Machinery By The Pound

Back when I was a kid, the old times would often reference how much various machines cost by weight.

They would say things like “that excavator weighs about 40,000 pounds and costs $40,000” or “that bulldozer weighs 60,000 pounds and costs $60,000 “. This was a way of quickly estimating the cost of equipment based on its weight.

This may not seem like a very sophisticated was to do things, but considering there weren’t computers in those days and many of the men in the business had limited education, a lot of simply ways were developed to relate to various costs.

According to some sources, a 3T – D7 Caterpillar bulldozer in the 1960s weighed around 46,000 pounds and cost approximately $25,000. However, the price could vary based on the specific model, features, and location. Back then it was probably approximately $.60 per pound.

3T – D7 Caterpillar Cable Dozer

While this practice may not be as common today, it served as a useful rule of thumb for estimating the cost of road building equipment. It also highlights the importance of considering the weight and capabilities of machinery when making purchasing decisions in the construction industry.

The price of a John Deere 450 Track Loader in 1965 was around $12,000. The weight of the machine was approximately 13,500 pounds or slightly less than $1 per pound. My dad bought a new one in 65. That was a big step to spend that kind of money in those days.

John Deere 450 Track Loader – Year 1965

The Caterpillar 385 excavator was first introduced in 2003 Its weight varies depending on the model and specifications. The average model of the Caterpillar 385 excavator weighed around 185,000 pounds. In 2003-2004 I bought two of them at a cost of around $600,000 each. That puts the price up at $3.25 per pound.

Cat 385 Excavator – Year 2005

In 2007 and 2008 I bought 2 of these machines. They each weighed in at approximately 250,000 lbs and costs just under $1 million each. That was bumping the price up to just under $4.00 per pound.

2008 EX 1200 Hitachi Excavator

As you can see the price of just about everything continued to climb. There are many reasons for this, but adding computers, safety and environmental enhancements continued to drive up costs. The cost of raw materials are several times what it was in the 1960s.

While this isn’t meant to be an exact and comprehensive cost breakdown, it gives you and idea of how the old system worked.

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