Extremely Rare Thew "Scoop Shovel" Found on Facebook
This article originally appeared on "Equipment World"
by Don McLoud, May 4, 2023

rare Scoop Shovel attachment
George and Alan Marsh found this rare Scoop Shovel attachment on a Facebook auction. It was made by the Thew Shovel Company for its Lorain cranes. The Marshes' crane with the Scoop Shovel is a 1956 Lorain TL-25.

Historical construction equipment aficionados were doing double-takes when walking past George Marsh’s 1956 Lorain TL-25 crawler crane.

It wasn't the 66-year-old crane itself, which is not so rare, but the attachment on the front of it that was catching attention at September's Historical Construction Equipment Association's annual convention in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Scoop Shovel, as it was called, was made by the Thew Shovel Company, which built Lorain cranes. And as far as George or anyone else at the show was aware, it's the only one known left to exist.

"I talked to a lot of people out at HCEA that knew a whole hell of a lot more than me, and none of them had ever seen one before." he said.

George and Alan Marsh

George Marsh, right, and his father Alan Marsh, have amassed a collection of 100 vintage machines.

George and his father, Alan Marsh, first caught a glimpse of the Scoop Shovel about a year ago on Facebook, where it was being auctioned.

Alan Marsh operated friction cranes his entire career, performing dragline and shovel work starting in 1975. He operated a Bucyrus-Erie 22B, and in 1983, he bought a 110-ton American 975 crane, which he and his son keep running today. George is also a professional dragline operator. Between them, they have collected 100 or so vintage machines, including various friction cranes, crawler tractors and antique trucks.

So when they saw the Scoop Shovel on Facebook, they knew they had found something special.

They placed their bid but lost the auction. Later, though, they caught up with the high bidder in Zanesville, Ohio, where the crane and shovel were located. They bought it from him and brought it back home to Temple, New Hampshire, where they restored it to running condition.

"It hadn't run in a while when we got it." George said.

At the HCEA show, George demonstrated the Scoop Shovel by filling and dumping shovelfuls from a dirt pile. The boom and bucket moved forward with pulleys and cables, sliding horizontally into the pile of dirt. After the bucket was filled, the boom would swing out. The bucket dumped and reset using the hydraulics, which were added later. The pulleys and cables retracted the boom as the shovel readied to scoop another load.

The Scoop Shovel still needs some work to run smoother, George says. And since the show, hydraulic lines have sprung leaks, which he plans to fix. "I need to get some more things freed up on it. It's still kind of stiff."

He might paint it, but then again, that's not as important.

"My thing is, I like my stuff to run 100%. Paint's nice. But I'd rather be able to get in it and use it."

George Marsh

George Marsh in the operator's seat of his 1956 Lorain TL-25 crawler crane with Scoop Shovel at the HCEA convention in September in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Hardly anything is known about the Scoop Shovel, such as when it was built and how many were made. The seller knew the owner, who had recently passed away and was a coal stripper. George suspects it was used in coal mines in Ohio, possibly for loading shallow cuts of coal into haulers.

Somewhere along the line, hydraulics was added by a previous owner for the dumping mechanism. As a big fan of friction cranes, Marsh believes that has made it a slower machine. He’s not exactly sure how it originally worked other than it likely had a trip bucket, in which the operator would pull the dipper trip to dump materials and then reset it.

"The way you've got to run it now is that you're pretty much always waiting for the bucket to either dump or to come back, because hydraulics is just slow on it," Marsh says.

Operating the shovel is also a little strange. It extends out to about 20 feet high and is designed for higher capacity shoveling and unloading than typical cable shovels. The shovel's capacity is about 2 cubic yards, which is typically found on a much larger machine. A standard shovel for a crane that size would have a 3/4-yard capacity or so.

The Scoop Shovel doesn't have the digging power of a standard shovel. But it can work in spaces with low overhead, such as coal mines. Four levers are used to control the shoveling process.

"It's tricky, because the normal cable shovel, you can really get behind your pile," Marsh explains. "This thing, not so much. You can't boom that down and dig a trench with it, for example."

Despite its quirky design, Marsh can see where it had its place. "If you're working in loose material loading trucks, I'm sure it's great," he says. "It's way faster. You're moving more material than you are with a regular shovel."

Marsh has found a Lorain sales brochure from the 1950s, which shows the Scoop Shovel. Many of the photos show it being used in mining operations. It appears to play a similar role as a wheel loader does today.

"They put that attachment in like every operator's book that they put out, as an option," he said. "But I haven't really been able to find anything with more specific details about that particular attachment. I have no idea when they started building them. I have no idea how many they built, but I know it wasn't a lot, and not for a long time."

brochure photo

A photo from a Thew Shovel Company brochure shows a Lorain TL-25 crane with a Scoop Shovel loading blast furnace slag onto a truck.

Regardless of its details and history, the Scoop Shovel ranks among his favorite finds, especially since there appears to be no others around anymore.

He enjoys running and working on the old equipment and showing it. He goes to six or eight vintage equipment shows a year, where he and his father bring out some of their favorite pieces.

“Taking the stuff to shows so that people can enjoy it is really what it's all about for me,” he says. “It's rewarding to get stuff going again and letting people see it and enjoy it.”

Watch the Scoop Shovel in action

Check out George operating the Scoop Shovel at the HCEA show in September in the video below:

The Northeast Rockbusters Annual Membership meeting and banquet was held on Sunday, November 12th in Woburn MA. During the meeting, the annual Fred Perkins award was given to Ricky Turner for his service and dedication to the Northeast Rockbusters Club. Vice-President Ted Valpey III also presented Extra Mile awards to two deserving individuals. They are Gary Osborne and George Marsh. George was unable to attend the meeting and will receive his award at a later date.

Gary Osborne receives an award

Northeast Rockbusters Vice-President Ted Valpey III presents an Extra Mile award to a deserving member, treasurer Gary Osborne. Member George Marsh also was a recipient of the Extra Mile award but was not present at the meeting.

Ricky Turner

The Northeast Rockbusters Fred Perkins award committee of David Nichols and Richard McCarthy are presenting 2023 Fred Perkins award to member Ricky Turner! Congratulations to Ricky!

Remembering Ted Valpey Jr.

Ted on a golf cart

Ted making the rounds on his golf cart at his Bayview Farm gathering on May 20th, 2017.

Two Teds Talking

Ted Jr. and his son, Ted III, riding around on Ted III's Allis Chalmers bulldozer at the 2007 HCEA National Convention in Colchester CT on July, 20th, 2007.

At the 2017 Show

Ted Jr. attended the Northeast Rockbusters Antique Equipment Show in Plainfield CT on August 5th, 2017. Pictured here from left to right, Andy Buckman, Al Greymont and Ted Valpey Jr.

At the Northeast Rockbusters Membership meeting on held January 8th, 2023 at the Seabee's National Museum in North Kingstown RI, we presented a donation check of $1000.00 to the Seabee's museum which will go towards the restoration of the church on the museum grounds. Seen in the photo is Rockbusters treasurer Gary Osborne presenting a check to Seabee's museum volunteer, Joe.

Ron Severino's Fred Perkins award

At the Northeast Rockbusters annual banquet held on November 13th, 2022, Rockbuster's treasurer Gary Osborne hands a check with a donation to Steve and Shari Turner from the Bring Back the Trades group. The BBTT groups provides scholarships to students who are attending post-secondary education in the Skilled Trades. For more information about Bring Back the Trades, check out their website at

Bring Back the Trades Donation

Bench Movers
Several Northeast Rockbuster members recently made the trip to Bowling Green Ohio in September to attend the 36th annual Historical Construction Equipment Association convention. President Ted Valpey III delivered the bench that was made in honor of Bruce Crawford to the museum. Also delivered were 2 filing cabinets from Bruce's collection. The cabinets were full of literature that was donated to the HCEA archives. Ted also brought his "Swinger" Model 100 to the show and it was a big hit out there! Members George, Alan and Jack Marsh brought a rare Lorain shovel and a Caterpillar crawler to the show all the way from New Hampshire!

8/15/19 We were pleased to learn that The "Construction Equipment Guide" did a nice story (with photos) on our 2019 show in Concord NH. If you'd like to enjoy it, click here.

Charles Capone bench
The Northeast Rockbusters Chapter of the HCEA have purchased a bench seat in memory of Charles Capone Sr. and other Rockbuster members who have passed away. The bench is located at the Historical Construction Equipment Association Headquarters in Bowling Green Ohio. Thanks to Kevin Maguire, Sam Sicchio and other Rockbuster members for making this happen.

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