We owe the structures of our past, present, and even future civilization to the hard work and ingenuity of the builder. The masons, carpenters, and machine operators of all sorts are responsible for the simple houses all the way to the most towering and grand structures. The physical strength of men could not have accomplished such tasks unassisted, of course.
In earlier times, beasts of burden (horses, mules, oxen, etc.) and simple, albeit effective machines of made of ropes and logs aided humanity in their quest to build stone tributes to great men and gods. They magnified the muscle of the human workmen, attaining wondrous feats of construction that fascinate and baffle us in the present. We are not even fully certain as to the methods and techniques they employed.
people in the modern world are still awed by the ancient pyramids (Pinterest)
The wheel, one of the cornerstone technologies that allowed us to move and carry heavy things, had eventually led us to the creation of the engine; animal power was soon replaced by the power afforded to us by steam. Though experiments into steam-driven machines were attempted as early as the first century A.D., practical use of steam energy for these purposes didn’t come until the early seventeenth century. This was one of the key elements that spurred the Industrial Revolution.
The internal combustion engine made its appearance in the twentieth century, greatly increasing the power and practicality of heavy equipment. Companies like Holt (Caterpillar) and Fordson (Ford) built tractors and other earthmoving and construction vehicles, making these machines available even to the common man. Whether wheeled or tracked, these machines are indispensable to the construction, farming, and industrial sectors, even until today.
Predictions of the Future
As it stands, the need for construction and earthmoving equipment shows very few signs of declining. With the countries in Asia and Africa on the upsurge, more heavy equipment will be needed to facilitate the construction of new infrastructure. The first world countries of the West have plenty of surplus construction vehicles to sell, especially for the emerging economies where new equipment may not be financially viable.
Looking even farther, space exploration will inevitably open the way for commerce and industry beyond the bounds of our planet, and the mining of minerals on other planets, moons, and asteroids, or even construction of entirely new colonies will leverage the need for construction equipment, albeit suited for more hostile environments. Onward to the future!