A backhoe loader, also called a loader backhoe, digger in layman's terms, or colloquially shortened to backhoe within the industry, is a heavy equipment vehicle that consists of a tractor like unit fitted with a shovel/bucket on the front and a small backhoe on the back. Due to its (relatively) small size and versatility, backhoe loaders are very common in urban engineering and small construction projects (such as building a small house, fixing urban roads, etc.) as well as developing countries. This type of machine is similar to and derived from what is now known as a TLB (Tractor-Loader-Backhoe), which is to say, an agricultural tractor fitted with a front loader and rear backhoe attachment.
The backhoe loader was invented in the UK in 1953 by Joseph Cyril Bamford, founder of J. C. Bamford (JCB), by equipping a farm tractor with both a rear mounted backhoe and a front-mounted loading bucket. Although based on a tractor, a backhoe loader was and is almost never called a tractor when both the loader and the backhoe are permanently attached. Backhoe loaders are also not generally used for towing and usually do not have a power take-off (PTO) as often this is used to drive the hydraulic pump operating the attachments. When the backhoe is permanently attached, the machine usually has a seat that can swivel to the rear to face the hoe controls. Removable backhoe attachments almost always have a separate seat on the attachment itself.
In Britain, Ireland and India they are commonly referred to simply as JCBs due to the company being the inventor and major supplier. In the United States, they are often referred to as "Backhoes", although the term 'backhoe' only refers to one component. In Russia they are referred as excavator - loader
In 1970, Hy-Dynamic now a division of Bucyrus-Erie, manufacturer of the Dynahoe was the first company to incorporate a four wheel drive system into their backhoe loaders, allowing these models to go over almost any terrain with little difficulty. Since the backhoe was invented, several companies such as Caterpillar and John Deere have changed the backhoe's back arm to be slightly curved as per an excavator, which can allow more maneuverability.
The Story of JCB is a unique and permanent £5m state-of-the-art exhibition covering 2,500m² of floorspace at our World HQ in Rocester, Staffordshire. This experience centre takes you on a journey through time to chart the company’s remarkable history from the Bamford family’s industrial roots in the 1820s, through the formation of JCB in the 1940s, to the present day’s position as one of the world’s leading construction and agricultural machinery manufacturers.