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Snow Removal: Past, Present & Future

Oct 21, 2015

snow covered road plowed shutterstock_8059045Some people around the country may need to add snow boots to their Halloween costumes this year as early signs of winter have plagued areas in the north. For instance, during the weekend in Syracuse, NY, an astounding 9 inches of snow blanketed the area with temperatures that plunged to 10 degrees – and we aren’t even close to the official start of the winter season. With that said, winter may be coming early in many parts of the country and here at Trailer Superstore in Mechanicsburg, PA, we are familiar with seeing snow before the fall season is over and that’s one of the reasons why we have snow plows and salt spreaders available. But, before we get into why you should prepare for the upcoming winter, let’s take a look back at the history of snow removal.

Plowing In the Past

Historical data (and logic) tells us that weather has always happened, which includes, of course, snow accumulation. Back in the day, removing snow wasn’t a big deal because traveling was pretty limited when compared to modern times. They didn’t have to worry about shoveling out their cars, towns were small and travel routes between cities were minimal. While people still had to survive the cold months, their main concern was having enough wood and coal to heat their homes. It wasn’t until the emergence of major trade and postal routes were established that saw some issues with winter travel, which was around the early 1700s as towns and populations grew. Snow accumulation became an issue as these routes became increasingly difficult to pass, which in turn, delayed goods and communications according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.

As populations started getting bigger and bigger, they began to realize that snow was a big problem and this is when early attempts to remove snow commenced. Most wintertime travel was done by foot in the early 1800s and those who would travel by carriage were responsible for clearing their own streets with shovels because nothing was yet devised to effectively rid it out of the way. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the first inventions of a snow plow was designed and used. A plow was affixed to a cart or carriage and pulled by horses to clear the roadways. This design eventually made its way to many northeastern cities and some adopted the use of salt but many would protest it as it would ruin their sleighs, shoes and clothes.

In the early 20th century, the country saw the introduction of cars and trucks, which led many cities to ditch the horse-drawn plows. They opted to motorize their snow removing fleets because it was much more effective. This happened by attaching plows to the vehicles or using tractors to scoop up the snow that would lead it up a conveyor belt that would move it away from the street. This was a huge step forward in snow removal because it made it easier and faster to clear roads and alleys.

The Future of Snow Removal

truck plowing snowAs more vehicles were registered in the United States, there was an increasing demand for clear and safe streets during the winter. This prompted a greater need for snow removal and it takes us to where we are today. Many cities have dedicated transportation departments that only focus on snow removal because many states that receive tremendous amounts of snow each year absolutely need it. That’s why Trailer Superstore, where you can buy trailers, also offers snow plows because they are essential for safe road conditions during the winter.

While the general design and concept behind a snow plow hasn’t changed too much over the years, the future may change that. In fact, a project that would make roads out of solar panels has the potential to keep streets clear of snow and ice with supplementing heating elements but the reality of the concept is many years away. But even then, it’s not out of the question to hypothesize a change in the design of the modern snow plow – only time will tell.

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