New Content Updates
Educational Webcast Alerts
Building Products/Technology Notices
Access Exclusive Member Content
Our roots grow deep — we were at the very start of the self—propelled aerial work platform industry.
Back in 1946, Wally Johnson single-handedly created the markets for both scaffold towers and aerial work platforms, in a company that became UpRight. Mr Johnson, an extremely gifted mechanical engineer from Berkeley, California, first turned his hand to access equipment as a solution to painting his house. After a fruitless search for scaffolding that could cope with the uneven terrain surrounding his home, he decided to design his own aluminium scaffold tower with adjustable legs.
Johnson was an astute businessman as well as a great inventor and he immediately recognised the commercial potential for his adjustable towers. By the end of the 1950s, UpRight's "Instant" alloy towers had become the market leader in the USA and the company shipped its first export orders to Europe in 1958.
That same year, Snorkel was founded in St Joseph, Missouri, marketing a revolutionary new elevating boom lift, for fire fighting and rescue work. In less than two decades, the technology had developed into self-propelled boom lifts. Snorkel sold its first self-propelled lift in 1977 and this product line quickly became the company's main business.
Meanwhile, after achieving global domination with his scaffold, Wallace Johnson set out to do it all over again by inventing the world's first self-propelled aerial lift. In 1972, he opened a new factory in Selma to produce the "Flying Carpet" scissor lift. This innovative product soon outstripped scaffolding as the company's main source of revenue.
When Johnson died in 1980, UpRight Inc. was sold but his pioneering, inventive ethos lived on. UpRight launched the world's first micro-scissor in 1994 and pioneered the self-propelled mast lift with the TM12.
In 2007, the owners of UpRight purchased Snorkel, bringing together the two oldest aerial work platform companies in the world. We have a unique heritage and expertise, combining over 110 years of safely lifting millions of people to their place of work.
In 2010, Snorkel became the sole brand for marketing the company's full range of aerial work platforms, worldwide. Snorkel carries forward the great spirit that built these two companies — a spirit of innovation, customer dedication and good old-fashioned hard work. These qualities have made the Snorkel name synonymous with quality and reliability the world over.