What’s the oldest working trailer you know of? I found this one, a 1966 Easton side dump, for sale in the trader-magazine version of AuctionTime.com. Its age grabbed my attention so I called Pate Auction Service, in Helena, Mont., the firm handling the sale.
Lots of steel went into this ’66 Easton side-dump trailer that just sold on-line for $2,500. The internet has changed how auctioneers do business, but Dan Pate of Pate Auction Service still prefers to personally inspect equipment.
Dan Pate, a vice president, picked up the phone and we began chatting. He said the tri-axle trailer is 48 feet long, more than half of it frame, fenders and axles, and has a 19-foot box that’s tipped by hydraulic cylinders. It can carry dirt, gravel and other materials to job sites. Side dumps have become popular in recent years and obviously the concept is not new.
The builder’s plate says it was assembled by Easton Car & Construction Co. in Easton, Pa. An online search indicated the company began in 1913 and went out of business sometime in the ‘60s. This trailer’s existence tells us that it was 1966 or later.
The loaded trailer and a tractor would probably gross 85,000 to 90,000 pounds in Great Plains states, Pate said. It’s in working order, and bidding on it went to $2,500 when it closed at 10:11 a.m. Central time on Wednesday.
The trailer sits in Belfield, in west-central North Dakota, near all the oil field activity, Pate said. You might think that he can just sit over in Helena and do everything virtually, but no – he wants to see and touch what he sells.
Easton Car & Construction Co. built the trailer. The company was in Pennsylvania, and went out of business sometime in the 1960s, according to info found on the Net.
“We have our reputation to uphold,” he said. “I physically see 98% of everything. If I can’t tell somebody what I know about something, I don’t like it.” That means a lot of traveling, mostly by car. On a recent inspection trip he covered 3,800 miles in two weeks. He also flies when he must.
“We are a family business that started in 1966,” the same year that trailer was built, Dan Pate said. “My dad, Tex, and my mom, Yvonne, stared the company. My brother Doug and I bought the business 14 years ago and we all still work together. The folks have slowed down a lot since we are doing so much on the internet now. It's time they enjoy life.”
The internet has changed the lives of auctioneers. Pate no longer needs a yard to store the firm’s active inventory, because everything can remain on sellers’ premises.
“We used to do live auctions but this has replaced a lot of that,” he said. “We still do equipment sales, just a few a year, now. Everything’s going on line – utility, energy, construction companies. It’s just blossomed – boomed, you could say.”
What’s the oldest trailer he’s ever sold?
“I think it was a horse-drawn wood belly dump gravel trailer, about nine years ago, Pate recalled. “It was probably made in the late 1800s. It was pulled by four horses, at least, and maybe six. It depended on where it was and what it was doing – on the level, in hills -- and what it was hauling.”