The History of the Conveyor Belt

The trusted conveyor belt has been around for more than a century and almost everything you buy has been on a long and often bumpy journey to reach your doorstep, which would have included quite a few conveyor systems. To go back to the first basic forms of conveyor belts, we look to the 19th century, when Thomas Robins invented a coal-ore conveyor belt in 1892 and just after that, in 1901, Sandvik created a steel conveyor belt that revolutionised the mining industry. The early units were steam-driven, while horses and people provided the power for some mines and the inner workings such as gearing improved to increase speeds.

Henry Ford

This shrewd entrepreneur immediately saw the benefits of conveyor belt systems and in 1913 he set up the first Ford conveyor systems in the Michigan factory. Ford invested heavily in conveyor design, employing an entire department to focus on ways of improving what they had.

B F Goodrich

This US company patented a conveyor system with a half twist, which made the entire surface in use, thus prolonging the life of the belt. Similar belt systems are used here in the UK, if you need a factory belt in Birmingham, a Google search will put you in touch with a local belt supplier who has all the solutions.


This Louisiana-based company patented the first all-plastic conveyor in modular form, which became the number 1 choice for factories and warehouses, as it was easy to maintain and is inter-changeable.

Automation is taking over, with AI managing the system, each package sent to its correct destination and without the conveyor belt, where would we be today?

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