Frank G. Hough's front-end loader innovations are still on the job today.
John Mulcahy recently completed this pair of restorations and then put them back to work in his South Weymouth, Mass., excavating business. The Payloader on the left is a 1969 Model H-65C with an articulated frame. The truck is an International Harvester Paystar 5000.
Jim Robinson’s (Derby, Conn.) well-preserved and fully functional HE Payloader dating to the early 1950s. The simple curves in the loader arms increased wheel clearance, allowed for larger carry loads and improved the bank-digging capabilities of the machine.
This early 1960s Hough Model H-25 Payloader was the first in the industry with a hydrostatic transmission. This machine has been outfitted to burn propane, and is painted the shade of yellow used by Hough after about 1960.
Hough’s mid-1930s hydraulic shovel mounted on this Allis-Chalmers Special Model WM crawler makes short work of loading and excavating jobs. The loader featured hydraulic lift with gravity dump; the tractor was equipped with a special long track frame to enhance fore-aft stability and new Positive Seal track rollers with an extended 200-hour maintenance interval compared with 10 hours.
Developed in 1947 and released to production in 1948, Hough’s Model HM Payloader remains the first known four-wheel drive loader in the world.
The North hydraulic digger mounted on a Fordson tractor in 1922 is credited as the first commercially produced front-end loader.
Frank G. Hough Co. personnel fight the wind while trying to set up a marketing photograph of this more refined Hough tractor shovel mounted on a 1934 McCormick-Deering Model I-12 tractor.
This early post-war Model HS Payloader utilized Hough’s original mast-lift-style loader and gravity-dump bucket. By 1947, that cumbersome but functional design was replaced with the first loader ever to employ hydraulic power directly to the loader arms for lift.
This Hough rotary sweeper is mounted on a 1940s-vintage International I-4 industrial tractor. Rigs such as this found duty as parking lot sweepers, on road construction sites, at airports and even on aircraft carriers.
Andrew Sherwood of Naples, N.Y., uses this mid-1960s vintage H-70 Payloader around the farm for snow removal and minor excavating and loading chores.
A 1936 Hough marketing image of the Allis-Chalmers WM loader. This combination featured Hough’s first heavy-duty hydraulic shovel capable of loading, digging material from a bank and excavating directly into the ground.
A 1952 HA Payloader with factory fork attachment, owned by Matt Murdock, Noblesville, Ind. Note the straight loader arm and hydraulic cylinder mounted beneath.
Working the slag pile in a Chicago foundry in the mid-1930s with a Hough tractor shovel-equipped McCormick-Deering Model I-12 industrial tractor.
In 1956, Hough’s HAH Payloader was well suited as a small yard loader, or a larger factory loader. Farmer Charles Winning of Lena, Ill., purchased this machine from a neighbor to feed silage and still uses it from time to time. Note the original Hough Buff paint color.
An early North hydraulic digger mounted on a Clark industrial wheel tractor.
This restored 1948 HL Payloader was used for more than 40 years to load sand from a southwestern Connecticut pit where it once moved 1,400 cubic yards in a 10-hour day. Originally Hough Buff, the machine was repainted red. Interestingly, the machine is powered with an International Harvester U-9 power unit mounted over an Oliver 35 Industrial transaxle. Note also the hydraulic bucket control. Robert Drenckhahn, Cos Cob, Conn., owns this beauty.
A 1930s-vintage Hough sweeper blower mounted on a McCormick-Deering I-30 industrial tractor. The machine was designed to sweep the road base in preparation for paving.
Hough’s Model HW was the first four-wheel drive wheel-loader to be introduced with torque converter drive, powershift transmission and planetary axles. The machine was designed in 1949 and released in 1952. (Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.)
A Model HA Payloader loads an HA Payloader buggy with fertilizer components at the American Agricultural Chemical Co. in Cleveland in 1948. (Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society.)
Studio image of Hough’s loader (circa 1934) mounted on a McCormick-Deering I-12 industrial tractor. Note the relatively crude angle-iron construction visible on the right side of the image, as well as the sheave-and-cable arrangement that amplifies the relatively short hydraulic cylinder throw to a much longer vertical lift for the loader. (Image courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society).
By the late 1920s, the Blair hydraulic digger was adaptable to Caterpillar’s Model Twenty crawler. Note that the hydraulic lift components are mounted on the rear of the tractor with cables running up the inclined tower to raise the front-mounted bucket.