Things were a lot harder for kids in the olden days. When babies cried too much, they were given mercury and opiates; when kids got sick, they'd often get the same—and when a blizzard hit, kids of the early 1900s would pray for that sweet quicksilver cocktail or uncontrolled school bus drifting over having to cower in fear as the Winther rotary snowplow truck came past their homes.
Rotary snowplows are contraptions designed to clear a path through the most severe snowstorms nature can throw at mankind. The one you see above was built by the short-lived automaker Winther, based out of Wisconsin, where they get the kind of weather this thing was made to handle on a not-irregular basis. Little is known of these obscure municipal vehicles of which none are known to still exist, though a short article on The Old Motor that cites the Wisconsin Historical Society gives us a little background on these motorized terrors.
During its reported 11 years in operation, spanning December of 1916 to the summer of 1927, Winther produced a range of both automobiles and trucks, the latter of which was available in both rear- and four-wheel drive, and in weight classes ranging from one to seven tons. At least one of the heavier trucks was converted into a rotary snowplow, with two separate engines powering the drive wheels and blade. Though we haven't found any information on the engine that propelled the truck, the engine turning the blade is thought to be a gargantuan 17.9-liter Wisconsin T-head inline-six
If you're anything like us, you're wondering what this thing looked like in action. Though it seems there's no surviving footage of the Winther rotary snowplow on the move, some of its distant, rail-bound cousins are still called into service when deep snows halt railroad operations. Plenty of HD footage of those can be found on the internet, and we've embedded a video of one chewing through compacted drifts that look to be more than 10 feet deep below.
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