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The Little Stowaways!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recently I was reminded of an incident that occurred many years ago when the Tennant Model 265 Sweeper was discussed with a customer.

First let me give a little history regarding the Model 265. This was Tennant’s first sweeper using hydraulics throughout the machine. An example would be the main broom. In previous sweepers the main broom operated using v-belts and pulleys. Needless to say, an owner used a lot of v-belts. Another advantage was the power unit. Tennant used the four-cylinder Ford Industrial engine with a full 47 horse power. This replaced a multitude of two cylinder engines that was used. These were, from my recollection, Kohler, Wisconsin and Onan. There was one more engine they used, but the name escapes me. You folks e-mail me if any one remembers.

Getting back to this model, the Tennant 265 Sweeper was also available in two versions:
#1 The high-dump hopper or #2 The low-dump hopper.

The high-dump did exactly what it was called. It would dump the debris into a dumpster for easy removal. The low-dump was a little cruder. The operator dumped the hopper debris somewhere outside of the building.

Once this was done, he would clean the pile and put it into the dumpster. Many people simply would find an area away from the building and leave it there. Of course you couldn’t do that today without some agency wanting to test the debris.

Getting back to my main story, I used to rebuild many of these sweepers. They became very hard to find so much so that when I found a Tennant 265 I would buy it sight unseen. As long as the machine was complete. We were completely rebuilding them anyway, so condition usually was not a problem.

One day a truck was delivering three machines I purchased. I was aware two of the machines were in pretty good condition but the third had been sitting outside for a while and in rough condition. I bought it anyway thinking the worse case scenario would be to dismantle it for parts.

Well, when we started unloading these at our dock I kept hearing a loud pitch scream and hissing sound. Once unloaded we heard something moving in the hopper of the sweeper. There was a large hole and they ran out of the hole. Scared everyone half-to-death. It was a mother opossum and her babies. They had made a nest inside the old hopper. I guess they were just as startled as we were.

From then on I always called them my little stowaways.

Thanks for reading. You can always e-mail me a

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