Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A steam shovel is a large steam powered excavating machine designed for lifting and moving material such as snow and soil. It was invented by William Otis who recieved a patent for his design in 1839. Basically a steam shovel consists of a caterpillar track or rail track mounted steam engine which is used to drive pulleys that move a hinged boom and bucket-shaped scoop under the control of an engineer. During the early 20th Century steam shovels lost out to the more powerful Diesel powered excavating machines that we still see today. Although many have been scrapped some can still be found in industrial museums and are popular restoration projects for steam enthusiasts.
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