Our History

Snorkel was founded in 1959 in the United States of America by Art Moore, as a fire fighting equipment company that developed an aerial work platform specifically designed for aerial firefighting and rescue work.

These products set the standard for aerial firefighting equipment, which were proven for reliability and versatility, and created the foundations for the Snorkel product line as we know it today. Snorkel was one of the founding members of the global aerial work platform industry, and the focus on innovation remains at the heart of the company.

Learn more about Snorkel’s late founder Art Moore, and the history of the company in his published autobiography, ‘My Story‘. Available to purchase from artmoorememoirs.com.



Snorkel founded by Art Moore in the USA

Snorkel founded by Art Moore in the USA

Snorkel was founded by Art Moore in the USA, and remained a privately-owned business until 1971.


Snorkel sold to ATO Inc.

Snorkel was sold to ATO Inc., which later became Figgie International which was a Fortune 500 Company.


Snorkel enters the construction / industrial market

Snorkel enters the construction / industrial market

Snorkel entered the construction and industrial market with their first telescopic boom lifts in 1977.  The Snorkel TB-42 and TB-42P featured aluminum upper booms and platforms – a first in the industry.  These booms utilized technology from the firefighting product line, including state of the art hydraulic and electrical systems, and helped to position Snorkel as a market leader for boom lifts.


Snorkel introduces the UNO articulated boom lift

Snorkel introduces the UNO articulated boom lift

Prior to founding Snorkel, Art had an idea for a plant maintenance machine.  He made this a reality at Snorkel, launching the UNO articulated boom lift in 1986.  This became one of Snorkel’s most popular models.


Acquisition of Economy Engineering

Acquisition of Economy Engineering

The company capitalized on an opportunity to complement its already successful boom range with the acquisition of Economy Engineering – a leading manufacturer of self-propelled scissor lifts and ground entry vertical lift work platforms.

Snorkel launches the ATB-60 boom lift

Snorkel launches the ATB-60 boom lift

In 1988, Snorkel introduced the ATB-60, a 60-ft. articulated boom that could be stowed to allow two booms to be loaded to a single truck.  This was a first for Snorkel and helped to reduce transport costs for customers and dealers. The ATB-60 became immensely popular within the industry and Art considered it one of his all-time favourite lifts.


Expanding to New Zealand and Australia

The company then expanded Snorkel to include manufacturing facilities in Levin, New Zealand and sales and service offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The company was beginning to develop a more “global” manufacturing footprint. The acquisition provided a broader range including the trailer mounted machines and offered a quality distribution of the complete product line in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.


Art Moore retires

Art Moore retires

Art retired from Snorkel in 1991. He sat on the Snorkel board of directors until his passing in 2019.


Snorkel becomes part of OmniQuip International Inc.

Snorkel became part of OmniQuip International Inc. who decided to sell the fire and rescue apparatus product lines, and focus on the EWP division. The fire and rescue product line was sold in 1998 to American LaFrance, a subsidiary of Freightliner.

OmniQuip group, including Snorkel sold to Textron Inc.

OmniQuip and the rest of its attached companies, including Snorkel, are sold to the conglomerate Textron Inc.


Snorkel Purchased from OmniQuip International Inc.

Snorkel was purchased from OmniQuip by a group of investors known as the Elwood Holdings LLC headed by Al Havlin. They re-opened their plant in Elwood, Kansas after it had been shut down previously that year.


Snorkel purchased from Elwood Holdings LLC

UK-based The Tanfield Group Plc purchased Snorkel in 2007 from Elwood Holdings LLC, and created a global distribution network for the AWPs.


New branding for snorkel


The Tanfield Group introduces new branding for Snorkel, creating a consistent global brand and product line.


Xtreme Manufacturing acquires majority stake in Snorkel

Xtreme Manufacturing acquires majority stake in Snorkel

US-based Xtreme Manufacturing LLC, which is owned by Don Ahern, acquired the Snorkel business in 2013, purchasing 51% of the company from The Tanfield Group Plc.