Published on December 2nd, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi


Surprising Uses of Forklifts

Forklifts are used in most industrial sectors around the world. As such, anyone who works in those industries will have either undergone forklift training and acquired a high reach forklift licence or seen them in use at some point. However, despite their importance, there is much about forklifts that isn’t widely known, even by the very people who use them! Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the most surprising ways in which these machines are used.


Rodeo is a competitive sport that first arose out of the working practices of cattle herders in Spain, Mexico, and many other places. Now, it is a sporting event that involves horses and other livestock and is designed to test the skill and speed of cowgirls and boys. However, in more recent times, people have been doing forklift rodeo competitions – yep, that’s right! Luckily, no animals are hurt in this version of rodeo as drivers only perform tricks to show off their skills on their forklift. In the forklift rodeo competitions, many tasks are set for the competitors including obstacle courses, bowling, and basketball. These events are usually sponsored by a range of forklift companies, with the winning prize often being a forklift of their own.


As useful of a machine as forklifts are, and all the good they bring, sometimes they can be used for the wrong reasons. On 11th September 2014, a forklift weighing 10,000 pounds was illegally taken from a construction site in Jacksonville, Florida. After being driven half a mile, the thieves rammed the forklift into a 2,000-pound ATM machine. Security footage later showed that the robbers used the forklift to remove the ATM machine and off they went with it. Surprisingly, the forklift was left there and no fingerprints were found anywhere for evidence. Since this event, this particular crime has become a trend amongst criminals and the reported figures of ATMs being stolen by a forklift are constantly increasing.


One might assume that forklifts are a relatively new invention. However, that couldn’t actually be further from the truth – forklifts have been around for 100 years. Although they were invented in the 1920s, they weren’t used in significant numbers until the war. This was because businesses began to need them, creating a demand for their use. Many goods were needed during the war and as the demand grew, so did the number of goods that needed transporting. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough labourers available to carry the goods – which is where forklifts came in use forklift. One business, in particular, went from using 500 forklifts in 1939 to a staggering 23,000 forklifts by the end of the war. This was an increase of 459%! Furthermore adding to their increased use The American War Production Board granted massive funds to the US Military for forklifts in 1940.

Electric vs Combustion

Although most people will be well aware that there are a range of different forklifts, not many people know that they require different power sources. There are two different types of forklifts:

  • Internal Combustion Forklift – Internal combustion-powered forklifts predominantly rely on fuels such as diesel, propane, gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas.
  • Electric-Powered Forklift – Working off battery power, these forklifts produce much fewer fumes in comparison to forklifts that use internal combustion.

Due to global warming and the world trying to tackle this issue, electric-powered forklifts are becoming more popular in businesses, warehouses, and factories. Their initial battery life maxed out at 8 hours before they needed recharging. However, batteries have now improved, resulting in forklifts lasting much longer.

There you have it, there is much more to the history of forklifts than you probably imagined! If you are ever using a forklift yourself, remember to stay safe and always use them for the right reasons.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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