The excavator is a machine which is used to excavate and to move earth in various processes such as in the building trade. Most modern models consist of a cab mounted on to a base which can spin round and an arm mechanism with some form of digging and/or scoop implement at the end. Excavators can dig out earth and then swivel around to move the earth elsewhere.
It is thought that the first excavators were actually powered by steam and that they were being used as early as the late 1700s and early 1800s in some form or other. Early examples here include the Grimshaw Steam Excavator and the Otis Steam Shovel. Developments here saw changes in the ways that these machines worked with inventions such as slew shovels.
Steam shovels played a major role in building various things including the Panama Canal which used over 100 steam shovels in its construction. For many years the steam shovel and the other types of shovels that followed them were the most popular way of excavating.
Soon after this these machines were further developed by the invention of hydraulic excavators and by the late 1800s excavators powered by electric motors were brought to market. Various new types of excavator followed including drag line, backhoe, bucket wheel, long reach, skid loader and suction excavators.