Digger derricks are used today for numerous tasks related to utility line construction from digging holes and lifting and setting poles to turning in screw anchors, putting linemen in the air, and setting transformers. This circa 1950s Tel-E-lect International truck is an early example of these versatile fleet tools.
The derrick on the truck features a tool that was introduced in the 1950s and is still in use today by the industry, an auger transfer bracket, which allows it to be used at the end of the boom or pinned to the main boom.
The digger derrick was developed in the 1940s by Leroy Lindquist, owner of the Minnetonka Manufacturing Company, which manufactured parts for the telephone and electrictic (Tel-E-lect) utility markets in Hopkins, Minn. Linquist worked with the Northwestern Bell Telephone company to develop a machine that was run by the truck's PTO to dig holes for telephone poles more quickly, evolving into the modern digger derrick, which became popular in the 1950s and are still used today.
Work Truck eNews will be featuring historic images of fleet trucks on a regular basis. If you have an historic fleet truck image you'd like to share with readers, e-mail it to Lauren Fletcher or Chris Wolski.
Text Updated: May 29, 2015, correcting truck model.