh Vaghani

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