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Get the scoop

03/04/2013 @ 2:57pm

Early one winter morning, Tom Miller was heading out to clear snow. Suddenly, he was faced with a dangerous situation.

“I had a 12-foot bucket on the front of a backhoe,” Miller recalls. “Coming toward me was a payloader with a 16-foot plow on the front of it. It was not a very good scene.”

Even though the two machines didn't collide, the road could not accommodate the combined width of the two pieces of equipment, and Miller ended up stuck in a ditch.

“That's when I started to brainstorm about a snow box that could telescope in and out,” he says.

After a couple of prototypes, months of fabrication, and a considerable amount of testing, what evolved was Telescoop.

“The first box was made for my personal use,” says the Waterloo, Indiana, farmer. “But when others saw it and gave me positive feedback, I realized there was a high demand for a box that could safely and legally travel down the road.”

Telescoop uses hydraulic cylinders that are powered by either the machine it's attached to or a self-contained power unit. With the push of a button, the controller in the cab allows you to telescope the 2-foot-wide wings in and out together or independently.

The bottom skid plates are constructed of AR500 steel for high wear, and the rest of the body is made of ⅜-inch heavy-gauge steel. Rolled edges are made from ¼-inch-thick steel, and seams are hand-welded. To help the bucket move smoothly along the ground, metal skids have been placed at the end of the bucket.

What's available

You can choose from five sizes to fit your operation's needs.

“The 3-to-5-foot model will go on lawn mowers and self-contained power units like the small walk-behind Bobcats,” says Miller. “The 4-to-7-foot model is geared for utility vehicles such as John Deere Gators or Polaris Rangers, large garden tractors, and walk-behind units.”

The third model, a 7-to-10-foot unit, is used with midsize tractors from 30 hp. up to 50 hp.

“Beyond 50 hp., I recommend increasing to the 8-to-12-foot model,” Miller says. “There is not a large price difference between the 7-to-10-foot model and the 8-to-12-foot version, but the capacity you get with the bigger model is a lot more.”

The 8-to-12-foot model is mainly used on skid steer loaders that are at least 50 hp. and on tractors up to 150 hp.

The largest size, which is a 10-to-16-foot model, is a commercial-grade attachment that works best on larger payloaders and tractors. Custom sizes are available.

Multiple uses

While the original motivation for this invention was safety, Telescoop offers more.

“Having the ability to automatically expand the bucket's width offers many advantages,” says Miller. “From snow removal to barn cleaning, the Telescoop can fit through narrow doors and gates, and then it can widen again to get more work done.”

It's also built to withstand a great deal of use, and it needs minimal repairs. A farmer himself, Miller says that's an important factor in his equipment purchases.

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