Re: C&O twin hopper 21105 in WV (1914)
Daniel A. Mitchell
Yes, they are early horse-drawn scrapers, usually pulled by two horses, The operator walks behind holding the long handle that controls the scraper-bowl’s angle. Raise the handle and the bowl digs into the earth, push the handle down and the bowl lifts for transport of the excavated earth. To dump the bowl just release the handle, the bowl will drop, snag on the ground, and (nearly) overturn, dumping the load.toggle quoted messageShow quoted text
There were many variations of such scrapers ... the ones shown are about the simplest. On more sophisticated examples (without the long handle) the entire bowl would rotate 360º while dumping and return to the ‘rest’ position …these are called “Tumblebugs” from their action.
Eventually they evolved into 4-wheeled devices with the bowl angle and dumping-action powered by the rotation of the wheels, via chain-drives. By then they had all the basic motions of a modern wheeled scraper.
Today the small ones are still around, like the Tumblebugs, but pulled by small tractors. Such are hardly ever seen at construction sites, but are popular with farmers for grading and digging small ponds.
Many such machines can be seen at HCEA (Historic Construction Equipment Assn.) meets. Explore their website for photos.