Who Invented the Dumpster?

The dumpster bin is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, even though it has been underrated and overlooked for far too long. Without George Dempster’s invention, the modern and urban cities of the 21st century would have been littered with heaps of festering garbage which could have triggered many epidemics in the past. 

Of course, cities eventually realized that dumping garbage haphazardly was a pretty bad move for public health. That realization led to the first sanitation departments whose sole mission was to keep the streets clean and clear. But despite this huge advancement in waste management, the actual process of collecting garbage remained labour-intensive, requiring the work of several men and a horse-drawn cart.

historic document - dempster Photos published in “Harper’s Weekly” show the state of NYC streets before and after sanitation workers went to work.

The Dempster Dumpster History

George Roby Dempster, who once served as the mayor of Knoxville, Tennessee, also owned a construction business. This gave him first-hand experience with the challenges of hauling waste. He applied his understanding of machinery to create a more efficient solution for this common problem, which today is known as the dumpster. 

The first dumpster was put into use in 1935 and Mr. Dempster had the intention of using it solely for his construction business, but with the ordering of dumpsters by his competitors, Dempster eventually abandoned his construction business to produce dumpsters in large quantities.

The Dumpster: A Revolutionary Invention

original dumpster One of the first truck designs used in conjunction with the “Dempster Dumpster”. Image: ClassicRefuseTrucks.com

The dumpster is so unique and essential because it reduced the labour required in moving debris by up to 75%. For this reason, you don’t need sanitation workers to haul dirt, garbage and other forms of debris into a flatbed. With the invention of the Dempster dumpster, you need just a single person to pick the dumpster up and haul the content away.

Companies from around the world wanted a dumpster for their operation. As demand increased, Dempster’s company invested all of its resources into production. They later expanded their offerings to include the Dempster-Balester which could crush automobiles. The first front-loading garbage truck was added to the company’s product line by the 1950s.

Today, we all benefit from the innovation of Dempster and his company. Find out more about National Bins dumpster rentals and waste and recycling management systems by contacting us or visiting our website!