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Remembering A Scissor Lift Pioneer

Remembering A Scissor Lift Pioneer

In an era of plant machinery that has seen a rapid evolution of the size, scope and versatility of the electric scissor lift, it is worth taking time to remember one of the most important pioneers to make it happen who passed away on 6th April 2023.

Whilst not the first person to conceive of a scissor lift design, John W. Parker (1935-2023) was the first to create a self-propelled scissor lift platform, developed a design that has become standard within the industry, although due to the way the industry evolved, the credit he receives is somewhat muddled.

Born in 1935, Mr Parker’s career started out in machine rentals in greater Los Angeles in 1966, right at a fascinating time in industrial lift history.

The company that Mr Parker had just joined had agreed to a deal to sell a pioneering boom lift to the industrial market, with Mr Parker’s first job to see if anyone would buy them.

This gave him a remarkable level of control to loan them out and find out what customers wanted, and not only found success but a potential new idea to convert an old SkyWitch scissor lift into a self-propelled lifting machine, arguably the very first powered scissor lift ever made.

Eventually, after moving between his original rental firm A1 Machinery Rental and manufacturer Selma Trailer (Who also traded as Manlift International), Mr Parker formed Mark Industries to create the first Parkerlifts, setting the template for scissor lifts to come.

Eventually, this would turn into John W Parker and Associates and become a major international firm by the mid-1980s. However, disagreements between himself and co-owner Nick Hunt led to a split and a bitter rivalry in the industry.

Ultimately, Mr Parker continued to work in the industry and champion the use of scissor lifts until his retirement in 1996, deserving more credit for his achievements than he ultimately received.