The history of the skip is perhaps older than you think and the transformation from old coal mining ‘skeps’ to today’s is a long process. This blog aims to provide insight into who created skips and how the word first came about.
The Etymology of the Word ‘Skip’
Though the word ‘skip’ is most frequently used in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, it is actually derived from ‘skep’ and, before that, ‘skeppa’, an Old Norse word meaning ‘basket’. The name ‘skip’ is therefore quite appropriate, as both baskets and skips hold goods – though, of course, the latter does so on a much larger scale.
Skeps, otherwise referred to as coal baskets, were used by coal miners to store the coal they gathered. Larger metal containers were built to sustain the levels of coal output as mining operations increased. Given the similarities between the coal mining carts and modern metal skips, it is a likely theory that skips did evolve from skeps – both etymologically and literally.
Who Invented the Builder’s Skip?
A container resembling a modern skip initially appeared in Southport in the early 1920s, when horse-drawn rubbish carts were used to dispose of household waste. The Pagefield System was created in 1922 after a meeting between an engineer from Southport’s borough and Edwin Walker, an employee of the truck manufacturing business Pagefield. It made use of 300ft3 horse-drawn containers, which could be loaded onto a Pagefield truck and driven to the closest landfill once full. These were some of the first commercial skips for hire.
The Dempster Brothers Skip Hire
In the 1950s The Dempster brothers invented a front-loading waste vehicle known as the Dempster-Dumper. The device automatically emptied standardised metal containers and featured front arms that could pick up a skip and tip it into the hopper by lifting it over the cab. When the vehicle was being emptied, a rearward-moving compacting panel was utilised to drive the compressed waste out through a door at the back. You can learn more about the brothers here! These types of skips are more similar to the recognisable yellow skips we have today.
1960s Commercial Skip Hire
The first metal skips were brought into the United States from Germany in the 1960s by a London-based business called George Cross & Co. However according to the Guardian, in Reading metal skips were being used long before his. They made it possible to safely store construction debris and were also put to use by the general population for home purposes. In contrast to today, when skip companies are able to provide a variety of skip sizes, they only came in one size, which was around 5 or 6 cubic yards.
At Batesy Skip Hire We Supply High Quality Skips
We pride ourselves on the exceptional quality of our skips alongside our flawlessly reliable service. Not only do we offer a great service, we also offer different skip sizes and types to suit your individual needs. The sizes and types include the 4 tonne midi skip, the 5.5 tonne midi skip, builders skip, bulker skip, 3ft roll on/off and the 6ft roll on/off. If you are unsure of the skip size your project requires, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’ll be happy to answer any questions.