We have received the sad news that access industry veteran Art Moore who co-founded crane and boom truck manufacturer Pitman and then founded Snorkel aerial work platforms passed away on Wednesday June 19th, he would have been 95 next month.
Born in Abilene, Texas, he moved with his mother to St Joseph, Missouri when he was seven, after his parents were divorced, in 1933 he started a new school and where he met crane and boom truck pioneer Ray Pitman. After joining the Naval Air Corps during the second world war, after the war he took up the opportunity presented by the GI bill for veterans to attend the university of Kanas. In 1950 after he joined Pitman to found Pitman Manufacturing to develop the Hydra-Lift crane/boom truck that Pitman had conceived to help in his contracting business.
The two did surprisingly well, in 1952 when looking to develop a longer boom for their boom trucks, they came across a trailer mounted aerial lift designed by Canadian Ted Trump - the IG-40 Orchard Giraffe - designed to pick apples. The two looked to license the product, and also to build units for Trump to sell. At the same time Simon Lift from the UK became involved in the negotiations and acquired the overseas rights, with Pitman acquiring the North American rights and also building the first kits for Simon.
In addition to utility work the Giraffe was used for aircraft de-icing applications by the military, and a larger truck mounted version was introduced. In 1958 a 50ft Giraffe was modified by the Pitman dealer in Chicago for fighting fires and was nicknamed the Snorkel. At this point Moore , who had a small minority stake in the Pitman business, registered the Snorkel brand name and then left the company to establish the Snorkel Fire Equipment Company to sell the firefighting units, which continued to be manufactured by Pitman.
In 1971 Moore sold Snorkel to Harry Figgie's ATO company, remaining on board to manage the business as part of Figgie. In 1977 they decided to enter the budding self-propelled aerial work platform market, launching their first model, the TB-42 telescopic boom lift in 1979. In 1988 Figgie acquired market leading scissor lift manufacturer Economy Engineering, incorporating it into Snorkel. Moore eventually retired in 1991, although he rarely seemed far away from the industry. Moore’s many industry contributions have been recognised with numerous honours including IPAF’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, and induction into the American Rental Association’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
Moore returned to the Snorkel board of directors in 2013, after the company was acquired by Don Ahern, and continued to work with the company. He is survived by wife, Sue and daughter Melissa Moore and several grandchildren.
Snorkel owner Don Ahern said: “For many years, Art Moore was a mentor to myself and others in the early years of the access rental and dealership business, and he ultimately became a close friend. He will be a great miss to Snorkel and the wider industry, and I send my sincere condolences to Sue and family at this difficult time. Art's legacy extends beyond his outstanding achievements in the access industry. He lived for adventure, traveling around the globe, and never shying away from adrenaline with friends and family by his side.”
Visitation will be held on Thursday, June 27th from 19:00 to 20:30 at Meierhoffer Funeral Home in St. Joseph, Missouri. A service will be held on Friday, June 28th at 10:00 followed by a burial in the Memorial Lawn. A celebration of his life will take place at Snorkel’s Elwood, Kansas facility at Noon on Friday, June 28th.