Galion Iron Works
Successor Komatsu
Founded 1907
Headquarters Galion, Ohio, USA
Products construction plant: road graders, road rollers, and earthmovers
Parent Dresser Industries

Galion road grader

Galion grader

Galion Iron Works built the Galion brand of construction equipment. World famous for their graders that shaped the roads of the world, a saying emerged that "All roads lead to Galion." They also manufactured rollers, cranes, asphalt millers and even riding squeegees, among other machines.

History[edit | edit source]

The Galion Iron Works Company of Galion, Ohio, was founded by David Charles Boyd and his three brothers in 1907. In its early years, the Galion name appeared on a wide range of road-building and other construction equipment, such as drag scrapers, plows, wagons, stone unloaders, rock crushers, and a variety of other "experimental machines". By 1911, Galion had begun production of a light-duty, horse-drawn road grader.

The company's success and product diversification brought about its reorganization in 1923, and a change of the name to Galion Iron Works and Manufacturing Company. The "Light Premier" was an early grader produced in 1915. It was billed as light enough for two horses, but strong enough for four. Its blade could be raised, lowered, angled, tilted, and shifted sideways, just like the blade movements on a modern grader.

Galion was famous for its huge pull-type graders, some of the largest ever built, designed to be pulled behind the largest tractors available. The No 14 shown here is equipped with scarifier, steerable tongue, 14-foot blade and hand-operated controls. This heavy-duty piece of iron tipped the scales at 15,000 pounds.

Galion was famous for building some of the largest pull-type graders in the industry. Popular throughout the 1920s and 1930s, these huge machines were pulled by the largest traction engines and crawler tractors available. These graders outperformed other motor graders of the day. Galion continued selling its pull-type graders until 1945, long after other manufacturers discontinued pull-type graders.

Galion developed one of the first hydraulic power grader systems in the 1920s. By the early 1930s hydraulics were standard on all motor graders. An example of a 1922 "Galion Patrol" is shown here.

In 1922, Galion was one of the first companies to develop a self-propelled motor grader. The tractor engine and transmission were located in the rear of the frame, and the operator cockpit was located near the center of the machine. Also in the 1920s, development work began on one of Galion's greatest achievements- the Galion hydraulic control. Used on both pull-type and self-propelled graders, this hydraulic system was one of the first to be applied to grader controls.

A Galion pull-tupe grader cuts a steep bank and a ditch. The advantage of the offset wheel arrangement is clearly demonstrated. This machine has hydraulic controls.

In 1929, Jeffrey Manufacturing Company of Columbus, Ohio, purchased the Galion Organization, but the name of the company remained unchanged.

The motor grader line received the first power-shift transmission, which was a big leap forward, in 1955. Called the Galion Grade-O-Matic drive, it utilized a torque converter, output shaft governor and power-shift transmission, providing simple two-lever control of speed and direction. The Galion T-700 garnered the world's largest grader title in 1955. Larger than anything else in the grader industry, it boasted 190 hp (140 kW) and an operating weight of over 40,000 pounds.

The graders and rollers built by the Galion Iron Works Company created many of the roads and highways (including the National Defense Highway System) in North America, as well as South America and other countries. After exactly 60 years with the same name, the Galion Iron Works and Manufacturing Company was renamed the Galion Manufacturing Company in 1973. The following year a transaction was completed making Galion a division of Dresser Industries, Inc. and became known as Galion-Dresser.

Galion Dresser logo

In 1979, Galion added the first three articulated graders to its line. The mid-sized A-550, with a 29,100 pound operating weight, is shown here. These graders were of completely new design, with a distinctive sloping engine hood. Other models of the same design were introduced until all Galion's rigid-frame machines were replaced by the mid-1980s.

Galion introduced its modern -looking articulated grader line in 1979. It featured a distinctively sloped rear engine hood and was identified as the A-series for "Articulated". Initially three models were introduced, the A-500, A-550, and A-600, weighing up to 30,000 pounds. These models joined the rigid-frame models, which continued in the Galion line until the mid-1980s.

Some bank grading performed by a Dresser 830 grader. The 27,800-pound grader was formerly the Galion A-450E, but was renumbered when its parent company [Dresser Industries] temporarily dropped the Galion name in 1986.

In 1986, the grader products took on the name of the parent company, Dresser, and the Galion name was temporarily dropped. In 1988, the grader line was consolidated into three articulated models named the 830, 850 and 870. That same year, Galion became part of the Komatsu Dresser Company (KDC) joint venture. The Galion name reemerged in 1992, when the Galion division of KDC was established. From 1995, the three basic Galion graders were badged and renumbered to fit into Komatsu's GD series, and featured modified specifications. The Komatsu-designed GD825A-2 is its largest grader, weighing 58,250 pounds and producing 280 horsepower (210 kW).

Model range[edit | edit source]

The Galion Iron Works built a number of grader models and also licensed the designs to other manufacturers overseas.

Grader models

Galion S-450E grader

Other products

Preservation[edit | edit source]

please list any known surviving examples here


See also[edit | edit source]

References / sources[edit | edit source]

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