Fresno Scraper to Be Recognized

The horse-drawn Fresno Scraper, an earthmoving and ditch digging apparatus that contributed to the expansion of American farming at the turn of the twentieth century and played a role in the massive earthmoving work for construction of the Panama Canal, will be re-designated by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as a Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark at a special ceremony at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum on Saturday, March 26, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.

The New York-based ASME will present a bronze plaque in recognition of the Scraper’s mechanical attributes, which revolutionized earthmoving equipment and enabled agricultural irrigation in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

The Fresno Scraper was developed in the 1880s in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Manufacturing began in the mid-1880s by James Porteous’s Fresno Agricultural Works—hence its name—with additional production by Stockton’s Holt Manufacturing Company from 1902 through at least 1915.

Fresno Scrapers were sold throughout the West. When word spread of their efficiency, reliability, and ease of operation, they were shipped throughout the United States and, eventually, around the world. They continued to be used widely after the advent of the tractor in the 1910s and 1920s, often with mechanical or hydraulic controls. Although motorized graders and advanced scrapers replaced them on large earthmoving jobs in the 1930s, farmers continued to use Fresno Scrapers for many years.

To facilitate planning, persons interested in attending this event are requested to e-mail the Museum at with their name and the number in their party.

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