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McCaffrey, M. P. Inc. (1922-2002) | Historical Construction Equipment Association

Name: McCaffrey, M. P. Inc. (1922-2002)
Variant Name: McCaffrey Equipment Rental Company

Historical Note:

The M. P. McCaffrey family of businesses was founded in 1922. It operated in South Gate, California under several names until closing circa 2002. There is no record of all the names of McCaffrey businesses; M. P. McCaffrey Inc. appears to be the dominant name, encompassing used equipment sales, and there was also a McCaffrey Equipment Rental Company and a McCaffrey-Ruddock Tagline Corporation (Collection 1026) that manufactured taglines. McCaffrey held at least two liquidation auctions in the late 1980s and 1990s. Brochures for the auctions are in the Thomas Berry Collection.

Used Equipment Operations:

For much of its existence, M. P. McCaffrey Inc. was one of the largest excavator and crane dealers in southern California. It bought and sold hundreds of these machines, as well as buckets, booms and attachments for them. It also bought and sold earthmoving and, on occasion, some other types of construction, mining and industrial equipment, as well as an occasional car or highway truck.

By far, Caterpillar dominated the crawler tractors, wheel dozers, motor graders, and crawler and wheel loaders sold.

Purchases, consignments and joint ventures:

McCaffrey sold machines that it bought outright, bought or sold in joint venture with another party such as a dealer, or sold on consignment for the owner (who occasionally ended the arrangement by having the machine picked up).

Machines were acquired from a wide range of sources, including contractors, manufacturers (most likely trade-ins, although a few new machines were purchased), producers, dealers, auctions and government surplus. Most machines were purchased domestically, although some came from Canada and Mexico.

Equipment was purchased from several major projects, either directly from the contractors or at auction. The projects include but are not limited to: the American River Project (Hell Hole Dam and related tunnels, dams and power plants, built by the American River Constructors joint venture) in California; Skookumchuck Dam (Lockheed Shipbuilding & Construction Company) in Washington; Lost Creek Dam (Umpqua Division of Bohemia, Inc.) in Oregon; the Unocal oil shale development near Parachute, Colorado; and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. These projects are documented under the heading, Notable Used Equipment.

Sales – domestic and foreign:

McCaffrey sold a large number of machines to Latin America, and a number of Macsweeps were sold to China.


The inventory cards that are posted to the database document the following total number of major machines in inventory between Jan 1956 and Dec 1989:

347 crawler cable excavators: 14 American Hoist & Derrick, 2 Bay City, 50 Bucyrus-Erie, 1 Clark, 1 General, 8 Hanson, 3 Insley, 28 Koehring, 25 Lima, 14 Link-Belt, 8 Lorain, 34 Manitowoc, 7 Marion, 130 Northwest (primarily 32 25s, 30 6s, and 40 80Ds), 1 Osgood, 20 P & H and 1 Schield Bantam.

9 locomotive cranes

291 truck cranes: 20 American Hoist & Derrick, 22 Bay City, 4 Browning, 10 Bucyrus-Erie, 3 Clark Michigan, 2 Insley, 16 Koehring, 26 Lima, 28 Link-Belt, 75 Lorain, 4 Manitowoc, 7 Northwest, 67 P & H, 2 Schield Bantam, 2 Universal, 2 Wayne and 1 unidentified.

38 wagon cranes: 3 American Hoist & Derrick, 1 Bay City, 2 Bucyrus-Erie, 1 Insley, 5 Koehring, 2 Lima, 10 Link-Belt, 2 Lorain, 4 Manitowoc (all 1600s), 3 Northwest, 2 Osgood, 1 Schield-Bantam and 2 Unit Crane & Shovel.

154 self-propelled hydraulic cranes: 23 Austin-Western, 2 Drott, 16 Galion, 46 Grove, 8 Link-Belt, 9 Lorain, 26 P & H, 15 Pettibone, 5 Schield Bantam and 4 Warner & Swasey.

59 truck hydraulic cranes: 1 Austin-Western, 12 Bucyrus-Erie, 1 Drott, 20 Grove, 7 Link-Belt, 2 Lorain, 11 P & H, 2 Pettibone and 2 Warner & Swasey.

30 boom trucks: 1 Alenco, 1 Heil, 3 Hiab, 7 Link-Belt (all booms from YC9 yard crane), 3 National, 10 Pittman, 3 R. O., 2 Venco and 1 unidentified.

41 hydraulic excavators: 4 Bucyrus-Erie, 3 Caterpillar, 2 Hein-Werner, 3 Insley, 10 Koehring, 1 Komatsu, 1 Poclain, 7 Warner & Swasey Hopto and 10 Warner & Swasey Gradall.

35 miscellaneous cranes and lifting: 1 tower crane, 2 gantry cranes, 1 stiffleg derrick, 9 yard cranes, 12 swing boom tractors, 7 forklifts and 3 hoists.

15 pile hammers

253 crawler tractors: 8 Allis-Chalmers, 1 Case, 232 Cat (77 D8H, 35 D9G), and 1 Terex

24 wheel dozers: 17 Cat (10 830M), 7 Clark Michigan

183 motor graders: 1 Adams, 1 Allis-Chalmers, 2 Austin-Western, 174 Cat, 2 Deere and 3 Galion Iron Works.

163 rollers and compactors: 67 sheepsfoot rollers, 8 towed pneumatic rollers, 12 proofrollers, 3 grid rollers, 17 three-wheel rollers, 16  tandem rollers, 7 pneumatic rollers, 13 embankment compactors, 13 towed vibratory compactors, and 7 self-propelled vibratory compactors.

29 pull scrapers: 2 Bucyrus-Erie, 8 Cat, 1 Curtiss-Wright, 1 Davenport, 3 Gar Wood, 8 LeTourneau and 6 Wooldridge.

98 motor scrapers: 2 Allis-Chalmers TS360, 50 Cat, 2 Clark Michigan 310, 31 Euclid (24 SS40), 1 International-Harvester, 5 LeTourneau-Westinghouse, 5 Terex and 2 Wabco.

15 elevating scrapers: 8 Cat, 1 Deere, 2 LeTourneau-Westinghouse and 4 Wabco.

7 elevating graders, belt loaders and force-feed loaders

52 crawler loaders: 5 Allis-Chalmers, 1 American Tractor, 42 Cat, 1 Deere and 3 International Harvester.

193 wheel loaders: 2 Allis-Chalmers, 2 Case, 126 Cat, 18 Clark Michigan, 2 Deere, 7 Euclid, 23 Hough, 1 International Harvester, 1 Minneapolis-Moline, 10 Trojan (including 6 4000s) and 1 Wagner Scoopmobile.

1 skid-steer loader

8 loader/backhoes

6 pull rippers

5 discs

1 bucket wheel excavator

14 air compressors

10 drills

1 trencher

1 drophammer

6 pipelayers and sidebooms, all Cat

2 concrete mixers

1 asphalt plant

15 crushers and crusher plants

4 screens

2 feeders

2 radial stackers

1 trimmer

3 stabilizers

1 sweeper

258  off-highway end dumps: 15 Cat, 135 Euclid, 27 International Harvester, 7 KW Dart, 17 LeTourneau-Westinghouse, 2 Mack, 41 Terex and 14 Wabco.

55 bottom dump trucks: 20 Cat, 35 Euclid

25 water wagons

46 miscellaneous trucks

3 rock wagons

11 bottom dump wagons

2 side dump wagons

22 bottom dump trailers

13 miscellaneous trailers

17 trailer dollies (for use with bottom dumps)

Notable Used Equipment:

McCaffrey developed early boom trucks in the late 1950s by mounting booms from Link-Belt YC9 yard cranes on FWD Corporation trucks; four such boom trucks are noted in the inventory cards (see cards B-771, B-803, B-810 and B-848).

Several unusual machines are documented in the inventory cards:

• Inventory number E-937, a Mechanical Excavators, Inc. (Collection 1039) 500 rubber-tired bucket wheel excavator powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V-71 diesel engine. Rated at 500 cubic yards per hour, it was purchased Mar 24 1975 from Challenge-Cook Brothers Inc. (Collection 237), a southern California manufacturer of transit mixers and bottom dump wagons and trailers, then sold two days later to Paul Hubbs.

• Inventory number E-1060, a Northwest 95 cable backhoe s/n 25392 with a short 80D-style cab for 12’2” tailswing; it was purchased at a Parke-Davis Auctioneers sale Jul 25 1975 in Wyoming, and after several rentals was sold to C. L . Pharris Trucking Company on invoice W-8555 Jan 3 1979.

• Inventory number J-1175 (later E-1080) was a Vibro-Plus CT45 self-propelled vibratory compactor built in 1966. It used the Dynapac trade name, but unlike any Dynapac-made compactors, it was drawn by a Vibro-Plus articulated prime mover.

• Inventory number E-1187, a rare Bucyrus-Erie 54B wagon crane s/n 33239 purchased from the U. S. Defense Department and sold to “Tu Girls Investment Company,”

• Inventory number E-1234, a Bucyrus-Erie Mark I-50 11 ton rail-mounted tower crane s/n 122978.

• Inventory number JV-1099 was a Marion Power SHovel 151M electric shovel s/n 8508 that was rented to Dravo Corporation 10/22/1965-01/08/1966.

• Inventory number JV-1269 applied to a fleet of sixteen Euclid SS40 motor scrapers purchased with auctioneer Max Rouse & Sons and dealer/broker E. G. Piper from Asbury Contractors. Located at or near Spokane, Washington, all the scrapers and all but one tractor were sold to Rouse Oct 21 1974. The sixteenth tractor was sold to M. M. Sundt Construction Company Mar 21 1973.

Machines purchased from historically significant projects include:

• Inventory number JV-1089 applied to a fleet of International Harvester 95 Payhauler off-highway end dumps. Nine are documented in the JV series. Two were renumbered to the D series, and the D-series cards note that they were acquired from Merritt-Chapman & Scott Corporation, who used them at Cougar Dam (Berry project reference year 1959 project 43) in Oregon. The January 1965 used equipment catalog includes two Lima 2400 shovels and a Marion 93M shovel/dragline, also from this project.

• Inventory number JV-1114 applied to seven Euclid 1UD R10 series off-highway end dumps. All were rented to Morrison-Knudsen c. 02-07/1965 for use in repairing flood damage to the Northwestern Pacific Railroad north of Willits, California (Berry project reference year 1965 project 2). Three of them were later rented by M-K, apparently at the Pit 6 Dam and Pit 7 Dam project (Berry project reference year 1963 project 44) near Round Mountain, California, in July 1965; two of those were rented to MGM Studios in October 1965.

• Several numbers in the JV1100 series were assigned to machines sold on joint venture with dealer/broker J. J. Coan Company for American River Constructors, a joint venture sponsored by Kaiser Engineering and including Morrison-Knudsen, Perini and Macco Corporation to build the Middle Fork American River Project (Berry project reference year 1963 project 13) east of Rocklin, California between 1963 and 1966. Hell Hole Dam, which was washed out by floodwaters while under construction in December 1964, is the central feature of the complex of seven dams, four powerhouses and 24.3 miles of tunnels. Equipment sold by McCaffrey consisted of a Manitowoc 4500 dragline (JV-1122); American Hoist & Derrick 599T truck crane (JV1140); Lorain MC530W truck crane (JV-1139); Lorain MC760 truck crane (JV-1120); four D8H and two D7E Caterpillar crawler tractor (JV-1123 series); and four 91FD R18 Euclid off-highway end dump truck (JV-1124 series).

• McCaffrey also sold eight of the 33 10LD R45 Euclids used at the Project; four (JV1161 through JV1164) were purchased in June 1969 and sold in joint venture with southern California contractor Clifford C. Bong & Company; the other four (JV1165 through JV1168, along with a LeTourneau-Westinghouse B Tournapull water wagon (JV-1169) were purchased at the final liquidation auction of American River Constructors equipment, conducted in Rocklin by Parks-Davis Auctioneers on August 26, 1969, and sold in joint venture with Coan and United Equipment Company. Four of these trucks were sold to the Kirst Construction Company / G. A. McDonald joint venture, believed to be for use at Perris Dam, California (Berry project reference year 1970 project 65), and one was sold to a Guy F. Atkinson Company / Walsh Construction Company / Dravo Corporation joint venture at an unknown location. (Three LeTourneau-Westinghouse B70 motor scraper were sold for McCaffrey at the August 1969 auction; these scrapers were not owned by American River Constructors.) McCaffrey and Coan joint-ventured a number of other sales as well.

• Much of the equipment used by Lockheed Shipbuilding & Construction Company to build Skookumchuck Dam (Berry project reference year 1969 project 23) on the Skookumchuck River near Centralia, Washington was sold by a joint venture of McCaffrey and Allen Equipment. See inventory nos. E-193 through E-196 and J-1234 through J-1242.

• Inventory numbers JV-1274 through JV-1277 apply to two Caterpillar D9G crawler tractors and two Washington Iron Works 28-150-85 whirley cranes purchased from J. J. Coan and located at Gilboa, New York. It is believed that they were used by an unknown contractor in construction of the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project.

• McCaffrey purchased and resold a considerable amount of machinery used in construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (Berry project reference year 1973 project 35).  JV-1396 through JV-1402 were purchased directly from Alyeska Pipeline Service Company 08/17/1977. F-195 through F-198 were purchased at auction May 25, 1978; F-205 and F-206, Jun 12-14, 1978; F-224 through F-228, Aug 28-19, 1978; F-246, F-247 and JV-1422 through JV-1430, Oct 11-12 1978; and F-298 through F-308, Mar 7-10, 1979.

McCaffrey also sold the first examples of the Austin-Western 714 self-propelled hydraulic crane (inventory number E-1019), the first Manitowoc 3900A (inventory number E-1360) and, apparently, the first FWD Wagner WC17 segment-wheel compactor (inventory number E-743). Both are documented in the inventory photos.


McCaffrey did business with a large number of equipment auctioneers, including: Forke Brothers the Auctioneers, Tom Hennig Auction Company, Lawson & Vallely Inc.; Miller & Miller Auctioneers, Nelson International, Parks-Davis, Irving Rabin Company, Ritchie Brothers, Jack Rouse & Sons, Max Rouse, Stewart Auctions, Tauber-Aarons, Thorp Sales Corporation, Vilsmeier Auction, David Weisz Company, Milton J. Wershow Company (later Wershow-Ash-Lewis) and Yoder & Frey. Given their location in southern California, most resales through auctioneers were done by consignment to sales conducted by the Rouse organizations, Miller & Miller, and Forke Brothers; Ritchie Brothers conducted at least two liquidation auctions for McCaffrey.

New equipment operations:

The McCaffrey businesses is known to have manufactured the following products:

• Crane accessories including backhoe bucket, clamshell bucket and dragline bucket; jib; grapple (including one called the MacGrab); rock tong; magnet; and tagline (marketed under the McCaffrey-Ruddock name);

• Hydraulic backhoe bucket;

• Sheepsfoot roller (known to have been produced 1957-1960);

• Pushloading block for crawler tractor (known to have been produced 1957-1958);

• Loader attachment for crawler tractor (one know to have been built for a Caterpillar D6 in 1959, inventory no. B-1134); and,

• Sprinkler tank for motor scraper prime mover (known to have been produced 1965-1966, inventory nos. D-578 and D-740)

In September 1968 a machine identified only as the 34H Sweeper was assigned inventory card no. D-1001 for developmental, advertising and research costs. A large number of Macsweeps were subsequently assigned inventory cards, starting in February 1969. A number of MacSweeps, including the one documented as D-1001, were sold to Macsweep, Inc., on September 22, 1977 in invoice W-6164; Macsweep may have been a subsidiary of M. P. McCaffrey Inc. and, pending further research, that date may have marked the transfer of unsold inventory to Macsweep.

Another device identified as a “Rotary Brush Forklift” was produced in 1969 and 1970. A Consolidation Magnasweep, consisting of a magnet mounted to the frame of an industrial wheel tractor, is documented in the inventory photos as inventory no. D-1353.

Sources: Observations from records.
Note Author: Thomas Berry

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