Euclid Trucks

Euclid Trucks

The Euclid Company of Ohio was a company specialized in heavy equipment for earthmoving, namely dump trucks and wheel tractor-scrapers, that operated from the United States of America from the 1920s to the 1950s, then it was purchased and converted into a section of General Motors and later on by Hitachi, Ltd.



From its inception, the Euclid Company of Ohio, specialised in off-road heavy haulers, that were designed from the ground up, as off-road haulers - as compared to other companies, that just modified OTR trucks for off-road earth-hauling.

The Euclid Crane and Hoist Co, owned by George A. Armington and his 5 sons, was already a big, well-respected and profitable operation, when, in 1924, they introduced the Euclid Automatic Rotary Scraper - followed shortly after, by the Euclid Wheeler (wheeled) scraper.These earthmoving items were thought up by Georges eldest son, Arthur, who was convinced a good future lay in designing earthmoving equipment, and who steered the company into the earthmoving field. The two models of scrapers were a resounding success, and a third model, the Euclid Contractors Special, was even more successful, as it was designed to cope with hard ground.

Arthur and his father had even built a successful prototype crawler, and tested it on the family farm, just prior to this, but the crawler idea was dropped, for reasons unknown. The success of the scrapers led to the formation of the Road Machinery Division, of Euclid Crane and Hoist, in 1926. Big public works construction programs of 1927 and 1928, requiring huge amounts of soil to be shifted, saw to the further success of the Euclid Road Machinery division.

Euclid produced crawler wagons on tracks (similar to Athey Wagons) known as Euclid Tu-Way haulers. The crawler track speed restriction was seen as a problem, and the next version was on steel wheels, for improved speed. George Armington Jr was a keen hydraulics designer, and produced the first hydraulic Euclid dumpers around 1930.

Great Depression

The Great Depression did not appear to affect Euclid greatly, and the expansion of the earthmoving side of the Euclid business, led to the incorporation of the Euclid Road Machinery Co, on July 11, 1931. This company remained a subsidiary of the Euclid Armington Corp, until Jan 1, 1933, when the companies were separated - and Euclid Road Machinery, set out on a dedicated path of producing fast, off-road earthmoving haulers.

The Euclid company produced its first, dedicated, and specifically designed, 7 yard (6.4 m) long, off-road dump truck, the Model 1Z, in Jan 1934. It was powered by a 100HP Waukesha gasoline engine. It used a specially designed, extremely heavy duty, Euclid rear axle, fitted with a new 17.5 x 24 tire, which had just been released by the tire industry. Although Mack had produced a 14 yard (12.8 m) long, Heavy Duty, off-road hauler, in 1931, specifically for the Boulder Dam project (the Model AP Super-Duty) - it was basically a beefed-up, road-going, chain-drive AC Bulldog Mack.

The next Euclid design, was an articulated, tractor/trailer style (in the style of the Caterpillar DW10), bottom dumper. This was known as the Model Z or ZW.

Company expansion

From these early machines, Euclid went on to produce thousands of off-road haulers and scrapers, of ever-improving and larger design and became a large corporation by the early 1950s. The early 1950s was a period of great expansion and company mergers, and in 1953, the Euclid Corporation was purchased by General Motors, in what the leaders of both companies saw, as an advantageous deal, with complementary product lines.This deal came about, due to GM's already awakened desire to enter into the earthmoving manufacturing field and the realisation by the Armington family, that a GM takeover would provide capital and design ability that they could only dream about. The GM takeover deal was announced on September 30, 1953, with the official takeover date being January 1, 1954.

Arthur Armington had died suddenly in 1937, leading to a stumble in Euclids fortunes - but George Armington only died in 1954, at the age of 89, after overseeing the highly satisfying and successful sale of Euclid to GM. Sons Stuart & Everett Armington retired in 1953, and George Jr retired in 1958 - with the youngest son Ray, being the last Armington to retire in 1960, after 7 years as General Manager of GM's Euclid Division.

The 1950s and 1960s were good years for Euclid Trucks. Euclid produced the industrys first 50 ton, 3 axle dump truck, with twin Cummins power, in 1951. Euclid produced two and three axle dump trucks with capacities up to 105 tons, in this period - with some of the largest three axle units, being used as tractors for even larger end dumps, and bottom dump haulers.

Anti-trust lawsuit

However, in 1959, the Department of Justice under Attorney General William P. Rogers initiated an anti-trust suit, under the Clayton Act, against General Motors Corporation - charging that GM was too dominant, and its business methods were stifling genuine competition, in the off-road hauler and earthmoving market. GM fought the suit for 8 years, finally surrendering in 1968, by agreeing to sell the Euclid Division of GM.

After the anti-trust litigation, and the sale of Euclid to White Motor Corporation, GM formed its own Terex brand. Under the sale agreement with White Motor Corporation, GM was not allowed to produce trucks in competition with White Motor Corporation for 4 years — from July 1 1968 to July 1, 1972. GM could produce off-road haul trucks in this period - but could not sell them in the U.S. GM equipment dealers in the U.S. were offered a franchise deal from White Motor Corporation, to sell the White/Euclid line of trucks, for a period of 4 years. The international Euclid dealerships were still owned by GM - thus forcing White Motor Corporation to commence the formation of all new international dealerships. GM produced haul trucks in the 1968-1972 period, that it had developed during its ownership of Euclid - from plants in Canada and Scotland, that it had been allowed to keep. These were sold as Terex, but were essentially the same as the Euclid line.

The Euclid Company lost its high profile, after the sale to White Motor Corporation, and never achieved the prominence that it once enjoyed before its acquisition by GM. In the 1950s when you mentioned off road dump trucks, they were referred to as "Euc's", just like we say Kleenex today for tissue.

Current state

After the company was purchased by Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) it produced several models of truck under the Hitachi name (although it is still commonly branded as a Euclid and several of the components still bear the Euclid name. Castings are too expensive to change for the sake of branding. There are two classes of the machines that are currently in production - both are "rigid dumper" models (dump trucks with a rigid frame, non-articulated). The smaller construction and quarry trucks (30 ton - 90 ton) are dwarfed by the larger mining trucks in the 140ton - 300 ton range.

Production was moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Guelph in Ontario, Canada and carries on. The trucks are very modern and even come equipped with mufflers and computer controllers and have to meet environmental requirements for sound and exhaust emissions.

There are some trucks currently in use in mines in the United States, they can be seen in Canada at Fort McMurray, and throughout China, Australia, Africa and South America as well. Although the heady days of the American needs for infrastructure has abated there is still much need for infrastructure and mining.

Smaller construction trucks are being built in India as well in Telcon a joint venture between Tata and Hitachi, Japan. These smaller trucks are of older technology - they were previously manufactured in Poland under license from Volvo Michigan Euclid.

White sold Euclid, Inc. to Daimler Benz AG of Stuttgart, Germany in August, 1977, and in January 1984, Daimler-Benz sold Euclid to one of Euclid’s former competitors, Clark Equipment Company, and it became part of the Clark Michigan Company, as Clark’s construction machinery division was then called. The following April, Clark formed a 50/50 joint venture with Sweden’s Volvo AB to manufacture Volvo, Michigan and Euclid construction equipment under the name of VME Group NV. VME underwent several rather confusing divisions amongst its American and European operations, culminating in 1991 in the creation of a VME North Americas unit to handle only the Euclid lines.

In December 1993, VME North America entered into a joint venture of its own with Japan’s Hitachi Construction Machinery called Euclid-Hitachi Heavy Equipment. Hitachi, a manufacturer of hydraulic backhoes and shovels, gradually increased its share of the joint venture until it owned 100% of the venture in 2000. Euclid Hitachi became Hitachi Construction Truck Manufacturing on January 1, 2004, and the famous Euclid green was replaced with Hitachi orange. The Euclid trade name and model nomenclature were gradually phased out by the end of the year, ending 80 years of the Euclid name appearing on construction machinery.


The Euclid company of Euclid, OH, was synonymous with off-road haul trucks, and earthmoving equipment such as bottom dumpers, and to a lesser extent, scrapers, in the 1950s. As described in Herbert L. Nicholas' "Moving the Earth", [Nichols, Herbert Lownds; Day, David A. "Moving the Earth: The Workbook of Excavation - Fifth Edition", (2005) McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.] now in its 5th edition, Euclid was everywhere.

GM's work on heavy duty automatic transmissions during the Second World War, had produced the Allison heavy duty automatic in 1945 — and Euclid was the first to use this transmission in heavy duty off-road dump trucks, in the late 1940s — because it met the need for an industrial transmission with huge power capacity, which was eagerly being sought, as engine sizes were rapidly increasing past the point where current transmissions could not cope with the power available.

Euclid had pioneered the use of twin engines (Twin-Power) in a bottom dumper (model 50FDT-102W), in November 1948. Their first Twin-Power scraper prototype (model 51FDT-13SH) appeared in February 1949, and production model Twin-Power scrapers were released in 1950 (GM powered model 68FDT-17SH - and the Cummins powered model, 66FDT-16SH). Prior to GM's purchase of Euclid, the preferred engine of choice, by Euclid, was Cummins diesels. However, GM's 2-stroke Detroit Diesel was offered as an option. When GM purchased Euclid, it led to dismay at Cummins, because they could see themselves losing an important customer. The takeover led to GM engines being the engine of choice - however, the Cummins option was still available; although the Cummins engined trucks sold in lower numbers after GM took over Euclid.

Ranging from 10 to 62 ton capacity, these lumbering giants roamed the strip mines, heavy construction sites and quarries of the world. Euclid's end dumps reached 210 tons in capacity in the 1980s.

Euclid’s trucks were usually loaded by cable operated crawler shovels and draglines of other manufacturers, but Euclid also developed mobile belt loaders to load its bottom dump trucks.

Another type of machine that Euclid pioneered was the high speed tractor belly dumper. This machine combined an off road tractor, with a fifth wheel, and a very large,(at that time) up to 100-ton capacity, belly dump trailer. This machine, descended from bottom dump wagons drawn by crawler tractors, discharged its load through longitudinal gates in the bottom of the trailer. The first such trucks carried 13 cubic yards, but by the early 1960s capacities reached 110 tons.

These belly dumpers, and their off road, end dump brothers, were normally loaded by cable operated, crawler shovels of other manufacturers brands.

Euclid also manufactured wheeled tractor scrapers, such as were invented by R. G. LeTourneau (later to become LeTourneau-Westinghouse, after the purchase of LeTourneaus company by Westinghouse Air Brake) and now almost singularly manufactured by Caterpillar. Euclid's tractor scrapers were powered by the same tractors as their belly dumps. Interestingly, Euclid was the first major manufacturer to commercialize the now ubiquitous articulated rubber tired loader; the mainstay of many heavy equipment manufacturers nowadays, particularly Caterpillar.


2. "Euclid Earth-Moving Equipment 1924-1968" (Orlemann, Eric C., MBI, 2004); 3. "Euclid and Terex Earth-Moving Machines" (Orlemann, Eric C., MBI, 1997) 4. "The Earthmover Encyclopedia" (Haddock, Keith, MBI, 2006).

External links

* [ Euclid dumpers (at Volvo Construction Equipment)] – "includes sub-pages on 22 Euclid models, with photos and technical specs."
* [ History of Hitachi Construction Equipment Europe - mentioning acquisition of Euclid]

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