Slinger body can precisely place soil, mulch and gravel. The faster its conveyor runs, the farther the product goes.
 - Screenshots via Jones Topsoil on YouTube

Slinger body can precisely place soil, mulch and gravel. The faster its conveyor runs, the farther the product goes.

Screenshots via Jones Topsoil on YouTube

During the Spring planting season, when folks with green thumbs are looking to buy supplies, the TV watchers among them are regularly reminded that special delivery of soil and mulch is available from a local company. That’s Jones Top Soil, based in Columbus and operating throughout central Ohio.

Jones also sells and hauls sand, gravel and limestone products, so of course runs a large fleet of dump trucks. But for the flower-bed trade, it has a group of slinger-body trucks. Slingers have hopper-shaped beds that feed product onto conveyor belts that, when run at varying speeds, throw loads exactly where customers want them.

Slingers are fun to watch and save a lot of work. I know, because about a dozen years ago I ordered a load of rock to form shoulders on my driveway. I could’ve saved a hundred bucks or so by having a few tons dropped on the asphalt, but that would’ve meant hours of shoveling and wheel-barrowing up and down the 85-foot-long driveway.

Instead, the slinger driver precisely placed the half- to three-quarter-inch stones on the long, narrow dirt paths that I had prepared with a roto-tiller. All I had to do afterwards was rake the newly graveled shoulders smooth.

It’s like that with beds for flowers and shrubs, which many property owners like to cover with mulch. Ground from tree limbs and branches, mixed with some soil,  and dyed any of several colors, mulch looks good and retards weed growth. Jones sells thousands of tons a year and delivers much of it with its slinger trucks.

Some time ago it commissioned TV commercials to promote delivery by slinger truck, and runs them every spring and into the summer.  One catchy 30-second video crams in several themes, such as the annual “battle” for the best-looking yard, and features a “hero,” "Slinger Jones," a cartoon cowboy.

“Slinger Jones, my hero,” the heart-struck lady customer (we presume) proclaims, because he’s saved her a lot of work.
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“Slinger Jones, my hero,” the heart-struck lady customer (we presume) proclaims, because he’s saved her a lot of work.

To the tune of the refrain from an old pop tune, “Sixteen Tons,” the Slinger sings, “Jones Top Soil brings it home to you.” The commercial’s on YouTube. Another version depicts a “middle-aged man” getting a back massage after handlng heavy bags of mulch or dirt.  The cure: Call Jones Top Soil.

A few seconds showing a slinger truck in action nicely illustrates how it works. It also shows one of its multi-axle chassis. This one looks like a Sterling, a long-discontinued brand that once dominated the Jones fleet. They are being replaced by Western Stars, but that’s another story.

By the way, Jones Fuel Co. is the firm’s corporate name, dating to 1924, when it sold coal for heating. Coal’s long gone, but top soil’s strong.


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Author

Tom Berg
Tom Berg

Tom Berg

Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

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Journalist since 1965, truck writer and editor since 1978. CDL-qualified; conducts road tests on new heavy-, medium- and light-duty tractors and trucks. Specializes in vocational and hybrid vehicles.

View Bio
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