WT Skip Hire

Who Invented the Skip?

Posted on: February 3, 2017

Painted WT Skip Hire skip
During one episode of I’m Alan Partridge, the central character - a radio host played by comedian Steve Coogan - asks listeners to his radio show to phone in with the answer to the question “Who invented the Skip?” His question-of-the-day never gets answered because all the listeners are calling up to complain. So, who did invent the skip?  

Mining Origins

Transporting rubble, rocks and ore has long been a problem for miners. Pit ponies - specially bred small horses - were used to haul baskets of debris out of the deep underground mines. The baskets of rocks were loaded onto trolleys that could be pulled by the ponies. One dialect word for a basket is a ‘skep’ - the word is still used for a type of basketwork beehive - this seems to be the origin of our modern word: skip.

The Invention of the Modern Skip

The modern skip - a large container that enables the storage of unwanted items and can be transported on the back of a lorry - was invented in the UK by Edwin Walker in 1922. He was an employee of a lorry manufacturer and keen to develop a system of bulk disposal that was less reliant on the horse and cart of the traditional rag-and-bone man. The lorry transportable skip was his solution and it quickly caught on.

American Innovations

Americans call a skip a dumpster - this was originally a trade name of a specific brand of skip: the Dempster-Dumpster. The Dempster-Dumpster was invented by the Dempster brothers and was the first kind of small skip to be designed to be picked up mechanically and emptied into a large garbage truck. 

In less than a century, the usefulness of the skip has seen their numbers multiply exponentially. A skip is the perfect solution for bulk disposal of waste and they are less expensive to hire than you may think.

At WT Skip Hire, we supply skips for commercial, industrial and domestic use. To find out more call our office on 01493 668118 or email info@wtskiphire.co.uk

What are your earliest skip memories? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.