History of Crushers

It’s safe to say that mining has helped human civilization progress to what it is today. It fueled early civilizations, and without coal, the Industrial Revolution might never have happened. Potentially, our lifestyle could be hundreds of years behind what it is today if humans had not engaged in mining. If you think of all the wonderful ores, minerals, and gems we get from what Mother Nature has produced — gold, silver, copper, mercury, emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds — our world would be a lot less beautiful. Thanks to coal, natural gas, and petroleum, we are able to have warm homes on cold nights with little effort, cars that take us to see our family on the holidays and planes that take us around the world, and thousands of everyday products, such as crayons, that use these mined minerals.

Since humans needed more and more of these products, methods and machinery were innovated in order to make procuring them much faster. One of these inventions was the crusher, a machine that takes huge pieces of rock and breaks them up into smaller, more management pieces that then can be processed even further.

Wagner Equipment Co offers the best crushing and screening equipment from some of the leading companies in the industry, including Metso and McCloskey. We are proud to partner with these wonderful companies in order to bring you the best crushers and screeners, as well as trommels, conveyors, and more. Since 1976, we’ve been serving our customers in Colorado, New Mexico, and far west Texas with the best new and used heavy equipment, as well as rental equipment. We adhere to our core values in order to ensure our customers’ every need is taken care of. Below, we’ll take a brief look at one of the most useful inventions for mining, construction, waste management and more: the crusher. Contact one of our Cat dealers to get started today!

What is a Crusher?

Like its name implies, a crusher’s job is to take raw materials and break them down either into more manageable pieces that then can be processed further or into something that can be sold right away. Many industries today use crushers, in particular, the mining, mineral processing, recycling, constructing, road building, and agriculture.

How Does a Crusher Work?

There are different types of crushers that are designed for specific purposes or sometimes for specific materials. However, in general, crushers use plates or jaws set in a container. When the raw materials to be processed are placed in the crusher, these close or come together. The force of the machine breaks up the materials and then passes them on, often through a screener, to be processed further.

How Did Crushers Begin?

As you can imagine, if you were using simple hand tools, such as pick axes, to break up stone, coal, minerals, and other ores into more management pieces, this is going to take a long time and a lot of manpower. For thousands of years, civilizations had been using this method, that albeit worked, was tedious and slow. As society grew, the demand for these raw materials grew. As machinery and the Industrial Revolution progressed, the need for a mechanical crusher was realized.

In 1830, the first US patent was issued for a rock crusher, using the idea of a drop hammer. In 1840, another patent was issued that featured a machine that used a drum and a box, as well as hammers, to crush rock. However, it is believed that none of these were actually manufactured. Thus, it wasn’t until Eli Whitney Blake created his rock crusher in 1858 that this machine’s benefits were finally realized. This was the first jaw crusher.


In 1881, the first modern gyratory crusher was invented and patented by Philetus W. Gates. These crushers were hugely popular and were sold all over the world. At this time, extraction of the raw materials from the earth was still largely done by hand with the crushers then doing their job. Thus, you will see that the size of crushers began to increase in order to do more work faster than extracting machines. The real game changer in mining was the invention of the steam shovel, which was the precursor to modern-day excavators that are employed to move huge amounts of raw materials.


Crushers, especially the jaw crusher and the gyratory crusher, have seen innovations in the last 100 years, but the foundational way they operate has not changed. A double toggle jaw crusher is popular in the mining world, which operates much the same as it used to. There are four classes of crushers, with primary and secondary crushers handling the larger material and then tertiary and quaternary crushers responsible for breaking up the rocks, ores, and minerals into smaller and smaller bits for a particular purpose. Crushers can be small and moved around as well.

Watching a mining operation is most definitely a sight to behold and something you should see. It’s a marvel of modern technology that is genius to say the least. Excavators will remove the raw material from the earth, usually after blasting. They will transport this material to a crusher or a series of crushers. Some use a conveyor belt for the crusher. Then the raw material goes through a screen, which separates out the parts for end use.


Wagner Equipment Co is proud to help companies continue to make society great and our lives easier. The roads you drive on every day, the heat you experience in your homes, the recycled plastic you are drinking from, the beautiful engagement ring you are about to give, and even the salt from your kitchen table most likely passed through a crusher and then a screener. It’s hard to find anything these days that has not been processed in some way.

Our crushing and screening partners, including Metso and McCloskey, offer some of the best material processing equipment for your needs. We at Wagner Equipment Co can help you decide which will work for your needs. Our experienced staff can answer all of your questions and explain processes to you, including our financing options. We strive hard to ensure your every need is met.

Wagner Equipment Co has many Cat dealers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, and far west Texas to better serve your needs. This allows for easy access no matter where you are. Each of our Cat dealers has a Cat Parts Store, a service center, and, of course, the best new and used heavy equipment, including rental equipment. We offer power systems for when you need to be off the grid and for backup purposes, as well as fluid analysis to help diagnose the condition of your heavy equipment. Our Wagner Parts Exchange allows you to exchange your parts for refurbished ones, saving you time and money. Plus, you can shop online, pay your bill online, and more. No matter if you need a dozer for grading, a tiller for summer planting, or a backhoe for some trenching, we’ve got your needs covered. Reach out to our team to learn more today!