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Friday video: The biggest thing on wheels in 1958

For your Friday viewing pleasure, we’ve unearthed this 1958 British Pathe newsreel showing “the biggest thing on wheels” — an unnamed earthmover lumbering up the streets of San Francisco for display at the American Mining Conference.


Details are scarce, and there’s no maker’s identification on the machine, but we think this is the LeTourneau L-70 scraper, nicknamed ‘Goliath’ by the press.

The very plummy commentary (cut off at the start) says the scraper has “10-foot tyres and can carry a 70-ton load of earth or rocks”. We can see a Cummins engine in there, which the commentary says is a 600-horsepower diesel.  It didn’t come cheap — back then it cost “close to $100,000”.

British Pathe was a newsreel and documentary maker from 1910 to 1970, and was one of the primary chroniclers of the 20th century. Over 85,000 of its films are available on You Tube, and make fascinating viewing.

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