ASME-Landmark:LeTourneau "Mountain Mover" Scraper


When the 1849 gold rush fever began to fade, speculators in California bought immense tracks of land for planting wheat. These landowners sought cheaper harvesting methods, so local firms started producing combines and traction engines. Near the end of the nineteenth century, wheat production began moving to the Pacific Northwest. As wheat acreage declined, California's 1887 Wright Act encouraged the formation of irrigation districts. Ranchers sought economical ways to level fields for irrigation, which required reasonably level land. Throughout the 1880s several types of horse-drawn scrapers were developed and patented to work the land into contours suitable for irrigated farming.

When Robert G. LeTourneau started moving earth in 1919, he thought that land leveling should require only one man. In 1920, by installing a generator and electric motors, R.G. was able to control the scraper blade from the tractor seat while driving the tractor.

In June 1922, LeTourneau developed his "Mountain Mover" with a telescoping bowl. He incorporated a floor behind the cutting edge taken from his previous designs, and employed welding instead of riveting to save weight.

Although only one "Mountain Mover" ever existed, all later LeTourneau scraper designs drew upon its innovative concepts. The original Mountain Mover, modified over the years, is an example of the innovative and pioneering mechanical engineering concepts developed by R.G. LeTourneau. This predecessor to modern equipment played a large role in opening up lands to farming and helped lead to the rapid and cost-effective construction of roads, highways and airports for decades after its introduction. See ASME website for more information