Thanks. I finally went and looked at a Walter T Kelly single hive loader that was installed by Kelly in the early to mid 50's. It's on a 46-48 Chevy 1 ton. That's about a 3 ton today. Looked like they moved the bed back 1' and the uprights are between the bed and cab. Boom extended beyond the rear of the bed. The hive grasping mechanism was gone, rusted away. It electrically lifted the hives from anywhere 360 degrees and brought them back along the boom and set them wherever you wanted on the truck bed.
"Is this a truck you have bought??"
NO. It belongs to friend of mine, John Gamble. His daddy was beekeeper from Penn. Moved to Fl. Eventually just made short runs to Ga. John stayed in beekeeping after his daddy died til about 1981 or so. He had an auto repair shop and built circle track race cars. Now he just builds and sells the race chassis.
John told me it was a shame cause he drove the truck up and parked it where it's setting now. Years later.
I'll get back up there and get some pictures.
Tec "I seem to recall the hive grasping mechanism didn't slide under the hives but kind of worked on a scissor mechanism to grasp the hives at the hand holds."
That's kinda how John described it to me. I know he said it used the hand holds.
Hey rast, how old are you? How big and strong are you too? How heavy are your hives? Are they two story hives?
The reason I ask is, before I got a Bobcat Skid Steer Loader, I loaded my Dodge flat bed w/ 60 colonies by hand and by myself to either take them to the orchards in the spring or take them south in the fall and north in the spring. Pollinated w/ about 240 colonies at that time. So that would be 4 loads.
Here's how I did it. Real simple. Staple the bottom board to the bottom deep. Then the two deeps to each other. And use a migratory cover nailed on. Just a piece of plywood the same size as the super.
Stand beside the hive, w/ longside in front of you. Bend over and grab the hand holds. Press your chest down onto the cover, bend your legs and pick it up. Placing the bottom board on the deck of your truck. Do that w/ a number of colonies and then get up onto the deck and double stack them in rows across the truck.
I know a guy who has a motorized hive lifter. I have mostly, years ago, seen it used to load honey. He has a long aluminum ramp too. But you can use it to load a flatbed.
I don't recall which forum I saw it on, probably beesource, can IO say beesource on this forum?, I saw a video of a commercial operation and they were loading semis w/ a motorized hand cart. Three two story colonies tall. Unless it was four. Not sure.
One manufacture of the motorized hive lifter was called a Fisher hive loader. at one time prior to old Jim Fisher being tossed from BS (<sounds about right) I wanted to ask Jim if perhaps his family was somehow involved in that contraption. I never saw one of these in use, but they look to be extremely simple.
this contraption looks a bit like a Georgia Buggy (a motorized wheel barrow used in concrete laying) with a small mast instead of a dump wagon.
2 Pieces of rebar bent into a digital C shape (square C), make sure the back of the C is taller than the tallest hive you'll load with it. Weld the 2 pieces of rebar together at the top and at the bottom-back corner separate them with another piece of straight rebar that is the same length as the hive is wide. Now the bottom bars should be able to slide under hand-rails of the bottom hive body and you can staple the bottom board to the bottom hive body to keep it all together. Weld a ring onto the top of the C at the point of balance to attach to the lift cable and you'll have yourself a lifting mechanism.
PS - I have not done this, so I can't guarantee that the rebar wouldn't bend out of shape with a heavy hive... possibly causing the hive to fall. But off the top of my head I couldn't think of anything stronger than rebar that's in the same size range.