Terex Celebrates 70th Anniversary of Digger Derrick Line

Wed April 15, 2015
Crane Equipment Guide

For 70 years, utility professionals have used Terex digger derricks on power grid construction and maintenance projects to quickly and efficiently bore holes and set poles in the ground. Established in 1945 with the advent of the Tel-E-lect digger derrick, today the company's product line includes the Terex Commander 4000, 5000 and 6000 digger derricks, as well as the Terex General 65, 80 and 95 models. Terex digger derricks are ideal for use in electric, utility infrastructure (power line and transmission) and telecommunication applications, including digging holes, hoisting and setting utility poles and lifting other jobsite materials.

"We are truly honored to be celebrating Tel-E-lect's 70th anniversary this year," said Terex Utilities Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jim Lohan. "Since 1945, the utility industry has seen its share of good and bad times, and through it all, Terex has been right there with its customers, providing the right equipment solutions for their utility jobsite challenges."

Tel-E-lect digger derricks were first engineered and built by Leroy C. Lindquist, owner of the Minnetonka Manufacturing Company, which manufactured parts for the Telephone and Electric (Tel-E-lect) utility markets in Hopkins, Minn. At the time, Lindquist worked with Northwestern Bell Telephone Company to develop a machine run by power take-off (PTO) on a truck's transmission to dig holes for telephone poles. The first Tel-E-lect trucks utilized the truck's differential to mechanically turn an auger, which was suspended from the end of an A-frame boom and was raised and lowered by the truck winch line to drill a hole.

The 1950's and 1960's saw three Tel-E-lect digger derrick product innovations introduced that are still in use today — the Rite-Way auger storage bracket, pole grabbing (PG) winch and the hydraulic collector block. With the hydraulic collector block, digger derricks could, for the first time, rotate continuously and without restriction making them a much more versatile machine. The Telecon (TELelect ECONomy) was introduced allowing a digger to be mounted on a smaller, lighter and more maneuverable chassis. The Commander I Series digger derrick was developed featuring strong box-constructed booms and powerful dual lift cylinders, a configuration so sturdy and reliable that it is still used as the standard today. Also, the company developed and introduced the first fiberglass third section built to eliminate pin-on third sections.

In the 1970's, Tel-E-lect opened manufacturing facilities in Watertown and Huron, S.D., and by the early 1980's, the company had established its corporate headquarters in Watertown. In 1988, Simon Engineering PLC purchased Tel-E-lect, and the company became known as Simon-Telelect Inc. The company expanded its product offerings in 1992 with the acquisition of Hi-Ranger aerial devices from Waukesha, Wis. Terex purchased Tel-E-lect from Simon Engineering in 1997, which became the foundation for Terex Utilities, a business unit of Terex Corporation.

"We know that our customers' secret to being successful on any job is to equip crews with the right equipment to match the application. Our products are steeped in the traditions of the people who use our equipment to build the world's power and communication grid — hard-working and inventive," said Lohan. "The Terex approach continues to be focused on providing customers with state-of-the-art equipment solutions that help them get each and every project done safely, quickly and at the lowest cost of ownership."

For more information, visit www.terex.com/utilities.

This story also appears on Truck and Trailer Guide.