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Pettibone celebrates 75th anniversary of Cary-Lift

Pettibone Traverse/Lift, LLC is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Cary-Lift, which became the world’s first forward-reaching, rough-terrain material handler upon its invention by Phil LaTendresse in 1949. Shortly after its origin, the Cary-Lift product line was acquired by Pettibone, and it remains an industry-leading solution for pipe, pole and log handling to this day.

The inventor’s grandson, also named Phil LaTendresse, is currently Pettibone’s director of engineering and product support. “A local sawmill owner was looking for a better solution for unloading logs, and that’s when my grandfather came up with the concept of being able to reach forward with a forklift, which inspired the first prototype Cary-Lift,” said LaTendresse. “He built about 13 machines before selling the business to Pettibone Mulliken Corporation.”

The Pettibone Cary-Lift provides distinct design advantages over wheel loaders and other tools often used to move pipe, poles or similar materials, making the machine a popular choice for worksites all around the world. The unique Cary-Lift overhead lift arm design gives the operator full front visibility, and its solid steel body frame allows the machine to take full loads into sharp turns without sacrificing stability.

“I see the future of the Cary-Lift as evolving, just like it always has,” said LaTendresse. “The first machines were in forestry. We evolved into pipe and pole handling. And we’re looking ahead toward diesel-electric hybrids and new applications, trying to find that next new niche.”

Pettibone/Traverse Lift, LLC is part of the Industrial Technologies Group, an affiliate of The Heico Companies. Founded in 1881, Pettibone has been recognized as the industry leader in material handling equipment since the company revolutionized the industry with the first forward-reaching, rough-terrain machines in the 1940s. For more information, call 906.379.4529 or visit


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