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Early Snow Plows in Norway


After having experienced a winter snowstorm and yesterday’s “Motor-Sleighs” post, it seems like a logical time learn about the history of the snowplow and show some interesting early photos. Early on horse-drawn implements were used for dealing with winter snow: the snow roller was used to pack snow down instead of trying to remove it, and the horse was also used to pull single-blade plows and graders. The first snowplow built for use in the United States with a motor vehicle, appears to have been built in 1913 by Good Roads Machinery in Kennett Square, PA.

According to the National Archives of Norway, who supplied today’s photos, in 1923, Hans and Even Overaasen constructed their first snowplow for use with an automobile in that country. After this start, the company continued on to build snow-clearing equipment for roads, railways and airports and remains in business today as Overaasen Snow Removal Systems.  

Nor2      Nor3       Nor4

Perhaps the most unique piece of equipment seen here is in the two middle photos, which show an odd-looking enclosed truck. Behind it is a pair of wing plows atop an adjustable framework that appears to have been towed by the truck. There is a possibility that it may have been an experimental unit used for developing a system to push back the tops of snow banks on either side of the road.

With the limited amount of horsepower and traction available with an automobile, the brothers apparently used low and lightweight plows with wings to assist in pushing snow off to the sides of the road. At the top of the post is an Opel that has been made into a truck, and below is a Cadillac with the photo captioned “Experimenting with a snow plow on a car, Gausdal, January 12, 1926.”


10 responses to “Early Snow Plows in Norway

  1. I look at those early “snow removers” and have to ask – how did the passengers keep warm? What’s the history of automobile interior heating?

    In the nineteenth century, it was common to carry hot bricks wrapped in toweling, to keep you warm in a carriage. There were also small “foot warmers” of tin, made to hold hot coals or embers from the kitchen fire. They could be carried into the unheated churches of the day.

    I believe the 1938 Nash passenger cars had the first coolant water and forced air systems; then in 1939 they added a thermostat to control interior temperature. But what were the systems available *before* 1938?

    Might make an interesting topic!

    Tom M.

  2. The last photo is a good shot of what early side curtains looked like. It is hard to find original photos of early cars with the side curtains installed.
    As for heaters, many early cars used the foot warmers mentioned as well as manifold heaters. The exhaust passing under the floor boards also radiated a little heat. The old standby in the day was a lap robe, heavy fur coat & hat, stadium boots, and lined gloves.

  3. Tom: I’m not sure of the answer but if you look at used car listings in `1930s Newspaper want ads, you find an “H” in the brief description of the car for sale. For, at that time, a heater (built-in or added) or a radio, was considered luxury equipment. Model “A” Fords had an exhaust manifold “heater” but I think it was an “added” accessory.

  4. Growing up in Onondaga County, NY in the early fifties I remember see county plows on NY Rt. 5 with V plows and wings throwing snow 20 feet off the road.

    On the subject of heaters, my first car was a’39 Ford convertible sedan. I drove to high school through two Northern NJ winters in the early ’60s and the only heat it had was what that flathead V8 pumped through the firewall!

  5. Speaking of heaters, I recall seeing many 30s model Fords with South Wind gasoline fired heaters. Most also had hot water heaters which were aftermarket items. My dad explained to me that due to the low mounting of the radiator on these cars the water heaters were pretty useless. South Wind was made by Stewart Warner and the gas was tapped from the carb. A plate under the carb sucked the spent fumes into the intake. An old timer told me about when he worked on buses in the 30s that they used exhaust manifold heaters. he said this stopped PDQ when there was an exhaust leak and they had a bus load of sick passengers or worse.

  6. One of my fraternity brothers had a 1948 Ford Convertible with the South Wind gas heater. We drove from Boston to NYC one bitterly cold day in about 1954. No problem keeping warm with that heater, even in a convertible.!

  7. Gasoline burning inside the car sounds like a formula for disaster! But that’s what we had on the 1937 Ford we were stuck with for the duration of WWII….and we lived to tell about it! A manifold leak could turn you bus into an impromptu mobile gassing van!

  8. Does anyone know the ID of the vehicle in the lead photo ?

    Very interesting seeing a snow-plow juxtaposed with gas headlamps.

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