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The earliest scrapers were horse drawn in the early 19th-century. By the dawn of the 20th-century and the invention of the Internal combustion engine they were adopted for use behind early tractors. The design then evolved into the dedicated Motor scraper design for bulk earthmoving applications. but for smaller works and landscaping works the towed scraper remained popular till the invention of the Articulated dump truck(ADT) and hydraulic excavators increased popularity and versatility lead to them taking over for most applications.
The capacity varies from 1 cu yd up to 50 cum + (heaped) on the modern multi bowl designs.
Early trailed scrapers were designed to operate behind Crawler tractors and were operated by a Cable Control Unit (CCU) mounted on the tractor before the development of better hydraulic systems following World War II. Cable operated units were still popular till the 1970s when the Motor scraper became more popular. By the 1990s few were left in regular use, but some operators converted them to hydraulics, as crawler tractors can operate when motor scrapers have to stop in wet conditions and can be used with the blade on the tractor for other jobs when not need for scraper work.
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Built by a number of manufacturers around the world. there are several modern manufactures building light weight machines designed for use behind modern high horsepower tractors.
- Past and current manufacturers / brands of towed scraper;
- Gar Wood
- K-Tec Earthmovers Inc. - web site
- LeTourneau Inc.
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- History of the towed scraper on Contrafed web site.