The Fresno Scraper

The Fresno Scraper: A Great Leap Forward

James Porteous emigrated from Scotland to Fresno California, and immediately saw the need for a better earth-moving device to built canals in the Central Valley. He invented four generations of scrapers, each better than the last, until he hit upon the final design of his Fresno Scraper.

Fresnos were used across the West and around the world to build canals, ditches, roads, railroads, dams and reservoirs. They were the forerunner of modern earth-moving equipment, and transformed the back-breaking labor of earth-moving.

Right, top: The Fresno Scraper.  Courtesy of American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Right, bottom: The Fresno was used in Boulder to build Community Canal (pictured), to improve and extend other Boulder ditches, and to build many reservoirs.  Photo courtesy of the Carnegie Branch library for Local History, Boulder CO.

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