Carrying on from the 'Who invented the skip' thread

I’ve often wondered (as you do) - who invented, or first used, the four-way pallet?

And, just like the chicken and egg, which came first - the pallet or the FLT?

Just a thought!


In its simplest form as the Stillage it was around in the 1920’s, planks of wood nailed to two bearers and moved by a works truck known as a Stillage, Lever Platform, Jack Trucks or Transveyor, these would have been hand operated rather than motorised at the beginning. The Pallet was a development of the Stillage used by about the 30’s or 40’s and eventually would come in various sizes and shapes there was no standard at the time, at least not until the first British Standard of 1955, however Pallets of different sizes still appeared as we know until 1988 when three standard sizes were decided, 48 x 32in (1200mm x 800mm), 48 x 40in (1200 x 1000mm), 1140 x 1140mm a new size designed to fit into ISO Containers 8ft wide. In that time though eight other sizes had been adopted and dropped. The Motorised Fork Lift Truck didn’t really make it big in Britain until the Second War when introduced by US forces. This info comes from sections of The Companion to British Road Haulage History an excellent reference book on road haulage in the UK. Franky.

The first pallets I remember seeing belonged to Carter’s of Coleford who were the fore runners of Beecham Foods, manufacturers of Ribena. The first ones were two-way and were four feet square, meaning that there was a slight overhang to the sides of our 7’6" platform bodies. The change to 4-ways came, I think, in the early 1960s which meant that we could fit the pallets on the lorry by loading them longtitudinally on one side and transversely on the other. Later still, of course, we got all modern and specced eight foot wide bodies on all new vehicles.


I guess that the idea of 40x48 pallets was that they could be loaded side by side on a flat 8’ wide trailer, but loaded transversely on narrower vehicles.

Those of us forward thinking enough to move away from work intensive roping and sheeting and onto van haulage :smiley: found that we could get 20 pallets on a 40’ box if we loaded one side at 48" and the other at 40", but if you ‘boxed’ them you could get 21 on.

I think it would have been simpler to settle for 46" x 46" personally.

I’m sure there will be others who disagree!

That reminds me. I promised Eddie Heaton a thread on Jolodas. I need to get down to brother Andy’s and take a photo of a pair he still has. Some people just can’t bear to throw anything out!


[ 1949 The revolutionary pallet ( later known as the EUR pallet ) - measuring 800 x 1200 mm - was introduced. A cooperation between BT and the Swedish railway company. ] This I quote from BT’s home page. BT being the company that manufactured the ubiquitous orange Rolatruc pallet truck with the white nylon wheels. The king of pallet trucks in my humble opinion. The company was acquired by Toyota industries in the year 2000 evidently.

I had a Joloda which I kept hanging on a fitting inside the barn doors of my tipping trailer. At 36’00" the trailer wasn’t ideal for pallet work but it did get me a few homeward-bound loads.

When you say barn doors ROF, would I be correct in assuming that you carried a fair bit of scrap metal ?

With the new ally body I tried to keep away from scrap as much as possible, although it constituted almost half of our traffic at the time. If I had a choice I would go for the turnings, drillings or fragmented car bodies. If I had no alternative I would take the Joloda off, load the heavy iron then persuade the forky to put my pallet truck on top of the load. At the steelworks I would scramble on top & lower the tool down on a length of rope! The things we did to earn a crust!