Our team of technicians is also fully qualified to carry out forklift training to operatives, helping companies across the South East to ensure health and safety regulations are met always.
On this page, we look into the history of the forklift and how it has developed to become a common site at commercial and industrial workplaces throughout the world.
The introduction of the forklift truck began in the wake of the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th century. As Britain’s economy developed, the introduction of machines to aid in the manufacturing and construction process started to replace time-consuming manual methods such as hoists, used before. There was an increasing demand for a machine that could lift and transport materials over short distances, and in 1887 a two-wheeled lifting truck was invented that enabled horizontal and vertical movement of cargo.
The next most prominent development was in 1906, where a worker attached a battery to a baggage cart at the Pennsylvania Railroad project in Alatoona, making what was most likely the world’s powered first cargo truck. Steel lift trucks appeared three years later in 1909. Unlike the forklift hire and forklift sales machines we provide to our clients in Epsom today, the lifting platform was made from a solid sheet of metal opposed to the now standard fork.
First World War
There was a major labour shortage during the First World War (1914-1918), due to the number of working males away volunteering for the military. This meant lift trucks became ever more important in order to increase the productivity of the available workforce. Two of the most significant developments during this time was the introduction of the hydraulic powered lift truck and the adoption of the fork-style lifting platform, a key feature of any modern forklift service and forklift training today.
Second World War and Post-War
During the Second World War, forklifts became an essential piece of equipment used for loading war supplies such as food and ammunition onto vehicles. Post-war, smaller more manoeuvrable models were manufactured for wider commercial use in warehouses and on construction sites. In the 1950s and 1960s, manufacturers started making models with roofs and the importance of forklift training and safety became better recognised.
With the development of modern logistics, forklift hire and forklift sales machines have become popular tools for handling materials throughout various industries in Epsom and the wider UK. Thanks to the continued effort to make machinery and workplace operations safer, modern forklift service models are much safer to operate when used correctly.
Gatwick Forklifts are an independent business with over two decades of industry experience. Our team takes pride in delivering a reliable forklift service for clients in Epsom and the wider South East area. We supply high-quality equipment and services including:
Forklift Hire - We have access to hundreds of reliable used forklift machines that have been maintained by the manufacturer. These are available for short and long-term hire periods.
Forklift Sales – Commercial and industrial clients in Epsom and the surrounding areas can purchase a range of brand-new or second-hand forklift models from us competitive prices.
Forklift Training – Our courses are taught by knowledgeable instructors with over 25 years of experience. We offer training for all levels, from novices to experienced operatives.
Forklift Servicing – Need spare parts, servicing or forklift maintenance? We provide replacement parts such as traction batteries and can help you keep your forklift maintained.
Warehouse Design – As part of our forklift service, Gatwick Forklifts specialise in complete warehouse fit-outs, in compliance with the current SEMA standards.