Most People Don't Know the Function of This Construction Equipment. Do You?


By: Jody Mabry

7 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Construction sites are playgrounds for big kids. From massive pieces of machinery that seem to do anything in the world, to small handheld tools and gadgets. But, how well do you think you could do trying to identify this equipment? Do you think you could tell the difference between a paver and a backhoe? Would you be able to identify a dump truck as opposed to a bulldozer? What about smaller equipment such as a prybar and a nail pryer?

While this equipment may look fun and exciting, it can also be extremely dangerous. Luckily job sites are loaded with safety equipment from hard hats to toe boards. But, do you think you'd be able to figure out what each one is from an image -- more importantly, would you know what each one does? 

This quiz is loaded with some of the most popular machines, tools and equipment you'd find at a construction site. It's your job to figure out what this equipment does. From something as simple as cutting a wire to massive equipment which can lift tons of materials hundreds of feet this quiz is going to be fun. 

Take this quiz and see how much you really know about construction equipment. 

This equipment can look intimidating, but do you know what it does?

The first bulldozer model was developed in the 1920s, drawing on the tractor for inspiration in creating it. The bulldozer is typically used to move large amounts of material, like dirt or sand.


This equipment looks dangerous, but what in the world does it do?

Rocks that are too big to be broken up by a smaller crusher machine are put through machines known as rock breakers. This piece of construction equipment is most often used by miners.


You might find these in a warehouse or construction site. Do you know its job?

The forklift's roots can be traced to 1917 with the invention of the Tructractor, which was a simple truck used to move materials around. A few years later, the first hydraulic lift was added to select trucks. In 1923, the company, Yale, expanded upon the original designs by adding a fork-shaped lift capable of lifting heavy loads off the ground to above the height of the truck.


Whoa, this machine looks awesome. What does it do though?

The Dumper is distinguishable by where its load skip is - on the front of the vehicle - and the cab (driver's area) is behind it. Whereas a dump truck has its cab up front and the load skip behind.


Possibly the tallest construction equipment built. Do you know how they are used on construction sites?

The Ancient Greeks are credited with inventing the first model of the crane, which was operated by human and animal strength, rather than by engines, motors, or hydraulic systems. The crane differs from a hoist in that it can move heavy materials both vertically and horizontally , whereas the hoist can only lift materials vertically.


This tool may leave you a little shaky, do you know why?

A jackhammer is the mechanized combination of a chisel and a hammer. This heavy (up to 100 pounds) piece of machinery is used to break up hard materials, like rock or concrete. The jackhammer is considered a pneumatic device, which means it operates using pressurized (compressed) air or gas.


Small, but effective, what is the purpose of this tool?

The utility knife is usually a fixed blade, which can be retracted into the handle for safe keeping when not in use. The blades of the modern utility knife are typically replaceable.


Interesting...But do you know what it is for?

Rig mats are most frequently used in oil fields under drilling rigs, other heavy equipment, and for walkways. The lightweight durability of the rig mat allows it to be used on flat, rocky, and unstable ground.


This equipment comes in varying sizes. Do you know what it is for?

The first patent for a motorized cement mixer was granted in 1916. It used wooden paddles to stir the cement mixture, but could only do so when the cart wheels were physically moving, and it was super slow. The modern model of concrete mixers was introduced following WWII, during an industrial boom.


What do you think this construction equipment does?

With roots dating back to the 19th century, excavators can be used for everything from home landscaping to large scale construction. Its main use is to dig or scoop out material. The first hydraulic excavators were used in the 20th century.


This machine looks awesome. Do you know what it is used for?

The grader also goes by the names: road grader and motor grader. It is a vehicle equipped with a large blade, used to cut into the earth to grade or level the ground to a flat surface according to a certain degree.


This is one of the most popular construction tools, but why?

Prior to the invention of the hard hat, tar and leather were used to protect laborers' heads. The "hard-boiled hat" - made of glue, steamed canvas, and black paint - was patented in 1919. Starting in 1931, select projects, like the Hoover Dam, began requiring workers to wear hard hats as a safety precaution.


This equipment saves laborers hours of back breaking work, but how?

The skid-steer loader was invented in 1960 to answer a need for making physical labor both easier on laborers and more efficient. It gets its name from the way its wheels and steering system work. The loader turns by moving either the right side tires or left side tires while the wheels on the opposite side skid.


This futuristic tool has a specific purpose, do you know what that is?

The model most commonly in use today was patented in the late 1990s, with an earlier model being patented in the late 1980s. The idea for a laser level has been around since the early 1970s.


This machine dates back nearly 100 years, do you know what it's used for?

The first official Crawler Loader was invented in the '50s, but earlier, incomplete versions date back to 30 years earlier, in the '20s. The machine reached its peak popularity in the '60s, and has since been replaced by hydraulic excavators in most places.


This equipment is critical to an ending process. Why?

The paver can also be called: paver finisher, asphalt finisher, and paving machine. There is a specific paver for laying concrete, called the slipform paver, which smooths out pre-laid concrete using a screed.


What is the specific purpose of this handheld tool?

The military issues folding trench shovels, called a folding entrenchment tool, which are usually available for civilians to purchase at Army surplus stores and online. Trenching shovels were vital to soldiers' survival in WWI with the introduction of trench warfare, and were often used as weapons for close combat in the trenches, as the other weapons available were too long for the narrow quarters.


Do you know what this equipment is used for?

The power trowel is also commonly referred to as a power float, helicopter, whirlybird, and trowel machine. It's a smaller, lighter piece of construction equipment used to polish concrete with a smooth finish. Power trowels can be ride-on or push-behind.


You've likely seen this while driving at night. Do you know why?

Light towers are used for construction, mining, demolition, emergency services, motion picture production, sporting events, oil refining, and agricultural needs. Some are powered by generators, others by electricity and solar power.


Hobbits are probably fans of this tool. Do you know why?

The modern-day Tunnel Boring Machine can power through pretty much anything, including rock. The first TBM was built in 1845, commissioned to dig the Frejus Rail Tunnel in Europe.


Worth its height in gold, what do you use it for?

The first recorded societal use of ladders is by the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews. Extension ladders are useful for construction purposes, but not so much for use around the average-sized household. When it comes to daily needs, step-ladders are much more popular, since they're self-supporting.


You probably recognize this tool, but why is it important to construction?

Sledgehammers are used to break up hard materials in construction, and they are also a weapon of choice for many thieves looking to break into homes.


How is this equipment used in the construction process?

Daniel Palmer-Jones is considered the "grandfather" of scaffolding, having invented and patented in the early 1900s many of the parts still in use today. However, the history of scaffolding dates back much further than that, with evidence of scaffolding system over 17,000 years old from the Paleolithic era.


Kaboom! Why is this equipment so important?

The wrecking ball was most commonly used in the '50s and '60s, but lost popularity with the rise of machinery like hydraulic excavators. Most recently, the machine made a comeback in Miley Cyrus's 2013 hit, "Wrecking Ball."


Fits in your pocket, but why would a construction worker need one?

The jack knife is also known as a pocket knife, since most are small enough to fit in pants' pockets. The oldest jack knife found is believed to have been made around 600-500 BC.


Simple, effective and important. Do you know why?

A toe board is usually a simple 2x4 nailed down horizontally across a roof so that laborers can use it as a safety precaution for walking across the roof. The plank of wood would stop laborers from falling off the roof if they were to lose their footing. This allows roofers to ditch their safety harnesses, which allows them to remain cool while moving freely.


You'd probably love to have access to one of these. Do you know what it does?

The hydraulic dump truck, the only model in use today, was introduced in the early 1900s by Wood Hoist Co. Small dump truck manufacturing companies grew exponentially during WWI due to increased wartime demand.


Surprisingly, this equipment is smaller than other similar equipment. What does it do?

Backhoe loaders are smaller and more precise than other machinery serving similar purposes, which makes them most suitable for urban areas, where there is limited space available for construction activities. The first backhoe was produced by Wain-Roy Corporation in 1947, and the first hydraulic backhoe was sold in 1948.


This tool requires refined handling. What does it do?

The chisel is most commonly used in working with metal, wood, and stone. There are specific techniques to using the chisel, and it's not an easy craft to master.


This tool would be fun to play with. Do you know what it's for?

The crowbar has quite a few other names, including: Jimmy, Jimmy bar, gooseneck, pry bar, and wrecking bar. A crowbar is usually referred to as a Jimmy when it's being used in a robbery. The tool comes in a variety of shapes, including: cylindrical, hexagonal, oval, and I-beam.


What does this familiar tool do?

The handsaw can be either "push-cut" or "pull-cut," but there's no consensus on which method is more efficient. Handsaws are often used when cutting wood. In some countries, handsawing is an actual sport.


Does this tool look familiar? It's probably not what you think, so what does it do?

The Mattock is similar to the pickax, but differs in the direction in which the ax cuts. Its design makes it most suitable for use in landscaping, where it is used to break up the ground.


What would a construction worker use this tool for?

In addition to their uses in construction, wire brushes are also used to clean the teeth of large animals, like crocodiles. They are usually made of steel wire.


What does this small tool do?

Humans switched from using wood and bone to craft bits to metal in the 13th century. Tools which served similar purposes (extensions/attachments) can be traced back to prehistoric times.


How does a construction worker use this to keep things right?

The first spring-loaded measuring tape was patented in 1868 in the U.S. The first recorded use of a standardized ruler was by the ancient Romans in 29 BC. At the time, it was called a measuring rod.


Interesting tool. What would a construction worker use it for?

Clamps are just as important today as they were in ancient Egypt, where one of their uses was to hold tombs shut while the "glue" was setting. Clamps first appeared in ancient Egyptian illustrations. Today, G or C-clamps are most popular with woodworkers and hobbyists.


More useful than you think. What is this tools task?

When nails used to be handmade (more than 100 years ago), nail pullers were intentionally hand-crafted so that the nail would not be damaged in the process of being pulled. Now, it's all about getting the nail out as fast and efficiently as possible.


You probably have these at home, but at a construction site? What is it used for?

Needle-nose pliers allow users to cut wire, a unique feature of this type of pliers. The origins of the pliers is unknown, as many civilizations throughout human history have used a version of them, but it is known that they are an ancient invention, very ancient.


It may cause a mess, but it's worth it. Do you know why?

Belt sanders can be portable/mobile or stationary. Portable belt sanders are run over the surface or material needing to be sanded, while stationary sanders require users to run the material needing to be sanded over the sanding belt. This sander was not designed for precision, but for use at the beginning of a project when the material is still quite rough. The belt is too fast and aggressive to use for detailed sanding.


Hmm, what is this for?

Today, sawhorses are constructed according to specific measurements, using highly accurate machinery. In the 1800s, this was not the case - halved logs were used as the sawhorse base, usually not exactly level with one another. In addition to their important role in construction, sawhorses are also used by law enforcement as barricades.


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