Railroads of Montana
Soo Line in Montana - 1916 Dooley Snowplow
1916, a massive blizzard attacked the Northern Plains of North Dakota and
brief history of the rotary snowplow. The first successful rotary plow was
designed by a Canadian inventor named Orange Jull. He had it built
by the Leslie Brothers, owners of a machine shop, and tested it in the
winter of 1883-84. The Leslies' soon purchased the manufacturing
rights to the plow and went into business building "Leslie type" rotaries.
This is the type of plow most people think of when you say "rotary." It
has one large circular plow blade rotating on a shaft
parallel to the tracks. Mr. Jull designed another plow to complete with
the Leslie plows -the Jull Centrifugal Snow Excavator. Between 1890 and 1892 11 Jull type
plows were built. As seen in the above detail photograph - these
plows had a large spiral screw placed diagonally across the front of the
plow to clear the snow. They were not as good in deep or heavy snow
as the Leslies, and never really caught on, eventually all 11 were
scrapped. The Soo Line plow used near Dooley, Montana in February 1916 was
#X-17. A photographer was present to record the effects of the blizzard,
but no doubt the use of the odd "Jull." There appears to be dozens of
If you are interested in
Montana railroad history
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