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P&H Mining Equipment is a manufacturer of large excavating and drilling machines used to mine copper, coal, iron ore, diamonds, oilsands, and other minerals and bedded materials. They claim 90 percent of the world’s surface mines utilize P&H equipment.


The company was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1884 and its headquarters remain there. P&H products have been used by the mining industry for well over a century. P&H equipment operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in harsh climates and at all altitudes.

Time Line

(from P&H web site,copy edit ongoing) 1884 - Alonzo Pawling and Henry Harnischfeger join forces on December 1, 1884, setting up a small machine and pattern making shop to develop industrial components and ideas into models and patterns. As the business of Pawling & Harnischfeger grew, the partners begin manufacturing components and equipment for knitting, grain-drying, stamping, brewing and brick-making machinery and undertaking repair work as well.

1887 - Pawling & Harnischfeger rebuild and improved the design of a damaged overhead crane made by another manufacturer. The improved crane powered by three electric motors attracts attention and orders from other factories, utilities and railroad repair shops across the country arrive.

1911 - In failing health, Alonzo Pawling decides to sell his interest in the business to his partner, Henry Harnischfeger, who decides to keep the now well-known P&H trademark as the former partnership goes forward as a corporation called “Harnischfeger Corporation.”

1912 - Harnischfeger Corporation begins making earth-moving equipment. Trenching machines and wheel loaders are among the first “P&H” digging machines, followed by crawler-mounted digging equipment including wheel-type trenchers.

1914 - During World War I, Harnischfeger Corporation concentrates on making overhead cranes for the war effort. After the war, development of earthmoving equipment resumes. Harnischfeger engineers design the world’s first gasoline engine-powered dragline. Soon after that, Harnischfeger engineers develop a shovel-type excavator mounted on crawlers.

1930 - Co-founder Henry Harnischfeger dies and is succeeded by his son Walter Harnischfeger as president. During the Great Depression P&H struggles. Designs converted to all-welded fabrications for strength and increased efficiency.

1935 - Harnischfeger Corporation introduces “Bantamweight” gas-powered excavators with up to ½-cubic-yard capacity. P&H also introduces new Ward-Leonard drive electric excavators.

1942 - World War II brings the American economy to full capacity, and Harnischfeger Corporation mass-produces its “P&H” cranes and excavators for the war effort. The firm earns “E” awards from the Navy and Army for efficiency in meeting stepped-up production needs.

1945 - Peacetime marks the beginning of a world-wide industrial boom. P&H excavators and overhead and construction cranes contribute in a major way, both in America and in emerging markets worldwide. P&H introduces a new-generation electric mining shovel featuring simpler control components and factory-installed wiring for faster field erection and commissioning.

1946 - Harnischfeger Corporation engineers develop “Magnetorque” electro-magnetic brake and control system to replace traditional friction mechanisms for greatly increased digging power and speed. Magnetorque revolutionizes the heavy equipment industry and continues to be used on smaller electric shovels for decades to come.

1952 - P&H introduces its largest capacity electric dragline to date - the Model 1855 with up to 10 cubic yards bucket capacity. Magnetorque magnetic clutch system applied to every operating function: digging, hoisting, swinging and propelling. Designed primarily for strip mining, the 1855 brings new standards of performance to the field of large excavators.

1954 - P&H rolls out its new Model 1800 electric mining shovel - the latest and largest heavy-duty digging machine in the P&H line with electronic control, centralized AC motor drive, and numerous mechanical improvements.

1959 - Harnischfeger Corporation continues to expand its global network of customer support operations by entering into a joint ownership of a new company in Australia, P&H Power Cranes and Shovels, Pty., Ltd. Henry Harnischfeger, grandson of the founder, becomes president and guides Harnischfeger Corporation through significant growth in the 60s and 70s.

1960 - P&H shovel maximum dipper capacity reaches 12 cubic yards to help meet growing demand for highly productive in hard-rock mining excavators.

1964 - P&H start building some Hydraulic excavators.[1]

1967 - P&H shovel maximum dipper capacity increases to 15 cubic yards.

1969 - In a major leap forward, the P&H 2800 electric shovel débuts initially with a 25 cubic yard dipper capacity to help meet growing world demand for coal, iron and copper. P&H 2800 innovations include solid-state electronic control and planetary drive system, enabling the new-generation shovel to greatly increase productivity and overall performance .

1973 - Walter Harnischfeger dies. Over the previous six decades he led the firm through the Depression and transformed Harnischfeger Corporation into a global leader in the supply of equipment and support to the mining industry.

1976 - P&H increases maximum dipper capacity on its 2800-class shovel to 40 cubic yards. More significant, P&H introduces “Electrotorque” solid-state control for DC motors - a single-stage controlled power manipulation that delivers an abundant adjustable-voltage DC power supply, along with easy-to-understand control troubleshooting, maintenance and repair.

1979 - Build Hydraulic machines in Germany.

1984 - Harnischfeger Corporation reaches 100 consecutive years of production for industrial applications.

1988 - The company acquires the Page Engineering walking dragline product line and begins modernizing the line for increased performance value.

1991 - Harnischfeger Corporation acquires the Gardner-Denver line of large rotary blast hole drills and proceeds to implement needed upgrades for increased performance value. Also in 1991, the P&H 4100-class shovel line rolls out to help mines 3-pass-load 240-ton haul trucks. The 4100 features 85-ton dipper payloads and numerous ease-of-maintenance features including modular components - improvements resulting from growing consultation with mine managers.

1994 - P&H 120A blast hole drill rolls out with numerous performance-boosting improvements.

1995 - The underground mining equipment supplier, Joy Mining Machinery, joins P&H Mining Equipment in the holding company known as Harnischfeger Industries, Inc.

1996 - P&H Mining Equipment launches its global network of regional P&H MinePro Services centers to provide local service and distribution support for surface mine customers. Also, the 4100 shovel evolves into the 4100A, featuring DC digital “Electrotorque Plus” drive for faster digging cycles due to optimized peak horsepower, and improved information systems for the shovel operator and maintenance team.

1997 - P&H 4100TS rolls out and quickly gains a foothold in the Canadian oil sands as a high-performance loading tool.

1999 - P&H Mining Equipment introduces the Bigger, Faster, Smarter P&H 4100XPB - a versatile loading tool tailored to mines utilizing 240-ton, 320-ton and 360-ton haulers. Bigger payloads of 100-plus tons, faster cycle times, and smarter control systems for optimized digging performance and increased productivity. P&H Mining Equipment parent company Harnischfeger Industries, Inc. files for Chapter 11 financial restructuring stemming from sister firm Beloit Corporation (papermaking machinery) severe difficulties in wake of Asian currency devaluation crisis.

2001 - In a collaborative effort with oil sands mines, P&H Mining Equipment introduces the P&H 4100BOSS, a higher-performance successor to the well-regarded P&H 4100TS. Parent company “Harnischfeger Industries, Inc.” emerges from Chapter 11 financial restructuring and undergoes a name change to “Joy Global Inc.”

Product Range

P&H offers three major product lines: -

  • Electric mining shovels.

The company’s flagship range is the C-Series, electric mining shovels, including the 4100XPC, the powerhouse of the industry. The shovel carries up to a 115 ton payload in one scoop and can load today’s giant mining dump trucks in just three or four passes.

  • Walking draglines.

P&H walking draglines are among the largest mobile units in the world. A dragline can stand 22 stories high, is 400 feet long, and weighs 5700 tons. Its bucket takes bites the size of a four-car garage. P&H draglines are frequently used for overburden removal and reclamation activities in coal and phosphate mining operations, were vast quantities need moving to get to the minerals. The latest mega-machines are at work in Australian and Canadian operations.

  • Rotary blasthole drills

Models Range Built

Details of models required - can you help expand the data base ?

UK machines

Several P&H and the earlier Page machines were imported into the UK for use in the expanding open cast coal mining operations after the 2nd World War.

One of the biggest was the Ace of Spades a P&H 757 Walking Dragline. Due to the decrease in open cast mines since 2000 due to Coal powered power stations shutting to meet environmental targets this machine was parked up and has now been sold and exported.

UK Preservation

Is any one aware of any P&H machines working in the UK, or any older machines in preservation. ?

  • Keith Haddock talks of a P&H walking dragline for British Coal in 1991 in the North East, but no model is specified other than a revised Page 757.[2]
  • Also says Taylor Woodrow had a P&H 1900AL shovel at a British open cast mine.

See also

Other Manufacturers;


  1. Giant Earthmovers, by Kieth Haddock, pub by MBI, ISBN 0-7603-03960-X
  2. Extreme Mining Machines, by Kith Haddock, pub by MBI, ISBN 0-7603-0918-3

External links