This picture, taken in 1967, seems to show some piece of small equipment doing some kind of landscaping. Is there perhaps a blade coming out the front of whatever he is sitting on?

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Based on the answer received, I found a picture of a trencher from the 1960s:

Vermeer trencher


I emailed Thomas Berry, the Archivist and Editor at the Historical Construction Equipment Association, and he said "From what I can tell the machine is a miniature crawler tractor for work in confined areas. Can’t tell what the attachment is on the end away from the camera, but it’s likely a bulldozer blade or possibly a trencher for digging a narrow trench."

  • It is very difficult to tell. Maybe a soil mover, but I think a soil compactor: In front it seems that there is a huge wheel, and not the belts. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 7:28

1 Answer 1


It's probably a trencher or more likely a cable plow. Cable plows like backhoes/diggers can often be operated normally in either forwards or backwards directions. In this shot the operator is looking backwards so the controls are behind his back. To move to a new location he would turn around and the controls would be in front.

If it was a trencher we would see a lot more soil piled up from where the work is being done. Cable plows disturb a lot less soil, moving a very narrow channel to get the cable in. Note too what looks like guards covering the wheels/tracks which might come in handy if working in a lot of loose soil.

Looks like a crank handle hanging off the front/back/right side plus the long handled spades lying down on the ground. If this was a gardener working the spades would be neatly leaning up somewhere safe and not ready to be tripped over or have handles splintered.

  • Also used for sprinkler systems and drain line installation. There are unimaginable miles of buried clay tile field drain lines in farm fields in the US. A headache when laying oil/gas pipelines. Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 16:55

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