What is a Snowblower?

Garry Crystal

A snowblower is a motorized machine that takes the backbreaking work out of clearing large areas of snow. They are indispensable for clearing snow from areas where traffic is heavy. Roads, train lines and airport runways, as well as sidewalks, driveways, parking lots and have the snowblower to thank for keeping traffic moving.

Clearing snow with a shovel is an alternative to using a snowblower.
Clearing snow with a shovel is an alternative to using a snowblower.

The snowblower was invented in 1925. A Canadian inventor named Arthur Sicard made his first snowblower sale with the Sicard Snow Remover Snowblower model. His machine consisted of what was basically a truck with two adjustable snowblower chutes and a motor. The snow could be sucked up and thrown over 90 feet away or blown into the back of the truck.

A two-stage snowblower can clear large areas, such as driveways and sidewalks.
A two-stage snowblower can clear large areas, such as driveways and sidewalks.

The machine became even more popular when the domestic snowblower was introduced in 1951. Soft and hard packed snow could be directed away from the truck or stored in the back until it could be dumped. These later machines made great improvements on the snowplow, which could only push the snow into the side of the road.

The snowblower comes in two types of design. The single stage snowblowers are usually lightweight and more compact. They are excellent at getting into tight corners and small spaces. The single stage snowblower has one tool that can both lift the snow and then throw it. The blades of this type of blower will cut out sections of the snow and push it back towards the chute. It will then be blown through the chute behind the machine.

The dual or two stage blower can be much larger. It will be able to move snow over very rough terrain. The dual stage has a ridged blade for cutting through hard snow and even ice. It also has another blade that lifts the snow into the chute. The amount of snow that can be moved depends on the size of the blower. The largest blower is capable of moving two tons of snow per minute. They are also capable of throwing the snow almost 50 feet (15.24 meters).

The snowblower is compulsory item of machinery for most northern territories. Areas that experience severe weather conditions have cause to keep them on standby for most of the year. Without them many roads and towns would come to a complete standstill during the long winter months.

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Discussion Comments


You might just want to consider having the driveway plowed. It might be a little more expensive than having a snow blower, but it will save you the aggravation of clearing snow before work, and finding a place to store equipment. If this is unaffordable, you can put an ad in the paper for someone to come and hand shovel or snowblow your driveway. In my town, there are plenty of entrepreneurial high school kids with small snowblowers and shovels who will clear a driveway for much less than the plow truck. They do not get to your home as early, and they are not always as reliable, but they can be a good resource after a storm.


@ Anon5014- There are quite a few options for compact and electric snow throwers. For small pathways and only moderate snow, I would recommend a power shovel. They are about the width of a shovel, and are adequate to handle about 9 inches of snow with only one pass. The Toro brand is very reliable, and you can buy one for less than $200 new. They are also small enough to stow in a broom closet or in a mudroom.

For your driveway clearing needs, the best snowblower would be a 15 amp electric snowblower. Toro and Worx both make nice models that can clear a path about 19 inches wide and plow through snow over a foot deep. You will be able to clear your driveway in about 12-13 passes, and they are small enough to store in a medium to large mudroom. You can find them new for less than $400; probably less if you wait to buy them at the end of the season.


I have a paved double car driveway about 75feet.the road end with the slush will be looked after the city...All I need is clearance for 2 cars.Is there a Snow Blower run or electricity that can do the job,we get 2-4 snow falls over 6 inches a year...Alternatively can you suggest a small Snow blower for us seniors with storage problems?

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