Machine Technology: Looking Back Over The Past 100 Years

Machine Technology

Machine technology has come a long way.

What do a dump truck, a cement mixer truck, an industrial ball valve, a nail gun, a modern hydraulic excavator, and a portable circular saw all have in common? The clear answer to that question is that they are all equipment and tools commonly found on construction sites today.

Another not-so-obvious answer would be that they are all pieces of construction and machine technology that didn’t exist a century ago. One hundred years is a long time, and machine technology has undergone drastic changes and evolution to what it looks like now.

The Importance Of Machine Technology

Imagine what the job site would look like without the tools and equipment we use today. For example, workers would excavate or demolish buildings with pickaxes and shovels without heavy equipment.

Without power tools, drilling holes and cutting boards would be a nightmare. Basically, without machine technology, the construction industry would not be where it is today.

A Brief History Of Machine Technology

Machine technology for construction has come a long way in the last century, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But what led to all this innovation we’re enjoying today?

What was the state of machine technology a hundred years ago? Let’s look back at the history of machine technology to see how we got to where we are today.

The 20th Century

Machine Technology Looking Back Over The Past 100 Years

The 1900s

The early 1900s were a time of great change and innovation in the construction industry. Machine technology was still in its infancy, but there were already some key inventions that would shape the construction landscape for years to come.

The 1910s

One of the most important inventions of the early 20th Century was the steam shovel. Invented in 1902, the steam shovel revolutionized how excavation and demolition were done.

No longer did workers have to dig holes by hand laboriously- the steam shovel could do it much faster and with less manpower.

The 1920s

The 1920s saw the development of the electric drill, which made drilling holes much easier and quicker. Then, in 1922, the portable circular saw was invented, which made cutting boards and lumber much easier for construction workers.

The 1930s

Machine Technology Looking Back Over The Past 100 Years

The late 1930s also saw the invention of the modern hydraulic excavator. This machine was a game-changer for the construction industry, as it could do the work of many men in a fraction of the time.

This period also saw the first iteration of the destructible vinyl labels we know today. Invented in 1935, these labels originally helped identify different parts in military equipment.

The 1950s

The 1950s saw the invention of the nail gun. This invention made fastening boards and lumbered together much easier.  This period also saw the development of modern dump trucks, which made transporting materials to and from construction sites much easier.

1954 also saw the birth of Photovoltaic technology, which would later introduce the use of solar panels. This concept paved the way for companies like Beny Electric to provide quality PV protection products and solutions for various PV systems.

The 1960s

The 1960s saw the invention of the first fleet of modern wheeled excavators. This machine made it much easier to move excavation equipment around construction sites.

This period also brought about the invention of the cement mixer truck, which made transporting and mixing concrete much easier.

The 1970s

The 1970s was the decade that saw the invention of the first personal computer, which would eventually change how construction workers did their jobs. This period also saw the invention of the laser level, which made it much easier to get accurate measurements.

The 1980s

Machine Technology Looking Back Over The Past 100 Years

The 1980s saw the invention of the first cordless power tools, which made construction work much more convenient. It also saw the invention of the first power screwdriver. This tool made it much easier to drive screws into boards and lumber.

The 1990s

The 1990s saw the introduction of the first GPS, which would eventually be used in construction to help with mapping and navigating construction sites.

It also marked the introduction of the first construction management software. This software made it much easier for construction workers to keep track of their projects and tasks.

The 21st Century and Beyond

Machine Technology

The 2000s

The early 2000s saw the invention of the first 3D printer. It had the potential to revolutionize the construction industry.

The 2010s

The 2010s saw the invention of the first autonomous construction vehicle, a sign of things to come in the construction industry. The recent decade also saw the rise of new construction materials, such as cross-laminated timber and 3D printed concrete.

It’s clear that the trajectory of machine technology is consistently at an upward motion. With all of the recent innovations, the construction industry is poised for even more growth and change in the coming years.


Machine technology has come a long way in the last 100 years. And with the ways it’s been growing throughout the year, this trend won’t go down any time soon.

As a result, the future of construction is exciting, and we can’t wait to see what innovations the industry comes up with next.


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