Warbirds and Wreckers

Oct 12th, 2012 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

Not long ago a friend sent me a video of WWII pilots inspecting their warbirds of 70 years ago. The airplanes are timeless and rekindle visions of a world war long since gone but never forgotten. And wreckers are also timeless.

At any tow show there are always a few older wreckers entered in the beauty contest. Some are big, others small and the majority are older Holmes wreckers which dominated the industry for almost three quarters of a century. And, standing around on a gimpy leg or leaning on a cane is an older tower or two looking at these old wreckers and remembering another time and place. They sometimes speak, but often just look and let their thoughts dictate their facial expressions.

So why do we continue to maintain and admire these old relics when modern equipment is so much more useful? Maybe the answer is that these old wreckers worked when we worked and faithfully helped many towers build a successful business. Maybe the answer is that they are more, much more than just an accumulation of fabricated steel for most older towers have stories to tell of impossible jobs made possible by their old mechanical wreckers.

I was not a particularly good salesman, but my demo was, as towers were always anxious to admire a new wrecker of most any type and size, and the bigger the better. The young drivers all liked to crawl in and on my demo but the old timers were content to stand back and just look and admire and think about doing the impossible with a machine like that

It has been said that today’s towers could not operate an old mechanical to its full potential for they are more attuned to flipping switches and pulling levers without rigging, transferring loads or using snatch blocks. One older tower I knew used only the Holmes 600 because it was small enough to handle cars yet large enough to recover truck wrecks when properly rigged. And with the optional X6 booms he could even set an air conditioner on the roof of a two-story building (the tallest building in his town.)

Yes, times and equipment have changed, but the old mechanical wreckers are forever.