Magnetic Nail Picking Vehicle

Cleans Deeper Than Street Sweeper

Magnetic Nail Picking Vehicle

My hubby, Derek Dahlsad (who I continue to try to get to write here at Inherited Values) had another one of his stories on NPR’s Dakota Datebook today.

Nail Picking In Langdon, 1931 is the early story of dirt roads and automobiles — and the magnetic vehicles used to keep the roads clean for tires in the 1920s and 30s. These maintenance trucks were also used to assist in wartime efforts during WWII.

Here’s a snippet:

The nail picking machine consisted of a one and a half ton truck with three electro-magnets mounted below the chassis. The magnets were powered by a generator mounted in the box. Each magnet had a lifting power of two hundred pounds per square inch, enough to pull iron and steel from deep beneath the road surface.

The driver of the nail picker would turn on the electro-magnets and make three passes over each stretch of road. Then the driver parked the nail picker over a tarp, the magnet was turned off, and all the scrap fell onto the tarp. Railroad tracks posed a special problem for the nail picker. The electro-magnets would temporarily magnetize the steel tracks when the truck passed over, pulling metal away from the picker and leaving the rails bristling with nails and iron.

To hear the story as it aired, click the “play arrow” at the top of the story, just below the headline.

Also: Derek’s first Dakota Datebook story: Boy Scout Saves Girl.

Image from Popular Mechanics, November 1928.

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Deanna

Deanna is the founder of Inherited Values, among other sites. She is also an antique dealer.

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