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Snow blower facts for kids

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Honda hs1136 snowblower
A heavy-duty walk-behind two-stage snow blower.
Schneefräse 0126
A snow blower at work in Upper Bavaria, Germany, 2005
SBB Xrotm Schneeschleuder
A Swiss railway snow thrower at Erstfeld railway station, 2016
Schneefräse auf dem Simplon Pass
Snow thrower on Simplon Pass

A snow blower or snow thrower is a machine for removing snow from an area where it is not wanted, such as a driveway, sidewalk, roadway, railroad track, ice rink, or runway.

The commonly used term "snow blower" is really the wrong name, as the snow is moved using an auger or impeller instead of being blown (by air).

It can use either electric power (line power or battery), or a gasoline or diesel engine to throw snow to another location or into a truck to be hauled away. This is in contrast with the action of snow plows, which push snow to the front or side. Typically, the snow is discharged to one side.

Snow blowers range from the very small, capable of removing only a few inches (a few more cm) of light snow in an 18 to 20 in (457 to 508 mm) path, to the very large, mounted onto heavy-duty winter service vehicles and capable of moving 20-foot (6.10 m) wide, or wider, swaths of heavy snow up to 6 feet (1.83 m) deep.

Snow blowers can generally be divided into two classes: single-stage and two-stage. On a single-stage snow blower, the auger (the paddle mechanism visible from the front) pulls snow into the machine and directs it out of a discharge chute. The auger contacts the ground, making single-stage snow blowers unsuitable for use on unpaved surfaces. On a two-stage snow blower, the auger pulls snow into the machine and feeds it into a high-speed impeller, which in turn directs it out of a discharge chute. Two-stage snow blowers can generally handle deeper snow depths than single-stage ones, and because their augers don't touch the ground, they can be used on unpaved surfaces.

Depending on the design, snowblowers can be pressed into service blowing other things, such as water.


Snow blower 1933
Snow blower in Rocky Mountain National Park, 1933

Robert Carr Harris of Maple Green, New Brunswick patented a "Railway Screw Snow Excavator" in 1870. In 1923, Robert E. Cole patented a snowplow that operated by using cutters and a fan to blow snow from a surface. Various other innovations also occurred. However, it is Arthur Sicard (1876–1946) who is generally credited as the inventor of the first practical snow blower. In 1925 Sicard completed his first prototype, based on a concept he described in 1894. He founded Sicard Industries in Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec and by 1927 his vehicles were in use removing snow from the roadways of the town of Outremont, now a borough of Montreal. His company is now a division of SMI-Snowblast, Inc. of Watertown, New York.

Jet-engine snow blowers

MTA New York City Transit - After the Snow (12091335743)
A jet-engine snow blower clearing a railway track at Coney Island Yard, New York, 2014

Jet engines and other gas turbines are used for large scale propelling and melting of snow over rails and roads. These blowers first were used in Russia and Canada in the 1960s, and were later introduced into the U.S. by the Boston Transportation Authority.

The jet engine both melts and blows the snow, clearing the tracks faster than other methods. While offering considerably greater power in a relatively lightweight machine, this method is much more expensive than traditional snow removing methods. In Russia, the high cost is partially negated by utilizing retired military jet engines, such as the Klimov VK-1.

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