Lead Forensics

The history of the box trolley

Box trolleys rely on technology from hundreds of years ago, which still has a place in the modern warehouse. Read on for a brief history of the box trolley.

The beginning

Hand trucks were invented in the 1700s. At that time, children were employed unloading ships, but they did not have enough muscle strength to lift heavy items. Rather than sending children to school and only employing adults, the L-shaped platform with two wheels on the bottom was invented. This could be tilted backwards to move heavy sacks around by children.

Later, a flat platform with four wheels and sides was produced, which could carry several items at a time and is similar to a modern box trolley.

The modern box trolley

A late 19th-century heavy-duty box trolley made from wood and metal was recently offered for sale by a dealer specialising in antique industrial artefacts. The trolley can still be used today to move small items, but is it doubtful that the new owner would risk damaging this fragile trolley by heavy use.

The basic design of this box trolley, a platform on wheels supporting a box shape, is seen in present-day box trolleys designed by Steely Products. The main difference in design is the materials that the trolleys are made of. Instead of wood and iron, our trolleys are made from tubular steel, with plastic removable tote boxes. When Steely started in 1970, many trolleys were still made from wood. We prefer tubular steel, however, as it is strong, lightweight and durable.

The wood in the box trolley from the late 19th century shows signs of wear, looking worn and rotting in places. We powder coat tubular steel to protect it from rust and corrosion, and our trolleys are made to last a very long time.

Why use box trolleys?

Box trolleys are made using historic design principles. Modern warehouses use advanced digital technology, including bar code readers, item location-finding systems, warehouse management software and artificial intelligence

Warehouses that have advanced automation technology still rely on human workers to do the bulk of picking and packing. Humans are better than robot arms at finding and picking up small items and placing them in tote boxes on trolleys. Automated systems are great at planning picking routes, guiding pickers to item locations. Humans scan bar codes so that management systems can confirm and record that the correct item has been picked.

In modern warehouses, pickers with box trolleys work in partnership with digital technology to make picking and packing quicker and more accurate.

Not one box trolley fits all

At Steely Products, we recognise that not all warehouses are the same – their equipment needs vary. This is why we created our bespoke service. We can design a box trolley for your unique business. We take a standard box trolley design and change it, modifying its size and adding extras such as a tablet holder.

Start a conversation

To start a conversional about box trolleys and how they can benefit your organisation, give us a call or enter your details in the handy contact form below.

Get a free quote
k bulk pick trolley e1576583605994

    Please fill in the form below to get in touch.

    * - required