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boom lifts cherry pickers on a yard
boom lifts cherry pickers on a yard
Where Did the Name "Cherry Picker" Come From?
6 Minute Read
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Tim Forestell
September 30, 2021

Where Did the Name "Cherry Picker" Come From?

Cherry pickers are also known as boom lifts. They are one of the most useful aerial work platforms available. This type of aerial lift differs from a scissor lift because it helps work on rough terrain, in confined spaces or even for jobs fixing power lines. 

boom lift cherry pickers on a construction site

If this piece of equipment is called a boom lift, telescopic boom lift, or articulating boom then where did it get the nickname “cherry picker” from? 

What is a Cherry Picker Lift?

Cherry Pickers are a piece of machinery that can be easily identified by their elevating work platforms, hydraulic lift, and long, extendable arm used to reach higher elevated areas. These machines are versatile as they can be used as a man lift for working in awkward, hard-to-reach areas or even transporting building materials from the ground to a higher surface. 

Why is a Boom Lift Called a Cherry Picker?

Boom lifts are well known today as being called a cherry picker due to the history of the name being created by Walter Thornton-Trump. This Canadian orchard worker needed a piece of equipment to help him safely reach new heights when picking fruit. In order to feel safe while completing his job Thornton-Trump attached a bucket to the end of a hydraulic arm and this is when the very popular piece of equipment today was created. Boom lifts were called cherry pickers back in the day because they were literally used for picking cherries in fruit orchards. Today they are called multiple things which will be explained below

boom lift cherry pickers and scissor lifts in storage on a construction site

Why are Booms Still Called Cherry Pickers Today?

If you work in the lift rental industry you have definitely heard a boom be called a cherry picker. This nickname is still used today because much like the past, booms are used to give the user exceptional maneuverability in tight areas. In the 50’s booms were used to move around trees where branches did not grow in a set pattern and this is still the case today. Sometimes the nickname can be used due to the fact that construction workers love to use nicknames within the industry. It’s not just booms that have nicknames but telehandlers, excavators do too! The simplicity of using a nickname like cherry picker instead of “articulating boom lift” makes it easy on construction workers to describe the equipment they need, making nicknames so prevalent today. 

Before we look more into what exactly this lift is, let's take a look at the history of the machine. 

Boom Lift History

Boom lifts are said to be created by Walter Thornton-Trump in 1951. He wanted to create a piece of equipment that could be used to work in higher areas. The original name he gave this machine was the “Giraffe” because it had a long arm much like a giraffe’s neck. 

old boom lift cherry picker with a giraffe head on it
Oliver’s Ted Thornton-Trump, circa 1952, getting a view from above on his invention, the giraffe, as they cruised down the street in the Penticton Peach Festival parade. His invention, now known as a cherry-picker, changed the world. Image borrowed from the Vernon Morning Star.

By 1958 these booms began to be attached to fire trucks to help reach fires at high altitudes, and soon this piece of machinery began to become a staple for usage within the industry. No matter where you went you can see a boom lift being used for painting high-rise buildings, placing advertisements on billboards, and moving work materials from the ground up, this machine can truly do it all! 

Uses of Boom Lift: Past and Present

In the past, booms were used for picking fruit, putting out fires and working at heights in areas like power lines. Today, with the various boom lift features, this machine can be used for all these things and more. Painting, placing billboards, moving materials to higher platforms, cutting down trees and allowing firefighters to access areas in emergencies are all done with the help of a boom lift “cherry picker”.

The Importance of the Cherry Picker in Construction

With a little bit of history covered, we can better understand the importance of the cherry picker within the construction industry. 

Cherry picker lifts have allowed workers to work at different heights while feeling safe and secure. The railed aerial platform attached to the hydraulic crane allows workers to reach tough areas safely because they are protected from falling by the railing and platform. This is especially true when paired with safety equipment and PPE like hard hats and harnesses. 

Cherry pickers give construction workers access to tough areas with the use of the hydraulic arm to extend out to wherever is needed.  The hydraulic arm makes tough work easy by allowing the worker to reach into tight spaces. The small basket and arm that are attached to the boom lift can be easily maneuvered, unlike scissor lifts which carry big platforms that only go up and down. 

In order to operate a boom lift cherry picker safety courses must be taken to prevent any chance of hurting yourself. This can be done through various training programs that differ in North America such as Ontario, Canada’s OHSA training that specializes in training for aerial platform work. If not properly trained using a cherry picker lift can be dangerous therefore it is quite important to learn safe operation techniques, how to move the machine, and how to avoid hazards. 

Renting a Cherry Picker

hand of a person operating a boom lift on a construction site

Finding a boom lift rental on DOZR is easy, but finding the specific type of boom, and size can be tough as these are things that need to be considered. This can include what type of boom: articulating or straight? How high do you need to go? And what kind of terrain will you be working on, indoors (cement) or outdoors (grass, asphalt, or rough terrain like dirt/gravel). All these factors need to be considered when choosing what cherry picker you need for the job. 

Luckily DOZR is there to help, we have a vast inventory of booms to choose from no matter where you are located in North America. DOZR offers both types whether you need an articulating or straight boom lift in a wide variety of sizes. Renting a cherry picker is easy using DOZR. Start a search today or call DOZR and one of our trained sales specialists will help you get the right boom for the job

Cherry Pickers and Boom Lifts

Cherry pickers, boom lifts, aerial work platforms whatever you prefer to call them are one of the most useful pieces of equipment for any project. Working at heights? This is the equipment you need. Cherry pickers and booms allow any type of work to be completed in tight, tough, or rough environments. Originally used for picking fruit, boom lifts are now one of the most versatile machines in the industry. They’re the machine you need to get the job done.

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Tim Forestell
Tim Forestell is one of DOZR’s co-founders and CCO. Tim got started in the industry as VP Operations for Forestell Landscaping before founding DOZR with Kevin and Erin. Aside from the amazing team at DOZR, his favourite thing about DOZR are the customers. Working with DOZR renters every day gives him a peek at the evolution of different projects and hearing stories about projects being developed from start to finish.
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